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The award-winning, genre-defining debut from #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist New York Times bestseller First drink First prank First friend First girl Last words Miles "Pudge" Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps." Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally. John Green's stunning debut marks the arrival of a stand-out new voice in young adult fiction.
Winner of the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award
About The Author John Green is an award-winning, #1 New York TimesÂ–bestselling author whose many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. He has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (www.youtube.com/user/vlogbrothers), one of the most popular online video projects in the world. You can join John's 1.4 million followers on Twitter (@realjohngreen), follow him on tumblr (fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com) or visit him online at www.johngreenbooks.com. Before all of that, in 2000, John worked for several months as a student chaplain at a children's hospital. He now lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Reviews From Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers A deeply affecting coming-of-age story, Looking for Alaska traces the journey of Miles Halter, a misfit Florida teenager who leaves the safety of home for a boarding school in Alabama and a chance to explore the "Great Perhaps." Debut novelist and NPR commentator Green perfectly captures the intensity of feeling and despair that defines adolescence in this hip, shocking, and emotionally charged work of fiction. Miles has a quirky interest in famous people's last words, especially FranÃ§ois Rabelais's final statement, "I go to seek a Great Perhaps." Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parents to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip -- commonly known as the Colonel -- who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore. The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. But as the story hurtles toward its shattering climax, chapter headings like "forty-six days before" and "the last day" portend a tragic event -- one that will change Miles forever and lead him to new conclusions about the value of his cherished "Great Perhaps." (Summer 2005 Selection) Publishers Weekly
Teenager Miles chronicles his first year at boarding school. According to PW, "The novel's chief appeal lies in Miles's well-articulated lust (for Alaska, the title girl) and his initial excitement about being on his own for the first time." Ages 14-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information. Children's Literature
This is an amazing first novel by a writer who is young enough to vividly remember his poignant years of high school and skillful enough to turn his memories into story. His sixteen-year-old hero is Miles Halter (or Pudge as he is latter dubbed by friends). Miles is a friendless geek who is determined to reinvent himself when he leaves home for an Alabama boarding school. Green quickly establishes the reality of his unique character and immediately hooks teen audiences by describing his desire to fit in, his passion for collecting the last words of the famous, and his desire for sex and fun. The other characters are equally appealing, and young adult readers will understand why it takes no time at all for Miles to become a smoking, drinking prankster who cavorts around with his zany roommate, "the Colonel" and the wild, beautiful, eccentric, sexually-liberated Alaska Young. Believable, oftenhumorous dialogue and strong feelings fill the story of a young boy who is far greater than a collection of
adolescent impulses. Miles is driven to understand what Rabelais calls "Great Perhaps" as well as what motivates the unfathomable Alaska. His urges for sex are balanced by his need to grasp life's mystery, especially when tragedy interrupts what looked like a romp of a first year away from home. The story is rough, realistic and compelling. Unlike the other award-winning books, this title has characterizations that connect, conversations that ring true, references to inspire further reading, and theological and philosophical truths that speak to young adults and leave them with questions that haunt them. 2005, Penguin, Ages 13 up. -Susie Wilde School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up From the very first page, tension fills John Green's Michael L. Printz Award-winning novel (Dutton, 2005). Miles Halter, 16, is afraid that nobody will show up at his party because he doesn't have many friends. He loves to read biographies and discover the last words attributed to famous people. He's particularly intrigued with the dying words of poet Francois Rabelais: "I go to seek a great perhaps." Miles