Review Number 1: Looking for Alaska - John Green
'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'
I first picked this book up when I was 14 years old and I liked it a whole lot - but when I revisited it in Febuary, it blew my mind. It's subtle in the use of countdown of the days, the chapters are short (which suits a lot of young adult reader's taste - including mine) and the little anecdotes are hilarious and the steady stream of insight that resonated with me and a lot of the people I know that have read it.
'That's why I'm going. So I dont have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps'
'I hated being careful - or wanted to, at least'
'Damn it, how will I ever get out of this labyrinth?'
Miles 'Pudge' Halter is the narrator, and he goes through the most significant change in the book (which, I guess is quite obvious). It's quite remarkable, actually, because we see (read?) him fall in love, be a little bit rebellious and then we see his innocence stripped and we seem him lose his 'Great Perhaps'; but then by the end, it feels like he's punching grief in the face - which is really refreshing.
Chip 'The Colonel' Martin is the 'military-style planner' of the pranks which we read about or the ones that are hinted at in the book. I love Chip, he's one of my favourite characters in the whole book, mainly because he is simple. He points out sometime during 'After' that he always has a reason to feel the way he does, like, 'I got caught smoking, so I'm pissed off. My head hurts, so I'm cranky'. Also he and Takumi (the sickest emcee in Alabama and the fox) are hilarious.
Alaska Young is the focus of the book. She's all over the place, to put it midly. When I first read the book, I wasn't sure how to take her. However, when I read it again, I completely fell in love with her. Maybe it's because of the way we see her through Pudge's eyes, or maybe it's her personality but whichever - I love her. It breaks my heart when I read The Last Day and when we slowly discover more and more about her, it just deepens the grief.
I can't fault it, really. My favourite part in the whole book is undoubtedly Barn Night. Not only are we introduced to THE FOX HAT, but we also get a glimpse of the characters' vulnerability and the Best day/Worst day section reallly fleshes the characters out as real people in your mind.
That's all I'll say about this book, because I don't want to labour my point or write a full length essay about it; but I will say this: It is my favourite book - I cannot reccomend it enough.