July 3rd 2006 (UK) (Though it's being repackaged and coming our again on the 31st March 2011)
HarperCollins Children's (UK)
Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (François Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.
Looking For Alaska was my first John Green book, although I have been watching his videos for a while now (I know, I know, bad Nerdfighter!) and I was really, really impressed. I already thought I loved John Green, but reading this has made me realise that he's pretty darn amazing.
I love his writing style, how he's so funny in some places, so touching and emotional in others, and just incredibly clever all the way though, and although there wasn't a whole lot of plot (not a lot actually happens. It's a really character driven book, which is a good thing) the characters were all quirky and genuinely wonderful.
I loved Miles, or Pudge rather, because he was just so, normal, I guess... Really relatable. I feel a bit like Miles sometimes, give or take a few things (like the fact that he's a boy, and I am not). I loved The Colonel, partially because even I would be taller than him, but also because he was funny and I loved how precise he was. I loved Takumi because he's the motherfucking fox. And nobody catches the fox. (Seriously, I want a fox hat now) And he was probably one of my favourite characters, if not just because of that scene. I loved Alaska Young because she's Alaska Young and (spoiler-ish) I didn't want to carry on reading the book after she'd gone.
The After part of the book made me cry. Not like sobbing or anything, but that slow sort of cry that happens when you read really moving things that aren't just sad and devastating but have a whole load of hope in them. And it was sad. But it was also about moving on, and remembering, and starting to get over an important persons death and to not dwell on it and to realise that it's not your fault.
Looking For Alaska is a sweet, funny and moving novel, which I definitely regret not having read earlier. It also completely reaffirms all the love I had for John Green and it made me love him even more so. 5 stars :D