Friday, April 12, 2013

Reviewed! Looking for Alaska by John Green



After so many months, I’m finally done with my second book from John Green. For those who can still remember, I received this book as a birthday gift last December.  Back then, I was still reading another John Green, The Fault in our Stars.  If I remember it right, I started this book last February. Blame everything on my recent addiction to some Korean drama series. ;) Reading took a step back as I always spend the entire night with my DVD marathons. Now that my supply of drama series is dwindling, I went back reading. Hence, this post finally made it.
During my first encounter with the book, I thought that Alaska was treated as a place. Turns out, Alaska is a person.  The book related the story of a group of young college students in Culver Creek. The lead character is Miles, who was almost a loner during his high school years. When he went to a college boarding school, he found himself in the group of Colonel, Takumi, Lara and Alaska. Miles' group was responsible for tagging him as Pudge, which became his identity in the course of the story.

The story was divided to two parts, before and after. I won’t relate the dividing line between before and after. Everything evolves on Pudge’s attempts to find answers. Pudge and his group’s journey to solve a mystery led them to answers, that demanded more meaning and understanding.

The book became a recipient of the 2006 Michael Printz Award (best book written for teens). This should have been a plus factor but for some reason, I often end up rendering lesser appreciation for award winning literary works. In this case, allow me to discuss my personal view.

If the originality and novelty of the story will be graded, I'll give John Green 3 out of 5 stars. For me, Looking for Alaska relates a typical coming-of-age story. The story reminded me of movies such as St. Elmo's Fire and With Honors. Not of similar plot, but shares the same theme. The story's structure is not really something new for me. As I see it, the events that transpired in Looking for Alaska can happen to anyone. However, John Green compensated by emphasizing his trademark of powerful words. John Green is one of the few writers who can narrate an ordinary story in an extraordinary way. Each chapter is enriched with heart-warming words that leaves readers with that rare emotional trail.

As for character development, I guess this is where John Green excelled. He created characters whom everyone can relate with. John Green can place you in the shoes of the characters, who can be your complete opposite. I was always a shy and reserved person in my schooling years so I never understood students who always engage themselves in trouble. But when Pudge, Colonel and Alaska's dangerous escapades were presented to me, I didn't find it disturbing and annoying. Everything appeared to me as a typical and accepted teenage-adult transition.

Overall, I would give Looking for Alaska as 4 out of 5 stars. It's a typical story that has been empowered with compeling words and excellent character development.

PS Not so much of a big deal to everyone but this is my 400th post! Hooray to my next 400 posts :)

6 comments :

  1. wow. i just finish reading TFIOS. hope i could read this one too. :) btw, reading is always better than watching (for me at least.haha)

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    1. TFIOS is better in my personal opinion :) But this one is worth reading too, just don't expect too much ;)

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  2. i want to read this one... i loved FIOS but hated paper towns. also i used to live in korea, but never watched any of their dramas!

    http://ilikebigbooksblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/book-review-the-invention-of-hugo-cabret-by-brian-selznick/

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    1. Haven't read Paper Towns and I heard similar negative reviews :( You are so lucky to live in Korea!! haha One of the future destinations I'm praying for ;)

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  3. Yay!!!! Congrats on your 400th Post, and I'm thrilled you shared it with Literary Friday! Thanks for linking-up!

    Shanley really enjoyed reading it because of the characters. I agree that Green is an excellent writer.

    John Green attended a local boarding school near us. :D So he definitely has an Alabama connection.

    We've been in Tuscaloosa all weekend for Shanley's Parents' Weekend! :D

    XO,
    RJ

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    1. Hi Ricki! I forgot to mention the Alabama setting in my post haha But yes, I read the John Green some years of his life in Alabama. Wish I could see Alabama too ;)

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