19 February 2014

Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy

Well hot dang, John Green sure does know how to write a book to bum you out.  My first introduction to him was via The Fault in Our Stars (about a young terminal girl), and I thought that one was hard to swallow.  This story, however, passes down almost as rough.  Looking For Alaska, however, is such a beautifully written novel that isn't hard not to like even with its faults.

Enter Pudge, a somewhat awkward, gawky high schooler who decides to ship himself off to boarding school in search of the Great Perhaps.  After spending most of his time by himself without many friends, Pudge decides maybe it's time to shake things up a bit and see what else there is out there for life to offer him.

I dare say he certainly got his money's worth.  Pudge ends up rooming with the Colonel (who I absolutely love) and becomes friends with the seemingly moody/bipolar Alaska.  The two of them, along with Takumi and Lara, definitely pull him out of his shell.

It's hard to review this book without giving too much away, and I definitely don't want to spoil any part of this novel.  The novel carries a countdown in days throughout the novel, and I spent the first novel of the novel plunging through it just trying to figure out what the countdown was all about.  I wish I had taken the time to read through the beginning a little more carefully, as the elements presented through the introduction to the characters (such as Alaska's love of reading, the Colonel's obsession with memorizing facts and numbers, and Pudge's desire to learn the last words of people) are woven so beautifully into the novel that it is almost staggering.  I almost wanted to read it again as soon as I finished just to find the symmetry in the novel and how well these character traits fit into the plot.

Again, I don't want to say much more, because to do so would have to dive deeper into the plot, and the plot is something you really ought to go into this novel completely blind about to enjoy it to its full potential.  While there were a few things about this novel I didn't enjoy completely, overall it was a fantastic read.

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