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Looking for Alaska [Paperback]

John Green
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 2 2007
The award-winning, genre-defining debut from #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars

Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
New York Times bestseller

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .

After. Nothing is ever the same.









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Looking for Alaska + The Fault in Our Stars + The Perks of Being a Wallflower
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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up - Sixteen-year-old Miles Halter's adolescence has been one long nonevent - no challenge, no girls, no mischief, and no real friends. Seeking what Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps," he leaves Florida for a boarding school in Birmingham, AL. His roommate, Chip, is a dirt-poor genius scholarship student with a Napoleon complex who lives to one-up the school's rich preppies. Chip's best friend is Alaska Young, with whom Miles and every other male in her orbit falls instantly in love. She is literate, articulate, and beautiful, and she exhibits a reckless combination of adventurous and self-destructive behavior. She and Chip teach Miles to drink, smoke, and plot elaborate pranks. Alaska's story unfolds in all-night bull sessions, and the depth of her unhappiness becomes obvious. Green's dialogue is crisp, especially between Miles and Chip. His descriptions and Miles's inner monologues can be philosophically dense, but are well within the comprehension of sensitive teen readers. The chapters of the novel are headed by a number of days "before" and "after" what readers surmise is Alaska's suicide. These placeholders sustain the mood of possibility and foreboding, and the story moves methodically to its ambiguous climax. The language and sexual situations are aptly and realistically drawn, but sophisticated in nature. Miles's narration is alive with sweet, self-deprecating humor, and his obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully adds to his believability. Like Phineas in John Knowles's A Separate Peace(S & S, 1960), Green draws Alaska so lovingly, in self-loathing darkness as well as energetic light, that readers mourn her loss along with her friends. - Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


An ALA Best Book for Young Adults Top 10
An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers
A 2005 Booklist Editors’ Choice
A Kirkus Best Book of 2005
A 2005 SLJ Best Book of the Year
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

"What sets this novel apart is the brilliant, insightful, suffering but enduring voice of Miles Halter." --Chicago Tribune

"Funny, sad, inspiring, and always compelling." --Bookpage

"Stunning conclusion . . . one worthy of a book this good." --Philadelphia Enquirer

"The spirit of Holden Caulfield lives on." --Kliatt

"What sings and soars in this gorgeously told tale is Green’s mastery of language and the sweet, rough edges of Pudge’s voice. Girls will cry and boys will find love, lust, loss and longing in Alaska’s vanilla-and-cigarettes scent." Kirkus, starred review

"Miles’s narration is alive with sweet, self-deprecating humor, and his obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully adds to his believability. Like Phineas in John Knowles’s A Separate Peace, Green draws Alaska so lovingly, in self-loathing darkness as well as energetic light, that readers mourn her loss along with her friends." --SLJ, starred review

"...Miles is a witty narrator who manages to be credible as the overlooked kid, but he's also an articulate spokesperson for the legions of teen searching for life meaning (his taste for famous last words is a believable and entertaining quirk), and the Colonel's smarts, clannish loyalties, and relentlessly methodological approach to problems make him a true original....There's a certain recursive fitness here, since this is exactly the kind of book that makes kids like Miles certain that boarding school will bring them their destiny, but perceptive readers may also realize that their own lives await the discovery of meaning even as they vicariously experience Miles' quest." --Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

"Readers will only hope that this is not the last word from this promising new author." --Publishers Weekly

“John Green has written a powerful novel—one that plunges headlong into the labyrinth of life, love, and the mysteries of being human. This is a book that will touch your life, so don’t read it sitting down. Stand up, and take a step into the Great Perhaps.”
—K.L. Going, author of Fat Kid Rules the World, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Aug. 24 2007
Miles Halter is the type of high-schooler who always faded into the background at his public school in Florida. He had few friends, by choice as much as by fate, and wanted only to study his passion--memorizing the last words of people who had died. After reading the dying words of poet Francois Rabelais, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps", Miles is convinced that there's more to life than what he's so far experienced.

So Miles sets off to spend his junior and senior years at Culver Creek, a private boarding school in Alabama. There he gains his first nickname "Pudge" (a misnomer, by far, since Miles is quite skinny); meets his first love, Alaska Young; has his first sexual encounter with a Romanian girl named Lara; and gains two great male friends, Chip "The Colonel" Martin and Takumi Hikohito. He also experiences the joys and sickness of getting drunk, the strangeness of smoking cigarettes, and the unadulterated pleasure of playing pranks.

