Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent - no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps," he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school's rich preppies. Chip's best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her orbit falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks. Alaska's story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious. Green's dialogue is crisp, especially between Miles and Chip. His descriptions and Miles's inner monologues can be philosophically dense, but are well within the comprehension of sensitive teen readers. (More can be found on Goodreads, but I decided to cut it short after realizing the rest of the description contained spoilers. Thankfully, I went into this book unspoiled and was shocked when I realized I almost ruined it for some of you!)
I usually spend a ridiculous amount of time writing my own original description. As a blogger, I feel like I'm cheating if I just copy and paste something from Goodreads or Amazon. (I AM NOT saying there is anything wrong with using someone else's description! I am only saying that I am anal retentive, and this is, for some reason, a big deal to me.) That said, I decided to borrow one this time because I simply could not put into words what this book was about. To describe how I felt about it is probably going to be even more difficult.
Looking for Alaska is probably one of the most mature young adult novels I've ever read. I was a little surprised by some of the content; however, I think it's important to address the uncomfortable issues like alcohol, sex, and drugs because these are real issues that are dealt with by real teens. I have heard such great things about John Green, and I was not disappointed. Green has an amazing way of creating characters you can almost touch. Miles. Chip. Alaska. These are three characters who will stay with me for a long time. Miles's voice is so real, so unique. His friendship with Chip and love for Alaska are portrayed beautifully on every page. I feel like there is nothing I can say to do this book justice, so I guess you'll just have to go out and read it yourself :)
I'll end my review with a quote from the book. I think it describes Miles and Alaska perfectly without giving too much away. Plus, I'm a sucker for great lines, and this one ranks way up there.
"I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep . . . just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane."