Review: Looking for Alaska by John Green

Green, J. (2005). Looking for Alaska. New York, NY: HarperCollins Children’s Books. [Realism]


Miles Halter has decided to move schools.  He’s heading to Culver Creek, a co-educational boarding school in another state, in search of the Great Perhaps.  Miles seeks a world where things are possible and finds this world opened up to him when he meets his roommate the Colonel.  Along with the Colonel and his friends, Alaska, Takumi and Lara, Miles becomes involved in illicit smoking and drinking, acts of revenge against other students and the greatest prank that Culver Creek has ever seen.

And then it happens.  One of the friends dies.  This causes Miles to ask big questions about love, life and suffering.  He obsesses over how this death happened and the part he played in the tragedy.  Miles questions his friendships and what happens once you’ve gone.  He questions his interest in collecting people’s last words and what the point of the Great Perhaps is.

This book doesn’t shy away from the tough things in life.  It explores friendship, love, grief, redemption and hope without flinching, but it does it with humour and without patronising or belittling young people.  There is some coarse language and sexual content in this book.  It is not gratuitous or explicit in nature, however, it may shock more sensitive readers.  Recommended for ages 15 and up.

I got my copy of Looking for Alaska from Napier Boys’ High School Memorial Library.

If you’re not allowed to borrow books from them you could try Napier Libraries.


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