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Saturday, January 21, 2012

John Green~Why We Love Him & "Looking For Alaska" for Instance

Published by:  Penguin
Pages:  256
Genre:  Young adult fiction
Authors website:  http://www.johngreenbooks.com/

Cover Rating:
Not much to this cover.  Plain and simple, a candle is snuffed out telling us that there is something here having to do with the occult or a ritual, perhaps?  The title is vague...does it mean looking for the state of Alaska?  This is clearly a contemporary cover, edgy.  I don't care for the balance of the "a novel" which is very small, juxtaposed with the title in the red block.  The author's name is all important.  The prize seal tells us this is a significant, good read.   I get that this is a simple, straight-forward novel.  Rating:  C

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter's whole life has been one big non-event. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-butboring 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 pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into a new life, and steals his heart. After. Nothing is ever the same. The Printz Award—winning modern classic is now available in the successful Premium Edition format with a bonus reading guide and a letter from John Green.
Winner of the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award  

In which the author, John Green, reads an excerpt from his book:

The Dame's Thoughts:
I hardly feel capable of commenting on the great John Green.  Such a simple name for a rather simple man from Indianapolis, Indiana, who is self-effacing and brilliant in telling the brazen truths of teen aged angst and missteps.  He is certainly the Pied Piper of these times, and has been touted as the "Catcher in the Rye," Salinger with his insights into the psyche of the slightly demented minds of high schoolers.  I find him to be a master at telling the real truth of circumstances and highlighting the bare bones of kids just as they are.  It is this very gift of telling it like it is without frills that makes us love his work.  It makes all he says relatable to young and old because people don't change; we all have the same passages into adulthood and John Green knows how to target those passages better and with less complication than anyone I've ever read.

Green's characters Pudge and the Colonel, the two main protagonists in a prep school for rich kids, are central in his story about running the gauntlet of growing up isolated from the parental constraints and the confinements of proper supervision.  Pudge is exposed for the first time to a freedom he hasn't experienced before, and his naivete'  astounds the Colonel such that he becomes the Colonel's protege' in the madness of the school's rough and tumble hazing and tortures.  Out of control, acting out behaviors; smoking, drinking, sex and dangerous exploits cast their shadows on the kids at school, causing them to grow up fast, and to become victims of their own warped decisions.

Among the kids in the crowd of Pudge and the Colonel's group is a beautiful girl named Alaska.  She is the central figure who is adored by both Pudge and his arch enemy.  Alaska comes from a family background shrouded in neglect and oddity, and her less than preppie behaviors make her a stand-out in their world.  It is her decision to act out with a violent act that creates the dire impact that causes the boys; and Pudge in particular, to evaluate their place in the world, and to decide how they will make sense of their "labyrinth" of life in a world of grief.

Simply written, hugely significant in its message, a short novel that preppies in particular will relate to with laughter and head nodding, John Green's "Looking For Alaska" will change the way people look at themselves and others in their solitary lives.

I loved this book, and I have bought all of Mr. Green's novel subsequent to reading this one!  Read this novel, or be left behind in the wave of what's happening in today's literary world!

Green writes books for young adults, but his voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. He writes for youth, rather than to them, and the difference is palpable.
NPR Review of tfios

His new book is:   "The Fault in Our Stars"  available wherever books are sold.

5 stars




I have quite a few John Green books and haven't read a single one. After reading your review, I want to sit down with one of them right now.

Teresa Cypher

Wonderful review. I confess. I come here to read your reviews for the beautiful and thorough way you approach them. You have such a voice, Deb. Do you write?

And, I mentioned you in an award on my blog. Please do not feel obligated to go through the process. I just wanted you to know you had a mention--and if it drives a little traffic to any of your delightful blogs, then great :-)!

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