One of my blogging goals for the year is to make sure I write posts on all the books I read, even if I dislike them. I know a fellow blogger on here too from Liam’s Library, set it as a goal as well. I want to start writing reviews even if I didn’t love the book. I feel like if I keep doing what I’m doing now and only reviewing books I really loved, it will seem that I just love everything I read which unfortunately isn’t entirely true. Right now I am clearing out some drafts by editing them and posting them. A combination of these drafts plus my old posts I transferred to here is causing it to look like I wrote over 20 posts in two days which unfortunately isn’t true. (Don’t get used to it :)) Anyway, I realized that a review I wrote earlier never got posted even though I finished it about a week ago. That book would be Looking For Alaska, by John Green.
The story follows Miles Halter, a boy with no friends, and no life. Yes, he has a wonderful family and a nice place to live, but he needs a change of scenery where he can start fresh. When he asks his parents to attend a boarding school for his junior year of high school, they were more than pleased about his decision, though they couldn’t quite comprehend what the meaning was behind it. Miles told them he was going to find a “great perhaps”, or a reason to live/something that makes him feel alive. Turns out it was not a something but a someone. From first sight, Miles sets his eyes on Alaska. A wild girl with a knack for all things interesting, and unfortunately, a boyfriend. As Miles makes new friends with his roommate, Alaska, and more, he discovers what it means to be happy and realizes what he has been missing this whole time. Except when tragedy strikes their small friend group, Miles is forced to discover what it feels like to see that great perhaps slip away from him, and how he can rebound from it. Told in two parts, a before and after of the event, we see character development not only of Miles, but of Alaska as well, as their friends try to uncover the truth about what really happened that night.
Overall, I think I would give this book about 3 and a half out of 5 stars, not because I didn’t like it, (I read it in two days!) but because it was easy and it was normal. John Green, in my opinion, is an amazing author, he can make even books you never thought you would like grasp you and pull you into their pages. The only problem is that while they are gripping, they are also easy. You never question anything, never have any reason to believe it all isn’t straightforward. While it is filled with interesting quotes, they seem empty, as if they are there just to be quoted and not to be mean something to the story. While I still enjoy reading YA fiction, I also read adult novels fiction and nonfiction, which means I find lower level YA books to be a bit easy. Unfortunately, this seemed to be one of those scenarios. The description and the vocabulary used wasn’t sophisticated, it didn’t feel mature even if the plotline was supposed to. This is most likely what led into me then thinking the novel was too normal.
Looking For Alaska has a great premise and wonderfully crafted characters, but what links it all together seemed to be only a fraction of what it could have been. So much emotion and thought provoking could have been done between the quotes and the characters and the plot elements, yet it was kept very simple. Not in a simple way that makes the story more appealing and mysterious, but in a way that it was meant for younger readers that didn’t have as high of a comprehension level that years of reading gives you.
I’m happy to finally have read such a critically acclaimed book that has been burning a hole in my to be read pile since summer when I received it! Even if it wasn’t my absolute favorite, I think it certainly had great aspects to it. What did you guys think about Looking For Alaska?