Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green's arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.
(P)2006 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Making the world better one review at a time.
This is the story of Miles, a young man who moves into a boarding school in Alabama where he meets beautiful, brilliant, but deeply troubled Alaska Young. It is the story of Miles' friendship with Alaska from beginning to end.
Looking for Alaska is a coming of age story with decidedly adult content - drinking, smoking, sex, love, friendship and death. John Green creates an interesting cast of young characters and catapults them into very adult situations. He is not afraid to make his young characters face death in all of its complexity.
Parts of the book are humorous, parts are heartbreaking. At times the book seems to move a little slowly, and you can tune out then tune back in to find you really haven't missed much. The narrator does an excellent job with the male characters, but his rendition of Alaska leaves a bit to be desired. Frankly, he makes her sound at times like an empty-headed redneck.
Overall this book carries a message of hope. It reminds us of people who have impacted our lives profoundly, leaving deep imprints upon our hearts. It also foreshadows a certain peace in death, suggesting that where we are going may be more beautiful than where we are.
The first Green book I listened to was "The Fault In Our Stars" and I was skeptic that any other of his books could come close to its brilliance.
Fortunately, I was wrong.
Looking for Alaska is billed as Young Adult fiction, but like so many YA novels, it easily transcends other genres. The book follows the life of Miles (aka "Pudge") as he seeks "The Great Perhaps" in a southern boarding school. There he meets Alaska Young and he falls for her quickly. The books follows the trials and tribulations of Life for teenagers, but it goes deeper and examines The Big Questions.
The narrator does a fantastic job with all of the voices -- Pudge, the deep voiced Colonel, Romanian Lara, and throaty Alaska.
This book does not disappoint! My only gripe is the length -- I wish it was longer !
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
In the YA realm, this is one of my top 7 favorites.
John Greene's sense of humor is delightfully sarcastic. The characters were well written and I felt like I was at the school, in the barn, at the basketball games, etc. with them.
Yes. I enjoy Jeff's performances. I didn't "love" his Alaska voice, but it didn't detract from the story.
I didn't cry, but found it humorous and marginally sad at the end. Alaska was a little too self-absorbed and I didn't care as much about her charcacter's sudden ending.
I wouldn't want my younger daughter to read this due to the continuous drinking, smoking, and mischief. However, I enjoyed it as an adult.
Even though this is a YA book, once again, I feel like this is more of an adult book. I know that the characters are in High School, but their expericences are mature. So, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone younger than 16.
That said, this is an excellent story. John Green makes his characters become so real. You feel a deep connection to them. Narrator, Jeff Woodman, once again, makes a great story even better, making him by far my favorite.
You will love this story!
The Mad Reader
I just loved, loved, loved this book! While some people choose to categorize this book as Romance, I think that even though there is some falling in love, there is no actual romance, but rather a story of friendship, loyalty and the pursuit of meaning.
This book explores some of the deepest questions of humankind and even wanders a bit into how some of the main religions in the world answer them. But mainly it is about a group of friends discovering and questioning the meaning of life and existence, and how they choose to live it.
The plot is absolutely engaging and it sucks you in from moment one. It is unexpected and refreshing. I wouldn’t have guessed the major twist of the story, but if even if it made me sad, it was necessary in the end to get through the message.
John Green has the spectacular ability to merge profound subjects into a fun story about friendship, high school and taking chances, in a way you won’t even notice all the layers the story has until the end, because it is so easy to glide through it.
Pudge was an exceptional character. He was the perfect impersonation of a boy trying to fit in and finding his way in life. Like your regular misfit, who finally found his place in Culver Creek. He was fun and loyal and pretty much I would’ve really enjoyed being part of his gang. The irregular group of friends he found there was a unique set of people; each brought something different to the table and the result was a bundle of weird awesomeness. I loved the Colonel and his audacity and loyalty; Takumi and his wits; Lara and her innocence; and, of course, Alaska, and her creativity. I just loved them all individually and as a group, but most of all, the way they fit together.
In the end the message was loud and clear and this book took root in my heart. For me, the pursuit of the Great Perhaps was the way to survive the labyrinth. Because we are all in the labyrinth but what makes us different is how we choose to live in it.
Jeff Woodman did and amazing job with the guy’s voices. He definitely picked up their personalities and he was a master with their different accents. He got Takumi’s and Lara’s accents perfectly and he nailed Dr Hyde’s old voice, just from hearing him breathing with difficulty you could tell the old man had his days counted. However, I detested what he did with Alaska. From her physical description and the way she behaved you would guess she was a feminine smart girl. But that wasn’t the vibe I got from her voice. She sounded more like a drag queen really. She was bold, fearless and she liked to swear, yes, but she was a teenage girl, and she wasn’t supposed to sound like that. I’m sorry to say so, but it weakened my enjoyment of the book. Other than that the narration was fabulous. I would totally forget where I was when listening to this book, and I found myself several times laughing out loud.
After really enjoying "The Fault in our Stars," I was really looking forward to "Looking for Alaska." This novel is about a high school junior who is starting at a boarding school. I teach at a prep school, and I enjoy good novels about high school life. Pudge (the nickname of the protagonist) spends the first half of the book making connections with a small circle of friends at his new school. Sex, alcohol, cigarettes, and pranks are at the center of these kids' existences. This novel captured the teen banter very well. The author has a great ear for teen dialogue. But this story does not come close to capturing the full school experience. Only one teacher is mentioned, plus "the Eagle," the notorious dean of students, in charge of discipline. Only one class is mentioned, and absent is the unhealthy preoccupation with grades which permeates prep school life these days. This novel captured the three main characters so well - Pudge, his roommate (the Colonel), and Alaska, the charismatic but complicated girl who steals Pudge's heart. The dynamic between these three kids is great, and was enough for me to like this novel but not love it. Over halfway through the story, there is one dramatic event (which I won't spoil). Very little happens after that beside an extended reaction to that event. The narrator was excellent and almost enough for me to push this to 4 stars.
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 is an amazing book and the audio version is very well done. It is more than just a young adult's novel. I would recommend it to people of most any age.
"... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^
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."
This book is wonderfully written. I think i enjoyed it so much because i have lived each of these relationships and though i went home to my own bed each night instead of bunking in some boarding school the experiences still apply. The characters are all strong and the way the book is written you see how each event affects another. The narrator is great and keeps your attention. Give this book a chance and i promise you will not be disappointed. My favorite quote?:
"If people were rain, i was drizzle and she was hurricane." <3 it.
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