Looking for Alaska : a novel / by John Green.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Fall
At boarding school in Alabama, narrator Miles Halter faces challenging classes, school-wide pranks, and Alaska Young, a sexy, enigmatic girl. After Alaska is killed in a car crash, Miles and his friends question whether it could have been suicide and acknowledge their own survivor guilt. These intelligent characters talk smart, yet don't always behave that way, and are thus complex and realistically portrayed teenagers. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2005 #2
A collector of famous last words, teenage Miles Halter uses Rabelais's final quote ("I go to seek a Great Perhaps") to explain why he's chosen to leave public high school for Culver Creek Preparatory School in rural Alabama. In his case, the Great Perhaps includes challenging classes, a hard-drinking roommate, elaborate school-wide pranks, and Alaska Young, the enigmatic girl rooming five doors down. Moody, sexy, and even a bit mean, Alaska draws Miles into her schemes, defends him when there's trouble, and never stops flirting with the clearly love-struck narrator. A drunken make-out session ends with Alaska's whispered "To be continued?" but within hours she's killed in a car accident. In the following weeks, Miles and his friends investigate Alaska's crash, question the possibility that it could have been suicide, and acknowledge their own survivor guilt. The narrative concludes with an essay Miles writes about this event for his religion class -- an unusually heavy-handed note in an otherwise mature novel, peopled with intelligent characters who talk smart, yet don't always behave that way, and are thus notably complex and realistically portrayed teenagers. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
PW Reviews 2005 February #1
This ambitious first novel introduces 16-year-old Miles Halter, whose hobby is memorizing famous people's last words. When he chucks his boring existence in Florida to begin this chronicle of his first year at an Alabama boarding school, he recalls the poet Rabelais on his deathbed who said, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." Miles's roommate, the "Colonel," has an interest in drinking and elaborate pranks-pursuits shared by his best friend, Alaska, a bookworm who is also "the hottest girl in all of human history." Alaska has a boyfriend at Vanderbilt, but Miles falls in love with her anyway. Other than her occasional hollow, feminist diatribes, Alaska is mostly male fantasy-a curvy babe who loves sex and can drink guys under the table. Readers may pick up on clues that she is also doomed. Green replaces conventional chapter headings with a foreboding countdown-"ninety-eight days before," "fifty days before"-and Alaska foreshadows her own death twice ("I may die young," she says, "but at least I'll die smart"). After Alaska drives drunk and plows into a police car, Miles and the Colonel puzzle over whether or not she killed herself. Theological questions from their religion class add some introspective gloss. But the novel's chief appeal lies in Miles's well-articulated lust and his initial excitement about being on his own for the first time. Readers will only hope that this is not the last word from this promising new author. Ages 14-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2007 January #4
Teenager Miles chronicles his first year at boarding school. According to PW, "The novel's chief appeal lies in Miles's well-articulated lust (for Alaska, the title girl) and his initial excitement about being on his own for the first time." Ages 14-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.