Pudge's new group of friends have their own quirks--The Colonel memorizes countries, capitals, and populations; Alaska collects books for her Life's Library that she hasn't yet read; Takumi relishes being The Fox. They all work together to irritate their teachers, avoid confrontation with The Eagle, the school's dean, and pull off pranks against the rich Weekday Warriors that are the popular clique at Culver Creek.

But LOOKING FOR ALASKA is mostly the story of growing up, of falling in love, of dealing with loss, and getting through life as best that you can. With wonderful dialogue, fascinating prose, and characters that are so real you'll think you know them personally, this is a book well worth reading.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An award winning read for teens and adults. July 14 2006
I purchased "Looking for Alaska" on the recommendation of the staff of my local bookstore, after an exhausting search for a quality book for my teen son. My son enjoyed it immensely, barely putting it down. My daughter devoured it next and I was stealing it from her when she was doing other things. Yes! The book is that good!

John Green has written a stunningly insightful novel whose characters are real, and situations are familiar to many teens, as is evidenced by the fan mail to his website.

I could rave on and on about what a good book this is, but I won't. The book won the Michael L. Printz Award, and has been nominated for other awards.

Just order it. For a guy or a girl, or yourself order it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars perfect Feb. 11 2014
By Liz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
when i received this it was in perfect shape! i couldnt even tell if someone had read it or not!
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2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed Jan. 25 2014
Verified Purchase
Read this after The Fault in Our Stars. Felt it was a bit simplistic and superficial. Interesting characters, but not enough depth for me to fully appreciate and enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WOW Dec 5 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow, I have never read a book like this... It was great and sad and funny and really made me think
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4.0 out of 5 stars Decent Sept. 12 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Was too excited for the book, could care less about state it was in for price!
Delivery came right on day expected.
Quality of book: the inside seemed untouched for a used book. The cover wasn't in best shape though, a lot of scratches and bends but other than that I would order again!
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Originally published [...]
Miles “Pudge” Halter is obsessed with reading biographies and especially collecting the final words of famous people. When the opportunity to attend his father’s alma matter boarding school he decides to seek out the Great Perhaps (a la words of the poet Francois Rabelais) His normally very safe life suddenly becomes very different at Culver Creek Boarding School because just down the hall lives Alaska Young. In this new world he has friends and adventures, but that was all before. In the after nothing is the same.

This is the first book that John Green published, and it’s the second of his books that I have read. Going into this book I knew that most reviews that I have read have been glowing, so I was excited to get started.

The only other book of John Green’s that I have read is The Fault in Our Stars I knew from that book that I love his writing style, and based on writing style Looking for Alaska did not disappoint. John Green has an amazing gift of writing. Throughout this book I found so many passages that I highlighted because they were just so beautiful. So many amazing quotations that make you want to stop and write them down. This book is divided into two parts (Before and After) and each chapter in the Before section starts with a countdown to the After section. This made me want to read the book very quickly because I had to find out what was going to happen. As I got closer to the after section I could feel what was going to happen, and when I reached the section portion I wasn’t surprised at all.

I liked the story, don’t get me wrong I thought the book was good, but when I was done I tried to figure out what everyone else was raving about. I think the problem for me was that I didn’t relate to the characters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book April 7 2013
By Rowan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is just heart wrenchingly beautiful. John Green is an amazing personality I've been following on YouTube, and this is the first of his books I've read. He's brilliant.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
Still my favorite book two years after discovering it. A must read for anyone between the ages of 15-26 of any gender.
Published 13 months ago by audiophile77
3.0 out of 5 stars Long live John Green
Miles falls in love with Alaska, a beautiful blonde bombshell, who happens to be a heavy drinker and smoker, influencing Miles to follow along. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Book Cupid
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my Favourites
I first read this book back in 2007 and absolutely loved it. Since then i have reread it at least a dozen times, it seems to just get better and better. Read more
Published 14 months ago by stevie
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, engaging book
I would have to say that John Green is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. I loved Looking for Alaska. There is something about Green's writing that captures me. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Coreena
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful quick read.
One of the few books I've re read.
Found the famous quote online and read the book because of it.
Published 15 months ago by Tatton
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking For Alaska
I purchased this book to know what kind of author is John Green. I've been following the vlogbrothers video for a while now and I'm glad I read it. Read more
Published 19 months ago by fairyfaum
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book !
I had heard on this book many times, while looking through reviews for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, mostly. I bought it and I had high expectations, I was not disappointed. Read more
Published 23 months ago by elisabeth
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