- Fizzy Thoughts: Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

Monday, January 12, 2009


Looking for Alaska
John Green
2005
221 pages

This is my first book for the Dewey's Books Reading Challenge, and it was totally awesome (do I sound like I'm reverting to teenager-hood? I don't mean to.). So awesome, in fact, that I ran out and bought John Green's other books. And I can't wait to read them.

Technically, this is a YA book. But other than the fact that it's about teenagers, it doesn't read like a YA book. Actually, I'm not really sure why I said that, since most YA books these days don't read like the stereotypical YA book. Not that I'm trying to stereotype them.

Looking for Alaska is about a group of friends at a boarding school. Pudge (his real name is Miles) is our protagonist, and this is his first year at Culver Creek. The Colonel (his real name is Chip) is Pudge's roommate. He introduces him to cigarettes and Alaska. Alaska (and her real name is Alaska) is a sexy, experienced girl with a reputation for pranks. She also has a roomful of books:
"I call it my Life's Library. Every summer since I was little, I've gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read. But there is so much to do: cigarettes to smoke, sex to have, swings to swing on. I'll have more time for reading when I'm old and boring."
The novel starts of with a Before section. It is 136 days before. Before what we don't know, until a little more than halfway through the book, when it's After. And I can't tell you anything else about the book, because that would totally spoil it.

Well, I can tell you that it's a Printz Award winner, if you like that sort of thing. And that this is way more than just a story about life at boarding school. I especially loved the character of Dr. Hyde ("I have a first name, of course. So far as you are concerned, it is Doctor.") and his religion class.

Anyhoosie, this is one of those books that you have to have faith in. Or you have to have faith in me. Because I highly recommend it, and it is totally worth reading without knowing anything about it. Like totally. And I swear that's the last time I'll say totally tonight.


On a sort of related note, I'm hosting one of the mini-challenges for the Dewey's Books Reading Challenge. My idea was to have people write their reviews using Dewey's review format. However, her site is down and I don't have the questionnaire she used. Does anyone have it?? If so, can you pleeeeeeeeeeese share it with me?

17 comment(s):

bkclubcare said...

oh darn, I had THE LINK saved on one of my pages, alas, only the link. I might have a post where I attempted to use her guide but it will take me more than a few minutes to figure that out. bummer. I'll keep looking.

Eva said...

I loved this one too! And yet, strangely, I'm afraid to read anything else by John Green because the blurbs don't sound as good. Based on all of the blogosphere raves of his other books, I'm obviously just being silly, so hopefully my mental block will disappear soon. :)

Chris said...

This was TOTALLY an awesome book! Sorry...I just needed to say "totally" again. But it was awesome. One of my favorite reads of the year last year. And it started an obsession with John Green. Paper Towns is excellent as well. Still haven't read Abundance of Katherines, but I'm really looking forward to it! I hope you can find Dewey's review format :( It's so sad that her site is down...

And Eva! Go get his books!! lol...I can assure you that Paper Towns is awesome!

Joanne said...

Squeee!! So happy you liked it! And I loved that reading it made you want all Greens other books :)

Oh and I have Dewey's review questionnaire, I saved a copy ages ago and use it alot to sort out my thoughts while reading - I'll email it to you.

Beth F said...

Ok, ok!!! I have this one in the ol' TBR stack. I guess it's really awesome-y worth the read.

bermudaonion said...

I've read so many good things about John Green's work, that I have to read something of his, but I think I want to start with Paper Towns.

Ramya said...

This sounds like a nice book. I read a few YA books in dec and loved them all.. guess I will get to this one soon:)

Nymeth said...

I love this book so much. Like, totally :P I'm really glad you enjoyed it too. I haven't read Paper Towns yet, but I thought Katherines was almost as good. Which is saying a lot.

Lisa said...

I loved this one too, but for unknown reasons have not yet gotten around to reading his others. I should fix that!

My review is here:
http://bookslistslife.blogspot.com/2007/09/looking-for-alaska-by-john-green.html

Kristina said...

Another book to add to my pile! This was a great review and makes me want to go buy it now!

Melissa said...

So glad you liked it. Welcome to the John Green fan club ;). His others don't disappoint.

BTW, I have to say that I really prefer the hardback cover on this one. Leave Alaska to our imaginations, please.

I know Bookfool uses Dewey's questionnaire a lot.

chartroose said...

Sigh...on my TBR it goes.

Dar said...

This does sound like a good one, another for the list. I find most YA books now perfectly suitable for adults. I'm glad you really liked this one.

LisaMM said...

Ooooo I'm on a YA kick at the moment and this one sounds GOOD. Totally!

softdrink said...

Care...thanks for looking!

Eva - I know. I'm afraid the first will be the best.

Chris - totally!! ;-)

Joanne - woo-hoo! thanks!

Beth, Kathy and Ramya - drop everything and read it now! :-D

Nymeth - The current debate is which one to read next...I want to save the better of the two for last...kinda like dessert.

Lisa - thanks for the link!

Kristina - thanks (and my apologies to your tbr pile)

Melissa - I agree...I had a hard time finding this cover image...I kept seeing the cigarette smoke and I was jealous.

chartroose - bwahahahaha (that's my evil laughter)

Dar - two thumbs up, definitely.

Lisa - and better yet, it's way (I almost said totally) different than Twilight.

Charley said...

I hope to read this soon. And An Abundance of Catherines.

Fyrefly said...

Love, love, love this book - and all of John Green's books, actually. He just *gets* teenagers in a way that other authors don't. Enjoy the rest of his books!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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