Looking for Alaska by John Green

I am reposting my 2012 review because the audiobook is today’s Audible Deal of the day and on sale (no membership required) for $2.95 today only.
Looking for Alaska

Summary: John Green’s first coming of age novel.  A high school student goes away to boarding school in Alabama and tries to find his place in the world.

I am on a John Green kick.  This is the third book in three weeks.  There is only The Fault of Our Stars until I have read all of his books. (The Fault of our Stars is on a lot of people’s best book or best teen book of 2012 lists.  There are also two more books that Green has either co-written or contributed to.)

All of Green’s books are in one way or another coming of age books.  This one is no different.  Miles leaves his home and the school where he does not really have any friends to go away to boarding school at the beginning of his junior year of high school.

As is normal, Miles ends up being best friends with his roommate and his roommates friends.  As they move through the year one event ends up dominating the year.  The whole books either counts down to it, or moves on from it.  I will not spoil the event, but I did not see it coming until it was almost there.  (I am gifted with an inability to predict what is going to happen in books.  I think that is a good feature, but my wife is always amazed I didn’t see things coming).

If you have read John Green before this feels like his other books. Miles, the main character, is basically a good, albeit quirky kid. Miles’ thing is people’s last words before they die. So he memorizes people’s last words in a very similar way that his roommate memorized geography facts.

The other characters are quirky, slightly broken, and funny. I was a bit disturbed by some of the content of this book. While there has always been language, drinking and sex in Green’s books.  Mostly the sex has been off screen and the language and drinking has been moderate. The drinking in this book is near alcoholic levels and most of the characters are addicted to smoking. And while there is really only one ‘sex scene’ it is enough that I would restrict the reading to older teens.

The pranks of the other books seemed much more tame than the pranks of this book. So even though the characters are younger than the other two books of Green’s I have read, I would say the characters feel older and harder.

Again, this is a book about finding meaning in life. This time there is overt discussion of religious matters. One of the classes at the school is a comparative religions class and so religious meaning is much more front and center than the other books I have read by John Green. I wish there was at least one character that was overtly religious. Instead all of the characters have grown up without religious education.  So their comparative religions class feels a bit more like a literature class. I think that was a missed opportunity.

This is not my favorite of Green’s books. It is still good. I am still glad I read it. But Abundance of Katherines is still my favorite (although now that I have read A Fault in Our Stars, it is definitely the best.)

Looking for Alaska Purchase Links: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle Edition, Audible.com Audiobook

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