About the Book

Title: Looking for Alaska
Published: 2005
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Undercover
BFF Charm: Eventually, Yay!, and Nay
Talky Talk: John Green Is King
Bonus Factors: Boarding School, Frankie Landau-Banks Award of Excellence in Disestablishmentarianism
Relationship Status: Whirlwind Romance

Cover Story: Undercover

This book is TOTALLY UNDERCOVER. I would not for a second think this is YA. All that said, it’s not exactly an interesting or particularly fun cover, but you certainly won’t feel ashamed (NOT THAT YOU EVER SHOULD). And that Printz medal definitely says well hey there, I read award winners, I am classy.

The Deal:

Miles Halter finds himself setting out for his junior year at Culver Creek, an elite boarding school in Alabama and his father’s alma mater. He’s leaving behind Florida, his parents and his boring public school life to seek what he refers to as “the great perhaps.” And that might be just what he finds when he meets the perpetually messed up yet irresistible Alaska Young.

BFF Charm: Eventually, Yay!, and Nay

BFF Charm with a sweatband on

This is tough! I like Miles, I really do. But I didn’t warm to him immediately. At his old school, he doesn’t have any real friends and yet he blames everyone else for being boring. And while that may be true, what he doesn’t realize is that he is boring too. He’s smart and nerdy, but not necessarily in the fun way. But I certainly didn’t dislike Miles. Once at Culver Creek, he begins to develop his personality more. He becomes funnier and more interesting. But I think I would wait until college and then Miles and I could be friends. Give him more time to develop his interests, become more mature and (most importantly) figure out how to be friends with girls.

BFF Charm Heck Yes - sparklier and shinier than the original BFF Charm

That said, I would IMMEDIATELY give a charm (and my heart and soul) to Miles roommate, known as The Colonel. I am OBSESSED with The Colonel. He’s a genius, a possible alcoholic, short, stocky, dirt poor and probably a bit insane. But he is the greatest. Just trust. Trust in The Colonel.

BFF Charm that says "denied"

Now Alaska, she definitely won’t be winning any friendship awards from me. There is a reason why she doesn’t really have any female friends – effervescently fun one moment and then a complete moody bitch the next, for seemingly no reason. She’s terribly flaky and she will always, always make you feel like you don’t really know her completely or quite get her.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

There isn’t much romance going around, unless you consider Miles’s unrequited mooning over Alaska. However, this book does get swoon points for KEEPIN’ IT REAL. There are some explicit moments and explicit conversations that accurately reflect real teen dating situations.

Talky Talk: John Green Is King

These characters are so rich and their dialogue and behavior is unnervingly realistic. And then when you realize this was John Green’s first novel…? I bow down. I bow down to John Green because he is obviously either a genius or he went around bugging some prep school teenagers dorm rooms for years. Either way, I’m impressed.

Bonus Factor: Boarding School

Regal old boarding school building with turrets and ivy on the stone walls

Usually I am unimpressed by most fictional (and real) boarding schools, but Culver Creek sounds awesome. Sure, there are your negatives (like the obligatory rich jerk kids, some overzealous rules, etc), but it still comes across as a place I’d love to be – beautiful scenery, located near a lake, wicked smart teachers and students. It’s hard not to be jealous when you went to a 3,000 + public high school prison.

Bonus Factor: Frankie Landau-Banks Award of Excellence in Disestablishmentarianism

Meghan created this award for one of her reviews and IT IS THE BEST BONUS FACTOR, EVS. Any book that has Frankie L-B level pranks is a insta-win for me. The Colonel and Alaska are the brains behind their gangs shenanigans. And you just know Frankie would be proud of Alaska’s final prank – I won’t spoil it for you, but Alaska’s nickname for it was “Subverting the Patriarchal Paradigm”, so you know it’s good.

Casting Call:

I don’t know if you read the part where I talked about The Colonel, so go back and do that right now. Did you? Okay, then can you see why THERE IS NO ONE GOOD ENOUGH TO PLAY THE COLONEL?? He has to be perfect. Perfect! HE IS THE COLONEL. Hollywood fails me at this moment, because they have NO ONE capable of his greatness. Hollywood also DOUBLE failed me because a studio bought the film rights to Looking For Alaska years ago and they have done nothing. Maybe a studio exec read the novel and said Well, we can’t do anything with this right now because no one currently alive at this moment is capable of doing justice to The Colonel. To which I have to respectfully agree.

Relationship Status: Whirlwind Romance

When I first met this book, I was feeling pretty indifferent to it. And then like WHAM it hit me – I was so into this book, I wanted to spend every moment with this book, I was talking crazy things with this book. Then all of a sudden…it was gone. Over. This book only gave me 221 pages and then it bailed on me. But man, while we were in the middle of our obsess-fest, we were on the donkey kong. And luckily, since this was my first John Green book (shame, I know!), I should be able to easily find a few new handsome books by this author to cure my TEABS heartache.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Looking for Alaska is available now.

Megan is an unabashed fangirl who is often in a state of panic about her inability to watch, read and play all the things.