Looking for Alaska by John Green, 2006 by Speak, 231 pages.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and
his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great
Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the
sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, 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, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world,
launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.
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. There is an honesty and a quirkiness that explores both huge themes and minute details.
Pudge, who is obsessed with people's last words, is fed up with his life and goes to boarding school looking for the Great Perhaps. There he meets a whole new group of friends courtesy of his roommate, The Colonel. At the centre of them is Alaska, who is beautiful, smart and messed up.
Pudge is a great character, someone so many teens can probably relate to on some level - looking for meaning in their life, trying to fit in, getting picked on, listless... Alaska, on the other hand, is feeling many of these same things, but goes about finding her answers in a whole different way.
It is hard to say too much about this book without giving away the plot. I can say, though, that Green's writing is beautiful and engaging. He's got such a way with words, and this, along with his unique view of things, makes for great books. Each chapter has a countdown to a specific event, which certainly adds to the intrigue of the book as well as creates some urgency.
I think teens, both boys and girls, will really enjoy this book. These are characters that stay with the reader for long after the book is finished. One thing to note: there is a lot of content that some people may find controversial such as drinking, smoking, and sex.