Looking For Alaska – John Green

Looking for AlaskaFirst friend, first girl, last word

Looking For Alaska revolves around Miles Halter, a teenage boy from Florida with a love of people’s last words. Quiz him on any American president, or a multitude of other famous people, and he will be able to tell you their last words.  Miles decides, for his junior year, to explore the ‘Great Perhaps’ (François Rabelais’ last words) and hence enrolls in Culver Creek boarding school, in another state.

Before the ‘Great Perhaps’, Miles lived a rather solitary life in Florida. However with the new school, Miles also gains a roommate, The Colonel, who becomes Miles’ first real friend, teaching him all about the etiquette and pranks of the school.

The Colonel also introduces Miles to Alaska. Alaska Young is a beautiful, mysterious girl who Miles can’t help but fall in love with. Her intelligence, wit and mood swings all add up to make her fascinating to Miles.

Together Miles, The Colonel, Alaska and their other friends make a fantastic prank team, as is tradition within the school. They regularly break school rules – smoking, drinking and sneaking out

Miles has survived, and enjoyed, the majority of the school year – learning a lot, not just in lessons. However, one tragic events changes all of this. He is left to try and recover his happiness and make it through until the end of the academic year.

I loved this book. Miles was a great character – he was so realistic. His opinions and thoughts are all relatable. On the other hand, Alaska annoyed me, but her character was written to be annoying, she was a self absorbed and confusing character.

John Green’s characters are all intelligent which is my favourite part of his books, the characters are not the stereotypical teenagers which are so common place in the media. In my opinion, he has the correct view regarding teenagers, seeing them more intelligent and mature than many other writers. I believe this is an important factor in John Green’s immense popularity.

The plot begins rather slowly, however this allows readers time to begin to understand and relate to the characters which I feel, retrospectively, is an important element of the book.

The story also features important issues which teenagers face and therefore I feel a lot is to be learnt from this book.

As much as I enjoyed the book, I do feel that other John Green novels are better. Although, I would still recommend this book to all.

I now only have Paper Towns of John Green’s books to read, which saddens me as I find his books so enjoyable. I hope he writes many more books to continue my enjoyment.

The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

The Fault in Our StarsI am ashamed to say that this book was sitting on my to-read pile for months, having been told it was a tear jerking book, I couldn’t quite bring myself to read it.

However, I eventually worked up the courage and I am so glad I did. This is my book of the year without a doubt.

The books follows Hazel Lancaster, a teenage girl living with terminal cancer, following her diagnosis her life changed.

She now attends a Cancer Support Group somewhat reluctantly, her only friend in the group Isaac, a teenage boy with cancer in his eye.

However, one week everything changes when Isaac brings along his friend Augustus Waters, known as Gus. Immediately Hazel and Gus grow close and share their thoughts, including Hazel’s favourite book, An Imperial Affliction – which both Hazel and Gus can easily relate to.

However, the book ends suddenly and Hazel is desperate to know what happens to the characters. Henceforth, Gus and Hazel embark on a journey to Amsterdam to meet the author.

This trip allows Hazel and Gus to grow even closer with some shocking truths being revealed…

From the start of the book I thought Hazel was a brilliant character, as it is written in first person readers immediately grow close to the character and in my case, grow to care for her. (I don’t care if she is a “fictional character”). Gus was also instantly likeable, with his humour and quirkiness I often found myself laughing out loud. Both characters had real depth and showed unusual viewpoints, for example their ongoing jokes revolving around”cancer perks”.

John Green writes this book beautifully, his prose allows readers to truly visualise the scenes which further adds to the emotions felt during the book.

With an unexpected twist that with leave all in tears, this book is  the most tear jerking and heart wrenching novel I have ever read, yet I would not hesitate to read it again.

TFIOS has secured it’s place upon my list of favourite book and the plot and characters will stay with me for a long time. It stands out from other books as it is so different, the characters seem so real and the plot line is so realistic coupled with beautiful prose this book will tug at your heartstrings.

Ultimately, I would recommend this book to all and encourage all to read John Green’s other books.

The film adaption is currently being filmed with a release date set for next year which I am awaiting with excitement, hopefully the film will live up to my expectations following the novel.

I cried and I’m sure you will too, so get your hankies ready…