For Christmas one of the things I got was Looking For Alaska by John Green. My parents know how much I enjoyed The Fault In our Stars (AMAZING book - it kinda changed my life), so naturally they bought me this one too.
From the beginning, this book hooks you in. It always fascinates me reading books from a boys perspective because they just seem so different and impossible to be. But this book made me realise in a way that they really aren't that different from us. I mean, Miles has a fairly large age gap, gender difference and character from me, but I can totally relate to going to a new school, struggling to find true friends, and along the way changing - as new experiences are felt - for the better.
I'm going to try to not give away the plot or anything for people who may want to read it (you should!). This DOES make it harder for me, so I'll be general. OK. So, there's this boy from Florida. He's what you might call your 'average' person, he could be anyone really - but, no, he's Miles Halter. His lack of friends doesn't seem to bother him as he had come to terms with it long ago, but his previously unaware parents decide that Miles's decision to change to a boarding school is a good idea. Soon he's leaving his comfortably mediocre town, and off into the unknown of Alabama to his designation - Culver Creek.
Miles is interested by last words. He collects them in his brain, almost as if a solace to the immediacy of real life. This, in a way, is why he wants a change - he seeks the Great Perhaps. Miles doesn't go out of his way for his social life, but coincidentally he ends up roommates with probably one of the greatest friends he would ever have. Or maybe that's not a coincidence. Perhaps if he HAD ended up roomies with someone else, he would be a different person, creating an alternate parallel universe for himself. But it's a book and that would change everything and ARRGGHH these are the kind of things I think about. Wow, I get off topic easily, don't I? ANYWAY...he is thrust head on into a totally unfamiliar but fantastic group of friends (he is also thrust in this manner into a lake), that causes him to meet Alaska. Alaska: sexy, intelligent, changeable, wild, impulsive and the one thing on Miles's mind after meeting her. Now this is a twist.
I don't think, plot-wise, I should go any further before you will basically be reading the whole book on my blog!
The thing about John Green is that he can make a story with maybe a predictable, not at all BORING but a kind of CALM plot into an utter work of art. I don't know if anyone really notices because he does it so wonderfully discreetly, but he slips in beautiful, elaborate, sometimes even SHAKESPEAREAN words into his writing. I really enjoy this about his work. His plots are so modern and relevant and still he sneaks in these great words that for me create a mature air about his books.
So, obviously, SOMETHING happens that changes everything. The book is split into Before and After. His life as he knows it completely changes. If you have read the book you're probably a) not reading this because you already know what happens and EVERYTHING b) smiling and nodding because you agree with me and John Green is amazing, or c) crying because you're thinking of what happened. If you haven't read it, you probably have NO IDEA what I'm going on about.
Now to be honest, I thought that the AFTER bit was going to be boring. What else is there to write, really? Come on, most books would end on that cliffhanger, but no, there's still, like, 100 pages to read!!! WELL LET ME SAY NOW THAT I'M BLOODY GLAD FOR JOHN GREEN'S AMAZING BRAIN AND HIS DECISION TO WRITE THIS BOOK EXACTLY HOW HE DID. The afterburn was crucial. Because events all have consequences, and whatever was once made will fall apart again. I think we, as readers, needed to feel what they felt, and continue the painful journey that takes place after these things happen right along with them. This book is perfect. John Green is perfect and you should read it because it is perfect because it is not perfect. Sorry for the lack of pictures but if you give a crap about what I'm actually saying then it doesn't matter, right? Oh wow, I have written a heapload of STUFF.