Why I recommend this — 6 years ago
Finding Excellence in “Looking for Alaska”
It has been years since I read a book intended for teens, but this award-winning debut novel has definately lured me back to that forlorn genre.
Our protaginist is “Pudge”, a biography-loving high school student who decides to leave his familiar public school and attend boarding school in a quest for “The Great Perhaps”. There he finds friends, falls in love, takes risks, suffers a tragic loss, and begins to heal. The book is divided into two parts: the first leads up to the climax, and the second is the search for the resolution of that climactic event. Resolution is never achieved, and yet the book feels completely satisfying.
The narrative is comic, endearing, and true to life. Perhaps its most impressive quality is the verisimillitude of the characters’ speech. Green has captured teens’ idioms and sarcasim (as well as hopes, fears, and reactions) exactly as I remember them to be. Accordingly, the novel seems current and relevant.
I wholeheartedly endorse this novel! It would be a great suggestion for either young men or young women. It will certainly inspire young adults to read for pleasure, and would provide a great alternative to the “classics” which are the backbone of standard curriculum.
“Looking for Alaska” is about love, loss, religion, friendship, longing, and tribute. Find a teen you care about, and give him or her this book!