By Zachary Rhine
This past summer, social media was set ablaze by young readers buzzing about the book the “Fault In Our Stars” by John Green. “TFIOS”, the abbreviation given to the “Fault In Our Stars”, was far from Green’s first novel, however.
In fact his first novel in 2005, “Looking For Alaska”, can hold its own in competition with TFIOS.
“Looking For Alaska” has been nominated for and won numerous awards such as the Michael L. Printz Award in 2005. It is taught in a number of schools across America.
Looking For Alaska’s protagonist Miles “Pudge” Halter is a unique individual, just as every one of John Green’s characters are. Miles starts out the story as an introvert, and a very intuitive one at that. He begins the novel revealing that he is transferring from his public school in Florida to Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama.
Miles is a very passive character throughout most of the novel. He is obsessed, strangely, with famous last quotes and a phrase known as the “Great Perhaps.” Things take a turn for the worst when his new school proves to be no better than the previous; he is hazed in his first week and his classes don’t start off on the right foot.
Miles’ life only starts looking up when a girl at the school catches his eye.
Green’s characters are often criticized for being narcissistic and using words that nobody would use in everyday life.
While I will say that I don’t disagree with those claims completely, almost all of Green’s characters are dynamic characters, growing and changing throughout the novel.
Miles makes friends to guide, and occasionally cause him to stumble, along the way, such as Chip “the Colonel” Martin and Alaska Young.
Alaska Young is a beautifully reckless girl who Miles fonds over throughout the entire story, and as you probably can guess is who the title of the novel is referring to.
Being the title character, you know off the bat that Alaska will be essential to the story. So important in fact, that the entire climax of the story wouldn’t be possible without her.
John Green’s first book is an acclaimed work of fiction that is taught in a number of schools across the nation. While I would agree that the book may have a few faults (wink wink), it was overall a very enjoyable read for me.
The characters are endearing, the story hits on real subjects that affect young teens and young adults, and the-somewhat predictable-climax of the story sends shockwaves through your emotions.
“Looking For Alaska” is an enjoyable read that I would recommend to any student in high school whether they are struggling or simply looking for something enjoyable to read.
The idea of a movie adaptation for the book has been tossed around many times and the rights currently reside with Paramount pictures, but it is still not known if a “Looking For Alaska” movie will ever see the light of day.
We can only hope if it ever does, that they do this fabulous book justice.
As the back cover of the book proclaims, after you’ve read this book nothing will ever be the same.
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