“Looking for Alaska”

John Green’s critically acclaimed debut novel


Photo by F. Neely

John Green’s bestselling novel “Looking for Alaska”

John Green is well known for his educational YouTube channel Crash Course, in which John and his brother Hank explain the in’s and out’s of subjects ranging from U.S. History to Chemistry. Others may recognize his name as the author of many bestselling novels, including The Fault in Our Stars, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. But Green’s first and most well-praised novel is Looking For Alaska.

After reading Looking for Alaska, it’s no wonder that the novel won the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award in 2006. Green’s style is bold and passionate, and his descriptions place you right inside the world of love and loss that he creates.

Looking for Alaska follows the story of 16-year-old Miles “Pudge” Halter. The story begins with Miles moving from his dull, dreary life in Florida to Culver Creek Academy, just outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Miles goes seeking a “Great Perhaps”, hoping to find something more than his boring, fake friends in Florida. He immediately connects with his roommate Chip Martin, nicknamed “The Colonel” for his military-like planning skills, and they become the best of friends throughout the whole novel.

The book kicks into high gear when Miles meets The Colonel’s friend, Alaska Young. Miles instantly falls in love with Alaska, and they share many conversations about the meaning of life and what happens after we die. Alaska constantly compares life to a labyrinth, saying that everyone is just stumbling around aimlessly hoping to find a way out.

Miles finds his “Great Perhaps” at Culver Creek. He finds caring and trustworthy friends that he can have meaningful interactions with, unlike what he had in Florida. However, this is all flipped upside down in a plot twist thrown in by Green near the middle of the novel. Miles is left lost and alone, and he has to try and find his way “out of the labyrinth”.

Looking For Alaska is one of the most superb novels I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I was engulfed in the lives of Miles and Alaska, so much so that I read the whole book in one night. John Green wrote this book to reflect his experience in a boarding school similar to Culver Creek, and he is able to convey his characters’ emotions so perfectly that I felt like I knew them personally. I would recommend Looking For Alaska for everyone, whether you’re searching for your own “Great Perhaps”, or you just want a good story to read in your free time.