Book Review // Looking for Alaska

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
I have been a member of GoodReads for a few years now.  If you don't know what Goodreads is and you're an avid reader, I definitely recommend you check it out (and friend me!).  One of my favorite things about Goodreads is the yearly reading challenge.  Each year Goodreads users get to set a goal of how many books they would like to read in the coming year.  Some of my friends set theirs as high as 100 books!  When I set mine, I knew I had to be more realistic.  I love to read, but I'm finishing up grad school and looking for a new job and don't always have the time to finish a ton of books.  I set a respectable goal of 26 books, which is roughly two books every month.  So far I'm about one book behind, but I'm making better progress than I did on my goal last year.

In an effort to stay motivated to read, I thought I would share quick SPOILER FREE reviews of the books that I'm reading.

First of all, I think I love John Green.  He gave the commencement speech at C's sister's graduation and ever since I heard him talk, I knew that he was important.  I read The Fault in Our Stars over Christmas break and, while John Green basically ripped my heart out and stomped on it, I needed to read more of his amazing words.  I think it was C's sister who suggested Looking for Alaska as my next foray into Green's world and, I must say, it did not disappoint.


The book takes place not in Indiana, like TFIOS, but in Alabama and follows the story of a young, misfit kid trying to fit in at a new boarding school.  He is dealing with all of the things that teenagers have to deal with: girls, homework, existential debates, and epic pranking wars.  Green builds a world that I would have loved to grow up in - a boarding school that sounds just like my college where classes were tough, but friendships were strong.  Green's characters come to life and seem like people I did grow up with.  The Colonel, Pudge, the Fox, etc.  Everyone has a nickname and everyone has a story to tell.

I love Green's ability to make the trivial conversations of angsty teenagers into so much more.  I wish that Green had been around when I was a teenager because the thoughts running through the minds of these kids mimic so clearly the thoughts I had ten years ago.  Thoughts about being self-conscious, wondering about the future, worrying about school, wanting to be cool...the list goes on and on.  I loved this book, the writing, and the chance to watch friendships bloom and grow strong.

I don't want to lull you into a false sense of security, however.  You will probably need tissues for this one, too.  I know I did.

Ultimately, this was such a good read.  It wasn't the same as TFIOS, but I wouldn't have wanted it to be.  This one was different, but had the same teenage snark and wit that I loved and read a lot faster.  I would definitely recommend it, provided you enjoy Green's other works.

Have you read Looking for Alaska?  I'd love to chat with someone about it!  Shoot me an email (equalpartsofawhole@gmail.com) if you're up for a chat, or if you've got any book recommendations.
3 comments on "Book Review // Looking for Alaska"
  1. I love this idea of doing (spoiler free :D) book reviews! I can't wait to read more. And you are making me want to read this book. I just went to the library last night and spent, uh, so much time there that Eric got home before me (2 hours later than normal...) and was like "where are you?! are you ok?!" ha! oops!! Right now I'm on a travel guide kick (for some reason I don't think that will be a surprise to you) since we have a bunch of trips coming up, but I want to get back into reading fiction for fun again. I am still kind of getting over having to read so much (non fun) stuff for school. I can't wait to see what other books you are reading!

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    1. I know what you mean! I could spend hours in the library. Another Goodreads perk, the iPhone app comes with a barcode scanner, so it's super easy to add books to your lists just by scanning them!

      I'd love a travel book recommendation! Not sure I've ever really given the genre a fair chance.

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    2. Well actually my favorite book ever, which super influenced me in my formative years and is probably why I dig road trips and random stops along them, is Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon. It's not a travel guide but is (I think) a fantastic piece of travel writing. As far as actual guides go, I haven't found anything awesome yet. Steeplecase got me "Off the Beaten Path -- North Carolina" when I moved there and it was pretty good/useful. Eric's parents got me "Road Trip USA" when I graduated from DPU and we have used it on almost every road trip, but it's getting a little outdated at this point, and it's only useful if we are traveling near/on the routes they have outlined there. The internet is winning as the best resource for pre-planning trips but I don't have a favorite true guide site (roadtripsusa.com and Atlas Obscura are some mainstays though). My problem with reading travel books or guides is that I immediately want to do ALL THE THINGS and see ALL THE PLACES and LET'S GO RIGHT NOW :)

      I will definitely need to check out Goodreads! I love when apps can scan barcodes...makes things so much easier.

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