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Welcome to Paula and Sarina's Book Blog! Avid readers, hard core fan girls of fictional literary male characters, proud library captains. We started this blog because of our love for reading YA novels and decided to share our thoughts on the books we read. We hope you enjoy our blog and contact us if you have any questions :)


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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Title: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Date Published: March 3, 2005
Grade: A

Goodreads Summary: Before. 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.

Review: This book had been on my too-read shelf on Goodreads for many, many months now, and after reading so many reviews about it, I decided to finally pick it up and read it myself. It was truly an amazing, inspiring, and heartbreaking read, however, because I recently read John Green`s newly acclaimed novel The Fault in Our Stars (which I found AH-MAY-ZING), I put a lot of pressure on Looking for Alaska and my expectations of it were extremely high. Even though I was trying to refrain myself from doing so, it still felt as if I were comparing the two books; the characters, the storyline... It`s not like I was disappointed by the book, it still left me applauding Green thinking "Whoa. He has done it again, that talented talented man", it just didn't seem to pull me in as much as The Fault in Our Stars was able to. This being said, I think it is still a very special, captivating, book that shows us the power words on paper can hold. While most YA novels I have read lately contain themes such as the stereotypical teenage romance, this novel brilliantly tackles the ideas of belonging and finding a greater meaning in life.

The first thing I noticed right when I began reading was the fact that there were no chapters, instead, there are days counting down leading to an event. The book is divided in two parts, "Before" and "After". The structural purpose of doing this is pretty obvious once you read the sections, but I think there's a deeper meaning to it, something related to Pudge's coming of age and growth. I'll let you guys figure it out for yourselves.

Although I couldn't seem to relate to the characters very much, I enjoyed reading about them and found myself fascinated by their quirks, and their flaws seemed to make the characters more real to me. For example, Miles, also known as Pudge, memorizes last words and his roommate the Colonel is pretty much an almanac who knows all the countries in the world, and their capitals. And then there's Alaska. I'm not even going to try and explain her character because, well, I can't. She's one of the most dynamic characters I have ever met, and although she annoyed me the half of the time- with her mood swings and Jake, her boyfriend, she is also the reason why this book is so stunning. That's all I can really say about her character because I think it's hugely important for readers to experience her as they read.

Personally, I thought it was really interesting reading the book from a boy's perspective- It was adorable being inside the mind of Pudge as he fell for Alaska. Like I would be reading along and suddenly, a really beautiful, deep thought would pop into his head. My all time favourite quote, which is probably really overused and you've all seen it a million times on Tumblr, happens as Pudge stares at a sleeping Alaska, wanting so badly to warp his arms around her, "But I lacked courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunch, thinking if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane". *Sigggghs*. The only part of the storyline that I didn't like all that much, was how one-sided the romance was. I mean, after reading all about Gus and Hazel's unrequited love, it was sort of hard not having those adorable moments of two people hopelessly fallen for each other. Pudge and Alaska both seemed to always hold back their feelings (yeah, yeah she had a boyfriend... but still.) towards each other- whenever I sensed a romantic, cute scene about to happen, I was left sort of disappointed because one of them would fall asleep, or get angry, or leave. I guess that's just the romance craving reader inside of me.

I think this novel is one filled with raw emotion and power and I am really glad to have finally read it. Although heartbreaking, it wasn't *let me cry on my bed for hours with a box of tissues I hate the world* heartbreak, it was more of a satisfying *the world goes on and people go on and we just gotta appreciate what we have* heartbreak, as cheesy at that is. Looking for Alaska was beautiful and brilliant and touching and stunning all at the same time. Instead of the normal fairy tale ending most YA novels have, the ending of this novel will leave you with a much more powerful sense of love. 

Thanks for reading!

Paula :)