27 January 2014

{Book Review} Looking for Alaska

By: Me My Shelf And I | 27 January 2014 at 12:52 AM | | | | | | |


Looking For Alaska
Author: John Green
Release Date: December 28th, 2006
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 221
Rating: 1 Bird

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, 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, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.

After turning the last page of Looking For Alaska, I found my self looking for the point.

Welp, I don’t know what to tell you all but try as I might, I just couldn't get into this book. It’s 221 pages long and it took me 2 weeks to read it. Seriously you guys, I can normally read 221 pages faster than Justin Bieber can blame a buddy for drug possession.

The BEFORE section of this book, which takes up roughly 3/4 of it ,has little to no forward movement, I literally had to force myself to the next page for the majority of it. Get up, go to class, talk about this thing or quote that dead guy, go to smoking hole, plot less than amazing prank, have a minor amount of drama, drink, talk about sex. Repeat.

All these things could have been fantastic. They could have been mind-blowing and maybe back in 2006 when this book was published, it was. There’s the distinct possibility that I didn’t like this book because I read it too late, I’m willing to accept that. 

But the fact remains, by my standards, nothing interesting happens and the characters don’t help out at all. I feel like I was supposed to find Alaska extraordinary but it was just the opposite. The rest of the cast of characters were either flat, or familiar. Or Both. Mostly both.

In all honestly, I don’t even remember the last time I rated a book so low. Normally, even if I don’t mesh well with a book there is always some kind of a redeeming factor in it that leaves me saying “But, at least there was this….”. You know, something that made it understandable as to why it was enjoyed and loved by so many others. When I turned the last page I was utterly baffled as to what I just read.

Even those “controversial” scenes that everyone had a massive issue with are short, and far less descriptive than people let on.  Though I can see why maybe some schools would ban it, not saying I agree – I’m just saying I see how it could happen.

The AFTER section is all about finding answers. Answers that never come. And like some generic fortune cookie you’re delivered this kind of “Not knowing is sometimes better” line, which just leaves you feeling ripped off.

If you’ve read LFA, what was your final thoughts on it?




  1. Yay finally someone who didn't like the book either! I hated this book so much I just couldn't understand what people saw in it. I'm sick of reading about guys with the nice guy syndrome and manic pixie dream girls. And I just couldn't seem to get the point of the story. Big fan of John Green, just not this one.

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas

    1. HOnestly I think the majority of the reason I disliked this book, and this might sound odd - is because I just don't understand why THIS won an award as big as it did. It read like a watered down Dawsons Creek script. (And I love DC! LOL)

  2. What answers were you looking for?

    1. How it happened. They make such a fuss over did she do it on purpose or was it an accident and then you never actually find out...you can't play at suicide and then leave the answers about it hanging.

      Also, what I think the another big issue was - how blatantly obvious, not mysterious, as clear as the nose on my face the answer to where she was going was. And Pudge + company were so "Hmm, this is the most difficult thing to figure out, what could it be??"

      Had Alaska actually been a complex, deep character the necessity to ponder over all the options of why she left when she did and where she was going would have made sense. But she was exactly 2 layers deep, and those layers were both pretty shallow. I feel like it talked down to the reader and treated us like we must be stupid to not figure out something so very simple...especially since the BIG REVEAL of this info takes up chapters. It just leans even more toward this book really had no point, or forward moving plot that the most obvious of "twists" had to be drug out so far to fill pages. It made me angry because honestly my 9 year old could have sorted this out if she was allowed to read the book.

  3. I adored John Green when I first read him, but after reading all his books, it seems they're all exactly the same. Dorky guy with a nerdy sidekick and dorky guy longs for the unattainable girl, who he gets in the end, and none of them talk like typical teenagers.

  4. I actually loved this book and to this day it is still my favorite John Green book. I could relate to belong to the eccentric/strange group when I was that age and having a tumultuous home life so I really saw parts of myself reflected in the story.
    I felt that the answers in the After section where left up to the reader as a type of final lesson from the religion teacher about how one chooses to see the world.
    Also, your Justin Beiber jab nearly made me spit water all over my keyboard. :)

    1. I didn't even think about the ending being a final lesson from the religion teacher. That's a great point! I'm going to have to think on that a little. It might very well change how I feel about the ending, though sadly I still feel it was super slow for me.

      Glad the Biebs joke made you laugh and that it didn't wreck your computer!!!!!

  5. "Gist" is actually the correct spelling, not "jist".

  6. And extremely clever blog name - I love it!

  7. Thanks for this review! I always feel relieved when I find someone else who didn't enjoy a popular book. I thought it was just "okay." It had some good moments -- like Jenn, I thought the ending was supposed to connect to the religion teacher's message, and I loved that. Overall, however, just not as great as I thought it was going to be, considering the hype and awards. I couldn't relate to the characters at all.

  8. First of all, I'd like to say I LOVE your blog name, how creative and cute!

    I personally really enjoyed LFA and and gave it a 5/5 star rating, however I completely see your point about being left waiting for answers that never came in the "after" section of the book.

    Thanks for posting a review, I love to hear the opinions of others on books I've read :)



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