is leaving his loving Florida home for the "great perhaps" of the same Alabama boarding school attended by his father. Ominous chapter headings (40 days before, 10 days after) reveal that something tragic may happen. At school, Miles is accepted by a brainy group of pranksters led by his roommate and Alaska Young, a smart and sexy feminist. The teen becomes captivated by his new friends who spend as much energy on sex, smoking, drinking, and cutting-up as they do on reading, learning, and searching for life's meaning. As the school year progresses, Miles's crush on Alaska intensifies, even after it becomes evident that her troubled past sometimes causes her to be self-destructive. This novel is about real kids dealing with the pressures of growing up and feeling indestructible. Listeners will be riveted as the friends band together to deal with the catastrophic events that plague their junior year, and rejoice at their triumphs. Jeff Woodman clearly delineates the voices for each character in an age-appropriate, smart-alecky manner, injecting great emotion while managing not to be overly sentimental. This story belongs in all collections for older young adults, especially those who like Chris Crutcher, David Klass, and Terry Trueman. -JoAnn CarhartCopyright 2006 ReedBusiness Information. Kirkus Reviews
The Alaska of the title is a maddening, fascinating, vivid girl seen through the eyes of Pudge (Miles only to his parents), who meets Alaska at boarding school in Alabama. Pudge is a skinny ("irony" says his roommate, the Colonel, of the nickname) thoughtful kid who collects and memorizes famous people's last words. The Colonel, Takumi, Alaska and a Romanian girl named Lara are an utterly real gaggle of young persons, full of false starts, school pranks, moments of genuine exhilaration in learning and rather too many cigarettes and cheap bottles of wine. Their engine and center is Alaska, given to moodiness and crying jags but also full of spirit and energy, owner of a roomful of books she says she's going to spend her life reading. Her center is a woeful family tragedy, and when Alaska herself is lost, her friends find their own ways out of the labyrinth, in part by pulling a last, hilarious school prank in her name. What sings and soars in this gorgeously told tale is Green's mastery of language and the sweet, rough edges of Pudge's voice. Girls will cry and boys will find love, lust, loss and longing in Alaska's vanilla-and-cigarettes scent. (Fiction. YA)
When reading this book i laughed, became angried, and cried. This book is so gut wrenching that you can't put down the book. Looking for Alaska is a quick read and a good one too. The mysterious Before and After is quite ingenious if you ask me. I felt as though i knew something was going to happen but until that point it never really struck me. The quote "How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?" plays a huge part through out the book. This book is very relatable in the sense that you are a teenager or you once were the average teenager looking for adventure. I reccomend this book to anyone over the age of 13.
This book was written with young adults in mind, and it was on a table of required reading for high school students in B&N in Cleveland. I figured some adult picked it out, so it wouldn't be vapid, and the blurb on the cover sounded interesting, so I put it on the Nook before heading for the airport for my trip home.
This 58-year-old thoroughly enjoyed looking at life from the other end for a change! The story is about a life-changing event for a group of young people, and the characters and the events will carry you along for the ride. It took me back to events in my own past and made me think about what they really meant and how they changed me. This is a story that can communicate to anyone -- unless, of course, you're vapid.
This book was a intriguing book with twist and the every day life of some teens . You get to look into a world of a group of teenagers and see lust , drugs use , pranks , sex and everyday teens exploring themselves and the things around them just trying to keep out of trouble . The before will have you in depths of the book just to see if pudge and alaksa end up together . And to get to the after. Were the book changes courses completely . Ive only read this book once until i lent it to a friend and never recieved it back . Im buying it again bexause its worth the read . No mattter what book i purchase little peaces of the colonel , pudge, alaska and the others will stary in your mind , this is a once in a lifetime book made by an inspiring author who really tries to capture hopeless teens in love or lust . Each having their dofferent qwerks an intresting things abot them . Buy this book , read this book , you will NOT regret it .
Read An Excerpt "So do you really memorize last words?"
