People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
I had problems with Jon Green's Fault in our Stars that I distilled, in my review, to his concept of cancer perks. But I said I was willing to give him another try, and so I did, listening to Looking For Alaska. And now I have an even bigger problem with perks -- specifically, The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Just type in Looking For Alaska vs. Perks in your Google and before you can even finish your search criteria, you will get a stream of autofilled results about how similar Alaska is to Perks. For the record, Perks came first by about 5-6 years. Why didn't any of the people Green thanks in his afterword stop him and say, "John, uh -- you know, Stephen Chbosky has not only written this book already, he even directed the film. Maybe you should change things up a little."
This is not a problem of similarly themed stories. This is an exact copy. Shy boys with no friends goes to a new school and is instantly taken in affectionately by the cool kids for no reason that makes sense, instantly curing his shyness. He instantly falls in love with the wild child girl who has a boyfriend in college and who sets him up with another girl. They both have teachers who touch something special within them. And it all comes crashing down at the end with a virtually identical climactic event.
Like all John Green characters, these kids always have the perfect bon mot ready on the tip of their tongues, without fail. But compared to the Perks characters, they are that shallow, with little in their past to explain their current behavior, with one exception (there isn't even an attempt to explain why the main character ever had socialization problems, which based on what happens in this book is not something he actually has).
Perks has sexual identity crises of various sorts, traumatic events that are believable rather than contrived, consequences that are far more common in real life than the contrived ones cooked up by Green. John Green is all over the YA best seller lists with his books. I don't get why. Read Perks of Being a Wallflower instead, if you haven't already.
Enjoyed this book with my sons. Some parts were embarrassing to hear with them but it was a wonderful story. The spiritual references were moving and we came home from a long drive and they insisted that we play the remaining two hours on the stereo as we lay together in the living room till past midnight to finish it in one long stretch of reading.
The famous last words were thought provoking and while I could have done without glorifying of smoking, I thought the book ignited their imaginations and enriched them spiritually. I will certainly be thinking of the meaning of the labyrinth for long time myself.
Famous last words.
Ahhh... I don't even think I can make a valid comparison, however, it very much encompasses the awesomeness that have been past John Green novels. Even if you think the description doesn't appeal to you, put your feelings to the side and give it a chance. You will not be disappointed.
I loved The Fault in our Stars so downloaded this audiobook. I forced myself to stick with it, but was disappointed throughout. Maybe I shouldn't have read a book in the YA category, but I read in reviews that it would appeal to adults. Ugh, not this adult. The main character speaks and "thinks" like a bright adult in a world of children. His fascination with Alaska grew tiresome early on. And the ending, so boring. Don't waste your time with this one if you're over 16.
John Green's characters are visceral. They are so real that I mourn for days after tragedies in his novels. His stories are poignant reminders of our only temporary place on this world. Looking for Alaska is an excellent book. For young adults and not-so-young adults, I would highly recommend.
The narrator did a GREAT job with the voices. Every character had their own voice, so you knew who was speaking even if it wasn't stated explicitly. No monotony anywhere. Nearly perfect.
The story is very symbolic, and the underlying themes of suffering and purpose in life are present throughout. John Green doesn't sugar coat anything, and this realism peaks at an awkward sex scene. Having watched John Green on the internet a lot, I was surprised. He is very different as an author than as a vlogbrother and crash course host.
One thing that confused me was that the whole first half of the book is setting the stage for what the book is really about, and the second half was much better than the first. Throughout the first half, it is counting down days to an event, and I didn't know what was going to happen until it happened. I'm not sure why the first half needed to be a whole half of the book.
Overall, this is a great book by a great author.