Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reading: Looking For Alaska by John Green

This book is one I have been almost programmed to want to read since I first saw the famous sentence from the book about rain and drizzle.  If you've seen the quote or read this book then you know what I mean.  The quote is indeed very charming and poetic.  I can see why people like it so much.  “If people were rain, I was drizzle, and she was a hurricane.” See, I told ya it was great!  Another reason why I was looking forward to reading this book was because I didn't want to not like John Green as an author.  If you've been with me since day one, you will remember that I did not like Green's latest book titled The Fault in our Stars.  I still can't comprehend why people and critics like it so much.  And people love John Green!  He has a freaking cult of fans behind him and I guess for good reason.  I mean, he does seem to be a pretty awesome guy in terms of creativity and proving you never have to truly grow up.  For example, I love Green's Crash Course show on YouTube that he hosts with his brother Hank.  But after reading The Fault in our Stars, I thought he was way overrated.  I can conclude after reading Looking for Alaska that it is true.  John Green may be awesome but he is in fact extremely overrated.  That being said, I can't deny that I genuinely liked this book.  Truly.  It was 1000% times better than The Fault in our Stars.
Right away I must state, I have a sort of love for boarding school stories.  I can't really explain why.  Maybe it is because I always dreamed of going to one myself or that the most fun I had as a teenager was going away to camp for a week which is sort of like boarding school since you are away from home and with your friends.  I also find that boarding schools offer a side of learning that isn't the same as public school.  It is more exciting and fun.  The main character of this book, Miles a.k.a Pudge, seems to understand this mentality.  He decides to go to the boarding school his father went to as a teenager because he is seeking out the "Great Perhaps".  Pudge is obsessed with famous last words...or just last words in general.  You name a dead president and Pudge will know his last words.  I think Pudge is one reason that this book is great.  His character is seeking out an adventure and you too feel as if you want an adventure with him.  You want to go along and seek out the "Great Perhaps" not only in this book but in your own life as well.  Pudge goes off to boarding school and meets his new roommate who they call "the Colonel" and his friend Alaska, a girl of drama and mystery that Pudge is automatically drawn to. 
As I read this book, I couldn't help but hope that when it gets adapted (because it surely will), I hope it gets adapted as a mini-series on HBO or Showtime because it reminded me so much of one of my favorite shows called Shameless.  The book carries a very raw feel to it and that would adapt very well to one of the premium channels.  Fingers crossed!
The book itself was very engaging.  I read the last 3/4 of it in one night.   Pudge's experiences were very realistic and interesting.  Each character was going through their own battles.  This is a pretty obvious thing to say but John Green has a tight hold on what it is like to be a teenager.  From their language to the things they want and desire, Green has written everything spot on.  He enters Pudge's world and shows the fears and misunderstandings all teens seem to have and this shines through each one of his characters.  I think that is why Green has a cult following.  Green's writing is also very nice in this book.  The plot was well done.  Nothing seemed forced.  The book pretty much soared over The Fault in our Stars in my opinion. 
I can't call this book a favorite because while I thought it was good, Green still used plenty of cheese coating in the novel.  But I generally liked the plot, the characters, and the ending.  I will give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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