After a brief hiatus this week, The Umbrella Collective is back and this time we have a book review for you all. The book we have all read and individually reviewed is Looking for Alaska
by John Green. You can check out what Alice
had to say about the book, but here are my thoughts in my usual book review style (as little spoilers as possible!)
|Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring 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, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same
This is my second time reading Looking for Alaska and like with last time it took me less than a day. The book falls into the category known as Young Adult, which despite being twenty I still class myself as. Although this category is home to all Stephanie Meyer travesties, it also includes such books as The Hunger Games and I would even throw Harry Potter in there too, so there are some real gems. I enjoy young Adult fiction as I find it easy to read which these days is all I can handle (which is why I probably haven’t even started on A Song of Ice and Fire books 1-3 and they have been on my shelf since April). Anyway, I’m rambling.
Back in March I reviewed another book by John Green, the highly acclaimed The Fault in Our Stars
, being controversial as usual, I much prefer Looking for Alaska
. I don’t know if it’s because it was my first dip into the wonderful writing stylings of John Green or because I don’t deal well with anything dealing with the subject matter of cancer. I read Looking for Alaska
at a point in my life where I was on the road to self discovery or self destruction depending on which way you want to look at it. John Green has a way of writing that makes certain passages in his novels stick with you, so much of Looking for Alaska stuck with me and The Fault in Our Stars
just couldn’t match that effect.
I loved the three main characters, Miles known as Pudge, Chip known as The Colonel and of course Alaska. Compared to some YA characters they’re believable although maybe their actions maybe aren’t. The way they thinks as teenagers is. Miles and Alaska remind me of Dexter and Emma from One Day, although their roles reversed. One reserved and dare I say it bit of a drip especially in comparison to the unpredictability of the other. When I first read Looking for Alaska I identified with Alaska, two years later now I’ve moved on from that part of my life I didn’t so much this read around.
Another thing I love is the way the book is laid out, the chapters being before and after the “event” I thought it was clever but as I said in my other John Green review, I find his style of writing very clever. He writes in a way that sticks with you. My bestie who recommended it could probably quote you this whole book, it’s just that memorable. In my opinion it’s a much better coming of age book that the likes of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (urgh so overrated).
It’s a coming of age teen novel all about first love and first loss, that is how I’d sum it up in a nut shell. I have to honestly say I didn’t really ever get over my first love. It was really fucked up and it messed up my head, despite the fact this is intended for a teen audience maybe my mentality when it comes to relationships is still there, maybe I never moved on. This doesn’t stop me seeing the flaws in this book, there are some writing holes that I don’t want to include as it’ll give away what the “event” the first half of the book leads up to but they mainly revolve around the actions of a lesser character called Jake.. the whole situation and they way he reacted after the “event” puzzled me for so long and it still did after a second read. A lot of it was unrealistic, the way the characters drank all the time and smoked and had promiscuous relationships yet all still retained top grades.. the way they behaved in school didn’t seem like it was going to effect their later life in anyway when I know the choices I made in school still reflect terribly on what I do today.
Over all, I love this book. After Catcher in the Rye it probably is my favourite coming of age novel. If you like YA fiction or are a fan of John Green but can’t bear to read anything that will emotionally destroy you as much as The Fault in the Stars I recommend this. If you haven’t been introduced to the fantastic author yourself, I recommend Looking for Alaska as a way in.
Here are a couple of my favourite quotes;
“So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
Remember to check out the reviews from the other girls, see what they had to say about Looking for Alaska. Also want to note that I think The Umbrella Collective
is now going to be two weekly, so look out for our next one going up to weeks today!