Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Wow! I just really love John Green. I read and reviewed Paper Towns a few weeks ago and I just didn’t think anything could top my love for that book…but this one did! I wholeheartedly, from the bottom of my soul, loved this book. I wanted to hug it, implant it in my brain for forever, prance around in sunflower fields with it, etc. etc. But seriously, this is one of those books that I can feel in my soul and so many things about it resonate with my own teenage experience and my life 7-8 years out from my teenage life.

Looking For Alaska was so hard to put down, not only because of the characters and the humor, but because of the unique structure. Each start to a chapter or a section is a timeline counting down to some unknown event that we are just waiting to happen. You know it has to be earth-shattering or something and that anticipation doesn’t wear at all as we get to know the characters and the setting of their boarding school. The “after” just rendered me a lifeless little rag doll.

I really enjoyed the characters in this one– such a fun group of friends that seemed real — they didn’t always treat each other right but they had each other’s back. They all had their flaws – real flaws..not things that just are made to seem like some flaws but then are all cleared up by the end of the novel. While I think Alaska could be really selfish and impulsive, I really understood her quite a bit. I identified so much with her on so many levels (although I’m not at all that quirky and eclectic) and found myself a deeper connection with this character that I typically come across in YA. I feel as though if you ask some of my high school and college boyfriends, they’d find some similarities in Alaska and I. It’s funny how I connected so much more with her than with the Pudge. I did like him though.

My only gripe? Sometimes I felt like the dialogue was a little too contrived. I didn’t really know anyone who talked like that in high school. I think we all wanted to believe we sounded that mature and poignant but we never did. I mean, I had some pretty “deep” conversations but in my dreams could I spout witty, intelligent things all the time. I think it’s like the same way that I always wanted to emulate the witty banter of Gilmore Girls. I totally imagine that I sound that way. But nonetheless, I loved this book but I just thought that should be noted because it crossed my mind a few times. That aside, I really appreciate that John Green knows and appreciates the fact that teens DO think about the bigger pictures and really do want to seek understanding. Teens can HANDLE the stuff he presents and he treats them as competent individuals who can handle the message and the deeper thought in his books.

My final thought: It’s hard to really put all the raw feelings and emotions that this book unearthed from within me. I know that sounds dramatic but it was one of THOSE kind of experiences for me. John Green does it again with memorable characters whom I swear have a real & audible heartbeat, the kind of thought-provoking life questions that keep me up at night and the kind of humor that makes me giggle. Oh and did I mention that I cried a lot at different points but especially when I realized what the answer was to their little “investigation” before they did. I understood that all too well.

Warnings: It IS a more mature YA read — drugs, sex talk, cursing. Just so you know. If that sort of stuff bothers you or if you are of a very young age, you might want to skip this one for now.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Ria- The Beaucoup Review. says:

    This has been on my Wishlist for a while. I loved Paper Towns, John Green's writing is so flawless. Based on your review, I'll need to read this ASAP!

  2. I love love love John Green books! I've read all of his (except Will Grayson, Will Grayson) but I think my favorite of his is The Fault in Our Stars. Love Looking for Alaska as well though!


  3. This was the first John Green book I ever read, and I've been meaning to read more of his stuff. I loved this book, it was so full of emotion!

  4. Your review makes me want to reread Looking for Alaska all over again. <3

  5. Yaaaaaay! 😀 Glad you loved it!

    I didn't connect with this one as much as I did with Paper Towns, but I really enjoyed the darker side of this one.

    ..And the hurricane quote just makes me swoon. 😛

  6. Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) says:


    I love John Green so much, but that is no secret to ANYBODY. I'm so glad you loved this. I remember sitting down to read it, fairly late at night, and that was pretty much a disaster. Because I got to THE EVENT a little after midnight and then had to stay up to finish reading. Basically I stayed up all night with this one.

    I agree with everything you said. John Green nails the experience of being young. Why? I wonder. Maybe because he's still an immature dude himself, he and his brother? I don't really know. But he GETS it and I love that about him SO HARD. And as I've said before, I love that I read this book as an adult, as a person not in the target audience, because my perspective is different from the target audience. Still, it is one of my alltime favorites forever.

    "The "after" just rendered me a lifeless little rag doll." —> THIS is pretty much the reason it isn't my #1 favorite JG…I just love the slightly less emotionalness of Paper Towns so that eeked out for #1 favorite for me. But honestly, JG could write in another language on the sidewalks on the world for the rest of his life, and I'd probably travel wherever to see whatever he writes. I love him THAT MUCH.

    SO SO SO glad you loved this one. It's so worthy of everyone's love.

  7. I think the whole unbelievability of the dialogue is what led me to give The Fault in Our Stars 4 stars instead of 5. I love John Green with all my heart, but hello, I'm a teenager. I don't talk that way. And I think of myself as smart.

  8. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue says:

    Wow! I have been meaning to get into his novels for a long time and I recently bought The Fault in Our Stars. I am hoping to read it next month. All Green's books sound so emotional! And I really love those books that you don't just read – you experience. The way you talk about this one makes it sound like that sort of book!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  9. Farrah Penn says:

    oh man. if you liked this one you'll LOVE the fault in our stars. 😀 this book just knew how to hit me. Oh John Green *bows down*

  10. I heart John Green. He is truly amazing. Have you read The Fault in Our Stars yet? Every book that he's written is amazing, but this one somehow transcends all of the rest. Keep Kleenex handy though — and don't read the last 1/3 in public. Unless public sobfests are your thing 😉

    I've given you the Stylish Blogger Award ( Your blog is one of the first blogs I ever started reading, and one of my favourites!

  11. I really need to pick up some John Green.. I think I say that on every post you mention him on. lol. I've been thinking of maybe the fault in our stars being my first choice.. just because I have read so many things about that one specifically lately.. So when you see me on Saturday, be sure to shove that book in my hands so I buy it. lol

    I can see what you mean by the dialogue maybe bothering you a bit.. I know for sure my group of friends did not talk, nor act maturely in HS, so I'm not sure I'll completely buy the smart talk..

  12. Ohhhh myyyyy, I have the EXACT same thoughts about the dialogue & Gilmore Girls and all that jazz. I sometimes think of comparable witty sayings… three weeks AFTER the conversation ;)) However, it makes for great, if slightly frustrating, stories!


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