Alaska Young, author, book review, books, classroom library, Education, English Teachers, John Green, Life, Literature, Looking for Alaska, Pudge, reading, school, SSR, students, teacher, teaching, The Fault In Our Stars
Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
(Story synopsis from goodreads.com)
Originally I had started reading Looking for Alaska back in July. At the time I believed that I would have enough time to read this novel as I also was reading the books that I needed to learn for the new classes that I would be teaching this school year. That was only partially true…I was able to get some pleasure reading in throughout the summer, but unfortunately Looking for Alaska was not one of those novels. At the time I had also just recently read The Fault In Our Stars, which as we all know was a huge sensation this past summer and I was expecting to fall in love with John Green‘s other novel as quickly as I did the first. Again, this was not to be, so I set the book to the side for a little while.
Then, this fall I picked it back up again during SSR (Silent Sustained Reading) with my students, which we have every Wednesday. I felt that this gave me a great opportunity to read a book for pleasure while setting a great reading example for my students. (This is also a book that is available to them in our classroom library.)
I will be honest though, it took me a little while to get “into” the book. The story is told from the perspective of a young, awkward teenage boy. This is obviously a much different perspective than I am used to (other than the Harry Potter novels, but a much different time and character) and also the format is much like a journal. With the format of this, we get information from “Pudge” as “Pudge” learns it and as he adapts to his new school and surroundings. It took me some time to get used to “Pudge” and to even start to like him, but the more I stuck with the book, the more I came to love “Pudge” and his delinquent friends. I grew to understand their struggles in their high-school world and even understood the pranks that they pulled. Those pranks especially provided great entertainment to me as a reader.
I also found it interesting that the book is divided into two different parts…the before and the after. I won’t tell you before and after what because I don’t want to spoil the story for you, but I will tell you that it all makes sense. Additionally, I really liked the inclusion of the teachings of the “Old Man” as they somewhat parallel what I have been teaching in my World Lit classes this semester (fun coincidence!).
I would highly recommend Looking for Alaska to anyone who is interested in YA Lit. I will be honest and say that I absolutely love John Green and his writing, but this is not the same as The Fault In Our Stars (which is absolutely a good thing, but it was hard for me to transition between the two). I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Green’s books (maybe over Winter Break?).
Happy Reading, and as always…please feel free to mention any titles you’ve read lately and have enjoyed!