New York Times bestselling author John Green is the present standard of modern young adult fiction. While he arguably may be best known for his most recent book — The Fault In Our Stars — it is his debut novel, Looking for Alaska, that reigns supreme over Green’s paperback empire.
Looking for Alaska is the fictional narrative of Miles “Pudge” Halter, as told by him. A Floridian schoolboy, the reader is introduced to Halter as he is preparing to transfer to an Alabama boarding school. Leaving behind a monotonous social life, Halter cites his hunger for seeking a “Great Perhaps” as his reasoning for the change. Obsessed with last words — those spoken by famous people before their last breath — it is the final declaration of François Rabelais that leads Halter to Culver Creek, an Alabama preparatory school his father once attended.
It is at Culver Creek where the reader meets several of the novel’s key characters, though none more dynamic than Alaska Young.
Although she is alluring, intrepid, and tragically unpredictable, Halter falls in love with Young at first glance. But so does the reader. Via methodical character development, the author seduces the reader into plunging head over heels for Young — making the reader one with the narrator. Both with their friends, and without, Halter and Young build a bond over time that is seemingly unbreakable.
Executing one of the most flawless literary climaxes of Generation Y, without warning, Looking for Alaska sucks the life out of the reader. I had to put the book down for three days, as a result. That is the genius of John Green.