John Green’s debut novel, Looking for Alaska, is an exciting book that will make you laugh out loud but also weep and feel grief just as the characters. The novel is set at Culver Creek, a boarding school in humid Alabama. It is by choice that the protagonist, Miles “Pudge” Halter, attends this boarding school so far away from his home in Florida. Miles is in search of his “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) and is hoping to find it somewhere at Culver Creek where he will be entering as a junior. What Miles finds is so much more. Miles is introduced to his roommates beautiful, fun, and carefree best friend Alaska Young and is immediately captivated by her and her actions. The novel follows Miles through his year at Culver Creek with his two friends, the Colonel and Takumi and explores his growing attachment to Alaska Young.
This novel portrays the mischief and young love that is associated with teenage years in an authentic way that allows many teens to easily relate to the text. I particularly enjoyed Looking for Alaska because I, too, attend a boarding school as a junior. It seemed that Miles and I had a lot of similarities, and this made me become attached to him as a character. I was on the edge of my seat reading this novel; I could simply not put it down. The realistic elements of teenage life at boarding school, or just teenage life in general, were so raw and full of emotion; Green did not leave out any of the harsh details of young adulthood and love in this novel.
John Green was awarded the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award for his enthralling novel Looking for Alaska. His novel is taught in many high school and college classrooms across the country and also has been published in more than fifteen languages.