Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.
–back cover of Looking for Alaska by John Green
I loved the first half of the book. The first half was light and fun. I think part of what initially drew me in was the setting. Ever since I was young I enjoyed reading about boarding schools and summer camp, so to me, what is more perfect than a boarding school that reminds me of a summer camp? Even though it seemed like it would be an uncomfortable place to live in–small spaces and the heat was horrible–it seems like it was a fun place to live in, and I loved reading the first half because of this. I loved reading about the pranks and every day craziness.
For as fun as the first half of the book was the second half was… not fun. It was so intense that it was hard to read. The second half was very emotional.
The before and the after were both great in their own way.
I’ve always liked Green’s writing, and I think that most lovers of YA fiction would at least agree that he is a good writer. He’s humorous, and he keeps the pace going well. His words flow and draw one into the story. Whether or not I enjoy the plots of all of his books, I think he is a great writer.
As for the characters, I didn’t feel like they were quite as well fleshed out as characters from other books by him. They were okay but only okay, nothing more. I don’t feel like any of them were all that unique and memorable. Still though, they were enjoyable, and I cared about the characters enough that it made my heart hurt.
The plot was compelling and made the book very hard to put down. My only real critique was that I kind of feel like this book was just sad for the sake of being sad. I didn’t feel like it had some great inspiring lesson like a lot of other heart-wrenching YA books have. It just seemed like the author wanted us to cry.
Even though this book was not one of my favorites it was a very well written book. I think that if you liked The Fault in Our Stars that you will like this book too.
I would suggest waiting for this read if you are under 16 though. Sexual content is a bit high in some places in this book, and I think that it is not suitable for most younger readers.
I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.