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.
I am what you might call a literary philanderer...
On the one hand, the character's are real and highlight John's insight into the depth of the adolescent mind.
We have a normal group of high school friends in a mostly abnormal setting of a boarding school. We have neurotic girls, confused boys, mischievous pranks, and deviant behavior. Authority is mocked, then respected, and the cycle continues.
Written for the YA audience, John Green seems to have taken it upon himself to introduce teenagers to complex concepts. This book included such heavy topics as the concept of deity, the post-death experience, grieving and mourning, memorial, and loneliness. On the flip side, we also see fun and excitement in friendship, pranks, young love, and boring lecture classes.
Finally, John absolutely perfected a particular scene, wherein two naive 17-year-old kids experiment with a physical manifestation of a romantic relationship. I nearly died laughing.
audio book junkie
The first John Green book I read was, "The Fault in Our Stars", a YA book that transcended the categorization and could be enjoyed by anyone of any age. This is a tough review to write because after finishing TFiOS I bought 'Looking for Alaska' and at first listen it was clear that 'Looking for Alaska' was a YA book in a more traditional sense. It felt like it was written for kids which was a drag for me as I'm not one.
It's not fair of me to get down on John Green, a YA writer, for writing a book that is for young adults so I won't. I will say that he has a great, clear writing voice. His dialogue is smart and funny and really brings you into the story. I like how he has a running countdown throughout the book, to what? you'll have to read it to find out. It's a sweet simple tale that I would have adored as a teenager. As an adult unfortunately, I felt I was reading below my abilities.
This book offers what all the other reviewers said, but I can't say I would use words like "fantastic," "amazing," and "terrific." It definitely made for an interesting read(or listen) but the end was anticlimactic.. So anticlimactic that I did rate this book with four stars, but thought of the ending and brought it down to three.. So, buy if you are an avid Green fan, but not if you have just have, by chance, found this book. Maybe I'm not being fair.. This book made me laugh, be sad, be happy, and maybe I snorted. (maybe). The narration was FANTASTIC, and he does deserve that word. The characters were easy to relate to and made you like them, but that is about all the positives I can think on the top of my head.
This book was real, hilarious, gritty, soulful and touching in so many ways. I agree with the other people here. A great read for young adults -- and great for the rest of us, who have known these characters in one form or another, both in school and throughout life. Don't miss this one!
This book was so well written. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me think. The characters are realistic, the connections between the characters are relatable, and the overall message is beautiful.
I love books.
I might. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
I would compare it to Paper Towns by the same author. I liked this one better, but love everything John Green writes.
I thought his voice suited the story and characters. His voice and performance never took me out of the story, and that is one of my criteria of a good narrator.
John Green always writes characters that I would want to be friends with. That definitely applies to this book. I loved pending time with them and was sad when the story ended.
John Green is a startlingly good writer of teen fiction. As a mother of teenagers, I am enjoying both his writing and the way he portrays these young people and the situations they face. It's hard to remember what its like to be that age and I love the way John Green gets me inside these youngsters' heads. I have recommended this to my 17 and 14 year old daughters. I think its a bit mature for my 12 year old right now.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
A good first novel, just not a world-class bildungsroman that I'm going to push to have my daughter read immediately. Don't get me wrong, Green writes good characters and builds tight little novels (I can use the plural 'cause I've now read two). Sometimes, however, I feel a bit like I'm reading a Jennifer Egan MFA project: something clever, funny, tight but although it desperately reaches to matter ... it never quite grabs the matter. The Universe is a finicky bit@h.
This upsets me, because I really like the YouTube persona that IS John Green. It would be like falling for Mark Twain's personality and finding out he wrote only mediocre novels. My take is John Green is a C writer but an A+ promoter (not a bad thing if you want to make a living selling what you write).
As a friend of mine (Jacob) on another site said, "It's like emotional cotton candy. Simple and uncomplicated. They can make you cry without making you think, force you to laugh without having to reflect, and it's all so...upsetting to me."
Very emotional and allows you to expand your mind when thinking about life, death, and after life if there is any. All the while listening to this story of these teens and their journey during their junior year of school. This is a must read novel.