05 August 2010

Review of Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Page Count: 221
Quote: "Everywhere, boys and girls hugged and smiled and walked together. I vaguely hoped that someone would come up and talk to me. I imagined the conversation: "Hey is this your first year?" "Yeah. Yeah. I'm from Florida." "That's cool. So you'r used to the heay." "I wouldn't be used to the heat if I were from hades," I'd joke. I'd make a good first impression. Oh, he's funny. That guy Miles is a riot."
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Description: Miles, tired of his friendless, dull life in Florida, convinces his parents to send him away to boarding school in Alabama so that he can seek "the Great Perhaps." There he meets his roommate and soon-to-be best friend, Chip, called the Colonel, and Alaska Young, the moody, gorgeous, wild girl who instantly becomes the object of his lust. Miles is quickly enlisted in their war against the Weekday Warriors, the rich kids who go home every weekend, and they bond over elaborate pranks, studying, and assorted rule-breaking.
About halfway through the book a tragedy occurs, and those left spend the rest of the book trying to make sense of it, to solve the mystery it leaves behind, and to pull off one last, greatest-ever prank.
Review: After reading the first page of this book, I knew I'd love it. Miles' mother insists on throwing him a going-away party, even though he has only "school friends" (friends to hang out with in school, nothing further). Only two people who don't even really know him arrive, and then he's off to Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama. Miles' hobby is learning famous peoples' last words. It's a cute little addition in the book, and Miles uses it frequently. The above quote is an example of Miles' quirky and sarcastic attitude towards life and his peers. Until he meets his new roomate, Chip "the Colonel" Martin and the Colonel's friends, Alaska, Takumi and Lara.
The Colonel is a poor kid who loves his mom and hates the "Weekday Warriors"(the rich kids who don't board at Culver Creek). Alaska is the most unique and carefully crafted character I've ever read about. I loved that she kept a whole bookshelf of books she had no interest to read until she was older and bored. I loved how whenever she was talking of doing anything with Miles, she'd end with "... but I love my boyfriend, Jake and I would never cheat on him." Alaska and the Colonels' thing is pulling pranks on the Weekday Warriors and the Eagle, who is basically the live-on-site dean of Culver Creek. Their final prank was brilliant and I found myself laughing along with the dialogue and the sass of the characters.
Another great component to Looking for Alaska is the add-on of religon, taught by a no-nonsense Dr. Hyde. It's addition to the novel makes the characters think about their essays and their inner feelings. I especially liked "The Great Perhaps", the famous last words of a french poet. This french poet used The Great Perhaps as the afterlife, which people dreamed about, but aren't alive to tell. Miles, meanwhile, is using the Great Perhaps now, so he can take risks at Culver Creek now, in his youth, and not while he's old and ready to die.

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