Looking for Alaska is about a teenage boy named Miles who decides to go to Boarding School in order to escape his dull and friendless existence at home. His world is turned upside down when he meets a beautiful, smart and self-destructive girl named Alaska Young.
Miles falls hard for Alaska in that first-love type of way. The problem is that Alaska is very unstable, and she plays around with boy’s feelings just because she can. Deep down, Alaska is a tortured soul… And Miles is all the more drawn to her for this. He gets pulled into her world, like all her friends do, and he can’t even help it.
Boarding School turns out to be a change of pace for Miles. He makes friends–and enemies–, gets into his fair share of trouble with the school’s principal, starts smoking and drinking, and also studies religion, his favorite subject. But the more he gets to know Alaska, the more he realizes that she is plagued with personal tragedy. Something happened in her past that she can’t let go of, something that taints her present and blurs her future. This adds a new, vulnerable side to her that endears her to Miles, even if he sometimes gets annoyed and even angry at her because of her wavering personality.
Throughout the book, Alaska talks a-lot about the labyrinth of suffering, it being a symbol for life. In reality, this is how she views life, like something confusing and jumbled and filled with pain that she can’t let go. In the end, this perspective of life was what determined her fate.
I have only read two of John Green’s books, Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. It seems that tragedy is a recurring theme in his novels, specifically the goodness and strength in people that can come out in times tragedy. It can sometimes be too much, but nevertheless, this is one of those books that stays with you, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower does.
This story is a tear-jerker for sure. The characters are alive, and the pain feels real. It moves you, but it doesn’t totally inspire because, well… it’s a downer. It’s worth it, though. If you want to experience something like that, this book is for you.
Rating: 3/5 stars