Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Gossip Time...Looking for Alaska

After enjoying WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS I simply had to find more books written by John Green. So I decided to start with his debut, LOOKING FOR ALASKA, which won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award.

Synopsis (from John Green's website):

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

First Sentence:
"The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party." This sentence says so much about Miles Halter and how his life is irrevocably changing. Miles goes to seek the Great Perhaps at Culver Creek Preparatory School. And the fact that a teenager would uproot his life to search for something like this immediately hooked me. Miles is cerebral, but at the same time just a teen navigating his way through life.

Things I Loved:

Culver Creek Preparatory school is literally down the street from where I live and the civic complex where I ice skate. John Green describes the area in a way that only Alabamians would know. He understands the stifling summer humidity, and the Southerners affliction with all things fried. Even though there isn't a Culver Creek Preparatory that I know of (I've been trying to research this on the internet...there is an Indian Springs School close to where Green places Culver Creek), his fictitious school is placed realistically along Highway 119, not to far from I-65. The author understands the differences between kids that grew up in Mountain Brook versus Vine Station.

There is a countdown. After Mile's going-away party there is a periodic countdown in the book. It starts with one hundred and twenty eight days before. The whole time I'm reading, I'm like before what?!? And as the days randomly decrease and Miles, soon to be known as Pudge (because he is the absolute opposite of fat), grows closer to THE DAY, I found myself on the edge of my seat like I was watching an action/adventure movie and not reading young adult contemporary fiction.

Things to Consider When Deciding to Read:
John Green's fiction is realistic. What comes with that realistic teenage territory is language and sex. It is not gratuitous but just part of Miles's journey as he seeks The Great Perhaps. If you have apprehensions or a teenager that you do not want to expose to these themes, then perhaps LOOKING FOR ALASKA isn't the book for you.