She ran up beside me and grabbed my shoulder and pushed me back onto the porch swing. "Yeah," I said. And then hesitantly, I added, "You want to quiz me?" "JFK," she said. "That's obvious," I answered. "Oh, is it now?" she asked. "No. Those were his last words. Someone said, 'Mr. President, you can't say Dallas doesn't love you,' and then he said, 'That's obvious,' and then he got shot." She laughed. "God, that's awful. I shouldn't laugh. But I will," and then she laughed again. "Okay, Mr. Famous Last Words Boy. I have one for you." She reached into her overstuffed backpack and pulled out a book. "Gabriel GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez. The General in His Labyrinth. Absolutely one of my favorites. It's about SimÃ³n BolÃvar." I didn't know who SimÃ³n BolÃvar was, but she didn't give me time to ask. "It's a historical novel, so I don't know if this is true, but in the book, do you know what his last words are? No, you don't. But I am about to tell you, SeÃ±or Parting Remarks." And then she lit a cigarette and sucked on it so hard for so long that I thought the entire thing might burn off in one drag. She exhaled and read to me: " 'He' -- that's SimÃ³n BolÃvar -- 'was shaken by the overwhelming revelation that the headlong race between his misfortunes and his dreams was at that moment reaching the finish line. The rest was darkness. "Damn it," he sighed. "How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!" ' " I knew great last words when I heard them, and I made a mental note to get ahold of a biography of this SimÃ³n BolÃvar fellow. Beautiful last words, but I didn't quite understand. "So what's the labyrinth?" I asked her.
And now is as good a time as any to say that she was beautiful. In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla, and on that thin-mooned night I could see little more than her silhouette except for when she smoked, when the burning cherry of the cigarette washed her face in pale red light. But even in the dark, I could see her eyes -- fierce emeralds. She had the kind of eyes that predisposed you to supporting her every endeavor. And not just beautiful, but hot, too, with her breasts straining against her tight tank top, her curved legs swinging back and forth beneath the swing, flip-flops dangling from her electric-blue-painted toes. It was right then, between when I asked about the labyrinth and when she answered me, that I realized the importance of curves, of the thousand places where girls' bodies ease from one place to another, from arc of the foot to ankle to calf, from calf to hip to waist to breast to neck to ski-slope nose to forehead to shoulder to the concave arch of the back to the butt to the etc. I'd noticed curves before, of course, but I had never quite apprehended their significance. Her mouth close enough to me that I could feel her breath warmer than the air, she said, "That's the mystery, isn't it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape -- the world or the end of it?" I waited for her to keep talking, but after a while it became obvious she wanted an answer. "Uh, I don't know," I said finally. "Have you really read all those books in your room?" She laughed. "Oh God no. I've maybe read a third of 'em. But I'm going to read them all. I call it my Life's Library. Every summer since I was little, I've gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read. But there is so much to do: cigarettes to smoke, sex to have, swings to swing on. I'll have more time for reading when I'm old and boring." She told me that I reminded her of the Colonel when he came to Culver Creek. They were freshmen together, she said, both scholarship kids with, as she put it, "a shared interest in booze and mischief." The phrase booze and mischief left me worrying I'd stumbled into what my mother referred to as "the wrong crowd," but for the wrong crowd, they both seemed awfully smart. As she lit a new cigarette off the butt of her previous one, she told me that the Colonel was smart but hadn't done much living when he got to the Creek. "I got rid of that problem quickly." She smiled. "By November, I'd gotten him his first girlfriend, a perfectly nice nonWeekday Warrior named Janice. He dumped her after a month because she was too rich for his poverty-soaked blood, but whatever. We pulled our first prank that year -- we filled Classroom Four with a thin layer of marbles. We've progressed some since then, of course." She laughed. So Chip became the Colonel -- the military-style planner of their pranks, and Alaska was ever Alaska, the larger-than-life creative force behind them. "You're smart like him," she said. "Quieter, though. And cuter, but I didn't even just say that, because I love my boyfriend." "Yeah, you're not bad either," I said, overwhelmed by her compliment. "But I didn't just say that, because I love my girlfriend. Oh, wait. Right. I don't have one." She laughed. "Yeah, don't worry, Pudge. If there's one thing I can get you, it's a girlfriend. Let's make a deal: You figure out what the labyrinth is and how to get out of it, and I'll get you laid." "Deal." We shook on it. Later, I walked toward the dorm circle beside Alaska. The cicadas hummed their one-note song, just as they had at home in Florida. She turned to me as we made our way through the darkness and said, "When you're walking at night, do you ever get creeped out and even though it's silly and embarrassing you just want to run home?" It seemed too secret and personal to admit to a virtual stranger, but I told her, "Yeah, totally." For a moment, she was quiet. Then she grabbed my hand, whispered, "Run run run run run," and took off, pulling me behind her.
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