Monday, 28 April 2014

Looking For Alaska by John Green Book Review

Ayee this is the review I wrote for Looking For Alaska about one and a half years ago. Quite a long time, yeah, and it's an example of one of the worst reviews you'd find. But whatever. Might as well check it out if you want to have a good eyebrow-raising YA review.

Great cover, isn't it?

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. 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.

So guys, I just finished this book called Looking For Alaska by Mr John “mysterious girls lover” Green. Then straight to what I’ve got to say, I like the book. A lot but not quite that lot. Maybe because it’s my first (one of the first) time reading a full young adult book. Usually it’s something like Harry Potter or Chronicles of Narnia or self-help book and Agatha Christie’s mystery.

I think the version of the cover I have is the best, considering it has cool taglines, and the daisy Alaska doodled. And it’s black and realy tumblr-ish, so I felt really thankful. Tumblr girls thank quite much.

Urn, when I started out reading this book I think I didn’t have a lot of expectations. Cool taglines ended up making you disapointed. Remember Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix movie tagline? “The Rebellion Begins” or something like that. Turned out it was the worst Harry Potter adaption ever. Seriously, where is the rebellion? Even my heart pounded harder when I read the book half-sleeping than when I watched the movie with giant sound system in theathre. Sad reality.

Back to the book. When you start reading the book, you’ll meet Miles Halter, that (from what I’ve read in the book) gawky, geek boy who moved from his old public school to Culver Creek where he met Chip Martin, Takumi Hikohito, and a young lady called Alaska Young. Together they set off a journey of life in mischievousness of teenager and Miles had the time of his life with new friends, pulling pranks,  good-looking Romanian girls, and so on.

I like the characters, but because this book is about Miles and Alaska (more precisely about how Miles sees Alaska, and his feeling about Alaska), and because I already told you about Miles, so we’ll talk about Alaska.

Alaska Young. Hot, pretty, funny, impulsive, smart, a rebel, bright, loves to read, kinda poetic, a little hormonal, sometimes a “selfish bitch” (as what Chip ‘The Colonel’ Martin said), smokes Marlboro Light, drink Mountain Dew, has a boyfriend called Jake, and a little mysterious. Yep, don’t forget the mysterious term because everyone seems to like mysterious girls nowadays.

But Alaska’s mysterious side was not the kind of mysterious I thought before I read the book. She’s not that mysterious. I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t pleased either. I found her likeable enough. But through the time and as I finished the book, I realized that the whole time I was just wondering where is her mysterious side and the reason why without really enjoying the way she is. In fact, I’m struggling to love Alaska and her uniqueness. It’s totally different than when I read about The Colonel and felt sympathic without any cause. I just like The Colonel for no reason, or I don’t know the reason, or I don’t even care to find the reason. But in Alaska’s case, I do like her. She’s likeable as I said earlier. But to like her more or love her character, I had to find reasons. The only reason I found was she’s different, unique, and all that. But her mysteriousness is like blurred line between white and blue, until I grew tired and gave up on just ‘like’, while what I need was a heroine.

Alaska is questionable. But it felt like she’s like that because John Green made her to be unreachable and ‘far’, and not because the trailing puzzles she left. I understand Pudge’s (that’s what they called Miles) feeling, and maybe Harry Potter too. They kinda in the same position. They thought they knew someone they don’t really know, and when the person left, all they felt is regret. Regret for not knowing more and asking more, for not being trusted enough, and for feeling being cared for. The differences are, Dumbledore cared more about Harry while Alaska cared more about herself. And while they both unreachable, Dumbledore got reasons and Alaska didn’t, because she was simply made to be unreachable. That made Dumbledore visible and bright as sunlight while Alaska fading like grey shadows. POOF. Gone. Nowhere to be found. It felt like she was close enough to be grabbed but then disappeared like smokes from her cigarettes. (But I’m glad Pudge finally found answers of his questions. I counted that as a happy ending).

Till now I’m still wondering if Alaska really cared about Pudge, and Pudge means something for Alaska, or she just do what she wants to do and Pudge just a guy who happenned to be there. Also, I don’t understand what makes Alaska date Jake, or anybody else. I always thought from the start that a girl like Alaska can’t have a boyfriend, never love, or cannot love anymore. She just hooks up. Like touch and go type. This book is the proof that I’m wrong, but it still feels weird. Maybe if Alaska doesn’t have a boyfriend, it would make more sense with her personality. (I really don’t know if Alaska cared about anyone else. That’s what makes her mysterious. I’m just not feeling it).

I do like how the book made me feel. When they pull pranks I could almost hear drums beating as if it was real. The rebellion was clear, and most important, real. When I first read it, I got a little bit shocked. Cause I didn’t know that Young Adult books contains adult contents before. But hey, first times are always shocking. There were some sad parts, but they didn’t make me cry at all, surprisingly.

The way John Green tells the story is easy, simple. Almost like the words were blurted out. 

Through half end of the book I pitied Lara, that good-looking Romanian girl. I was kinda being Mr. Hyde’s secret admirer (because he’s just well, funny on his own way and genius), and I found Takumi a little mysterious too. So, lots to say.

This book is light, but weight in some ways around. It made me think and I like it. About death, forgiveness, suffering, life. I’m attracted by that sentence: “Labyrinth of suffering”. And new vocabs too. Now I have to find the meaning of ‘reek’ and ‘deadpanned’. Also got a lot of cool books title here. Guess have to check some of them sometimes. And the quotes, beautiful.

My next target is Paper Towns. Also by John Green. People said it is a lot like Looking For Alaska, and it might be disappointing. I don’t like being disappointed, so I’ll skip John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson, The Fault in Our Stars, and that other book I forgot the title, to read what might disappointing first and then straight to the good part.


Memorable quotes:

-“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.” 

-“Thomas Edison's last words were 'It's very beautiful over there'. I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful.” 

-“I may die young, but at least I'll die smart.”

-“And then something invisible snapped insider her, and that which had come together commenced to fall apart.” 

-“There comes a time when we realize that our parents cannot save themselves or save us, that everyone who wades through time eventually gets dragged out to sea by the undertow- that, in short, we are all going.” 

Similar books that I'd like to read:

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes (another John, LOL).
The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty (I hate the cover, but I like the idea of the story).

A tribute to Alaska's habit of smoking Marlboro Lights and her understandable love for white flowers

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