Looking for Alaska by John Green is an emotional coming-of-age tale that centers around a smart but awkward teenager named Miles (“Pudge”), whose claim to fame is in memorizing and spouting off the last words of notable people in history.
When the story begins, we learn that Miles has applied to a prep school in Alabama to finish his schooling. Miles is a smart kid, who doesn’t quite fit in at the public school he attends and what’s more, doesn’t feel the need to fit in. He’s an old soul who knows the world is bigger than the small town he lives in. His parents dote on him as he is the only child.
At prep school, he meets a few kids and they become friends. Most notable is his roommate nicknamed “The Colonel”, who like Miles, is also an old soul. I got the feeling early on, that The Colonel had seen things in his childhood that aged him. Often, he comes across as a cantankerous old man.
Looking for Alaska…
Then, there is Alaska, another notable character and friend to Miles and The Colonel. Alaska is an exhilarating whirlwind of smarts, impulsive, beauty, and energy, with hints of profound sadness sprinkled in. She’s a mystery to everyone she meets.
As expected in a young adult novel, the gang has moments of hilarious shenanigans as well as quietly solemn depth.
Each of the prominent characters in this book are searching for something. During their adventures together, they find truth, happiness, peace, and devastation.
This book reminds me a bit of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road as it is very much a coming-of-age tale. The characters are so well fleshed out and perfectly imperfect. These characters are odd but fascinating. Their experiences, good or bad have shaped their personalities and views of the world.
I highly recommend this one and enthusiastically give it 5 stars!
My Rating on Looking for Alaska by John Green: