“Looking for Alaska” by John Green: Is it Worth the Read?


Image: Looking for Alaska book cover

Sydney Williams , Opinions Editor

“How will we ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering? -A. Y.’’ A question that the author John Green has his audience asking themselves through the entirety of his young adult novel, “Looking for Alaska.”  

The novel had me scratching my brain trying to figure out Alaska’s ambiguous personality and use of pretentious metaphors. I enjoy reading books that have a good easy message to read, but upon looking deeper, a more meaningful message is revealed. This book did just that. The short 221-page book was amazingly fast paced, and the ending is left up to the audience’s interpretations. I thought that reading from Miles, the protagonists, point of view was very enjoyable, and the audience was able to start to understand who Alaska was at the climax of the book.  

John Green’s novel follows Pudge, a high school student who just moved from Florida to attend a boarding school in Alabama. Along with his group of new friends throughout their difficult junior year of high school. The group of friends: Pudge, Colonel, Alaska, and Takumi, are faced with many deep topics that a lot of highschoolers must deal with.  

The novel has many dark themes like death, and the meaning of life. Pudge has a fascination for knowing famous people’s last words. This unusual interest is what drew in Pudge’s new friends at his new school. From the beginning of the book, Pudge expresses that he is looking for his “great perhaps.” This is later explained as finding his meaning of life.  

Although Alaska’s part in the book is short, her character left a lasting impact on me and how I now view the world. Alaska was somehow both optimistic and pessimistic at the same time. She shared her stories with her friends and that made me feel close to her. She was able to romanticize her life so easily and enjoyed looking to the future, even though she didn’t see the point of her life. From an early age, Alaska was able to be her own person, and she was, and I admire that. 

John Green uses many quotes in this novel that are still flooding my brain. His writing was beautiful and there were many times when reading that I had to close the book and take a deep breath. One of my favorite quotes written was on page 220, “When adults say, ‘teenagers think they are invincible’ with that sly, stupid smile on their face, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are.” 

Many people on Goodreads have praised this book, giving it a rating of four out of five stars. One Goodreads reviewer giving the book five stars said “This is what I call an amazing book. It was nothing less than I expected John Green to write.” 

Critics seemed to think that John greens novel “the Fault in Our stars” was better written than “Looking for Alaska.” Some reviewers on Goodreads agreed with the critics, and it seems that readers that read “the Fault in Our Stars” first, liked “Looking for Alaska” less.  

This book has become one of my favorites and reminds me of a modern-day classic. Since reading this book, I have recommended it to many of my close friends, all of which have said they loved the book as much as I did. “Looking for Alaska” is a novel that everyone should read at least once in their life.