Looking for Alaska is a beautiful young adult novel which is centered around the life of the teenager, Miles Halter who leaves Florida to attend a boarding school in Alabama. With his resentment towards sports and obsession for people’s last words, Miles heads off to the Culver Creek Boarding School to seek what the poet Rabelais called The Great Perhaps.
Miles befriends his roommate Chip who introduces him to the beautiful, smart, funny and mysterious girl down the hall, Alaska Young. It is she who introduces Miles to the concept of the labyrinth, which is the labyrinth of suffering. She tells him how people spend their whole lives stuck in the labyrinth, trying to escape it by imagining the bright future ahead, while in reality, they never do it. People just use the future to escape the present.
The story progresses, with the high school fun and the pranks. In the long run, Miles gets to know Alaska better and soon, she kind of becomes the centre of his universe. Everything goes on normally, until when halfway through the book, a tragedy takes place. The latter half of the book is about how Miles and his friends try to make sense of it.
What I liked about the book is that, it talks about the afterlife in a very practical way. It speaks how people believe in the afterlife because they cannot imagine death being a big black nothing and cannot bear the idea of themselves not existing. They believe in the afterlife because they cannot bear not to.
Miles also figures out the labyrinth mystery. In the end, he decides that even though straight and fast is the only way out, getting through the labyrinth is the better choice. The book talks about how forgiveness is the key to survive in the labyrinth and how the concept of the afterlife is probably just something to ease out the suffering in the labyrinth.
Moreover, John Green has written the story fiercely, exposing the working of a teen’s mind as they grow up and explore the world. The author has brilliantly explained how everyone has a part of themselves, which is greater than all the other parts and how that part is immortal as it has no end nor a beginning and hence, it cannot fail. Therefore, there is no need to be hopeless in life as we can never be irreparably broken.
In case you haven’t been impressed by the plot already, you need to read the book for at least the way it’s written. The storyline is gripping, funny and sad at the same time. My favorite part was the brilliantly written quotes. This one by far was my favorite among all the others: “There comes a time when we realize that our parents cannot save themselves or save us, that everyone who wades through time eventually gets dragged out to sea by the undertow- that, in short, we are all going.”
This book had a really huge impact on me and I’m positive that I can never look at things the way I used to. It is just about one of the most realistic books out there, talking about friendship, loss, love and most importantly, life. It is an inspiring and a very thrilling story and something that every teen needs to read.
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