“Looking For Alaska”

Exploring John Green’s highly 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 around 16-year-old Miles Halter, who goes to a boarding school in Alabama to seek what he calls the “Great Perhaps.”

Miles meets the beautiful and spontaneous Alaska Young when he arrives at boarding school, and he instantly falls in love. They share many conversations about the meaning of life and what happens after death. 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 boarding school. 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 would recommend this book for everyone, whether you’re searching for your own “Great Perhaps,” or you just want a good story to read in your free time.