I discovered Looking for Alaska through my quest to read books that have been banned in schools. John Green’s debut YA novel makes the CBS news list of The 50 Most Banned Books in America because of the number of times it has been banned since 2021.
In Looking for Alaska, Miles “Pudge” Halter leaves his hometown in Florida to go to boarding school. He doesn’t have many friends at his current school and is seeking excitement, companionship, and the “Great Perhaps” by going away to Culver Creek. He quickly bonds with his roommate, Chip “The Colonel”, and Alaska Young, the school’s most famous prankster who lives in a nearby single.
Pudge, who is fascinated with the last words of famous people, has many new experiences at Culver Creek. In addition to his first romantic relationship, he experiences a shocking loss that leaves him forever changed.
Looking for Alaska has a lot of strong points, including a unique before and after structure, where the before section counts down to an unknown event. Like with The Fault in Our Stars, John Green captures teenage life really well, although he again portrays the main characters as more philosophical than most of the teens I remember being around.
While it didn’t top The Fault in Our Stars for me, it has a lot of similar qualities, including a memorable plot, quirky characters, and excellent writing. I recommend it to those who love a good teenage drama and are prepared to have their emotions toyed with.
My review of The Fault in Our Stars is available here.