By Pricilla Gomez
In “Looking for Alaska” by John Green, main character Miles “Pudge” Halter is a high school junior who is fascinated with people’s last words. He decides to move to Culver Creek Boarding School, hoping that there he will find his “Great Perhaps”(inspired by Francois Rabelais, poet).
On his third day in the Creek he meets Chip “Colonel” Martin, his roommate who memorizes the whole amalec and drinks milk mixed with vodka from a milk gallon, and Alaska Young; a funny, sexy, prankster, literature lover, and screwed-up girl who mesmerizes Pudge with her beauty. Pudge falls helplessly in love with her, only to be shot down by the fact that Alaska is madly in love with her boyfriend.
But one night Alaska receives a call that leads her to flee campus. Now Pudge and the Colonel have to investigate her real background and, more importantly, find out what caused her to leave that night.
Alaska Young is in her own world looking for the answer to “How will I ever get out of this Labyrinth of suffering?” inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “The General in his own Labyrinth.” But aside from loving pranks and literature, she has an excessive cigarette and drinking problem that she finds to be the only consolation to her grief from her past life.
In addition to Pudge and the Colonel there is Takumi Hikohito, a Japanese student who also has been attracted to Alaska for the past two years and who is devastated about her disappearance.
Green also the author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” an extremely popular novel from 2012. Though “Looking for Alaska” was published first, it is a lesser known book but one that is an exquisitely written story with a compelling plot.
This novel is genuinely written to be relatable to teenagers and their problems. All of Green’s books suck you into the story and guide you through with quirky comment, tragic scenes and a compelling ending that gives you new eyes to teenage society.
People tend to see teenagers as rebellious, snobbish, unappreciative and with the mindset of being invincible. Green does not treat his characters with that simple-mindedness. He acknowledges that teenagers have real problems, and he allows his characters to deal with them differently.
Green sees beyond all the stereotypical personalities of teenagers and creates characters who are multi-dimensional and realistic. He creates plots that are compelling but at the same relatable to the readers. In “Looking for Alaska,” he writes a tragedy that ends up changing Pudge for the better and allows him to give in to nature of human life.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves tragedies and a good cry. It will not only make you emotional but it also allows you to appreciate your surroundings and the people in your life. It gives you the sense that no one is alone in this world; all you have to do is reach out for someone’s hand.
This novel, as well as all other books written by Green, are written with realistic teenage language, something very hard to find for teen reads. Readers will forget that an adult is telling this story because his characters’ voices are so convincing.