Looking For Alaska by John Green combines some of teens’ favorite topics in realistic fiction: friendship, love, and death. Most people who know about this book have either heard about it because of the awards it won, or because it was recommended as being an excellent novel on the subject of death. But I’d also like to point out how well and how realistically Green writes about friendship, especially about the platonic idea of friendship between a boy and a girl and how that idea shifts when the girl wants to be friends but the boy is secretly falling in love with her. If you enjoy that aspect of this book, then I’ll also recommend that you check out more of Green’s novels. Paper Towns especially recaptures some of that same kind of “I’ll be your friend but I wish I was more” kind of tension. Most of the time when we think about books about love for teen readers, we think about female protagonists who either wear their hearts on their sleeves or suppress their true feelings until they come rushing out all at once. John Green’s books, while not exactly romances, tell the stories of boys who experience longing in a way that many female readers might not have expected. There is no way to read this book without being touched by this story.
Note: This book was issued with several different covers, but the cover pictured above is my personal favorite because I think it has the most widespread appeal. So if you’re ordering copies of this book, just be aware that you might have a choice of covers.
Also Note: I’ve just added a “Death and Grief” category. I’m calling it that because I wanted to differentiate between death [zombies/vampires/etc.] and death [realistic fiction/dealing with grief].
Miles Halter is quiet and shy, and there’s nothing about him that would make him stand out in a crowd … EXCEPT for his fascination with famous last words. Miles has many favorites, including a poet whose last words were, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Miles likes the idea of a Great Perhaps, and he thinks that he might find it if he starts over in a new place. At his new boarding school, Miles makes several friends, but none of them change his life as much as Alaska Young. Alaska is beautiful, sexy, crazy, and totally unpredictable. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she pulls off some of the best pranks that anyone’s ever seen. Alaska Young is filled with a powerful and unique energy that draws people to her like a magnet. So much so that when Alaska is killed in a car crash, many people are affected, with her closest friends hurt the most. Alaska’s death is such a devastating shock that it seems to divide the world into two parts: what the world was like before her death, and what the world was like after it. This book tells both of those stories.