January 2, 2009

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska
Date Started: January 2, 2009/Date Finished: January 2, 2009
Summary: Miles decides to go to a boarding school in Alabama where he meets cool new friends the Colonel, Takumi, Lara, and the impulsive but sexy Alaska Young. After pulling pranks on the rich kids at school, Alaska and her friends make one last prank. However, a few weeks after the group of friends get drunk and the next day they wake up to find that their best friend is gone.

Likes: Geez, what wasn't there not to like in this book? Clearly I loved it if I read it in one day (four hours to be precise). The characters were quirky, it was kind of like reading Catcher in the Rye while Holden was still in school before he got expelled. Green really captures the spirit of being a teenager and dealing with situations like this without being melodramatic and overblown. The prose was simple and easy to read, at the same time showed that the characters were intelligent people who make mistakes. The characters were most definitely not card board cut outs and the author trusts readers to come to their own conclusions, just like a lot of the authors in his writing circles (Nerdfighters anyone?) Each character had their own quirks, their stories, and their own lives, and allows the characters to take responsibility for their actions, even if it was no ones fault. I think that was one of the themes of the story. To realize that you can't control everything and you can't dwell on the things you can't control.
Dislikes: It made me cry, I hate crying, but I did. Three days before the incident in the story, I was already crying because I knew what was going to happen. There was nothing wrong with the book, but I just hate crying. That could just be the lack of sleep, since I did stay up until the wee hours of the morning to keep reading. I do tend to get overly emotional from lack of sleep. I'm glad there were no asshats in this one.
Overall: I enjoyed this book. It reminded me of a prayer I said for the New Year. "Dear God, we didn't have to wake up this morning, but we did..." This book cemented that thought in my head. Sometimes that's not always the case. One day you're here one moment and then POOF. You're gone. It makes you think of things you take for granted and to remind you to be grateful for each day you have on Earth. It's an eerie feeling to think about all the people who take things for granted and to remember that they have something you want, but don't have. Then you remember that sometimes you wake up in the morning and realize that the fact you woke up that morning and the morning before is something more than other people have. Then you realize just how fortunate you are.

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