There is no time in our lives when the exploration of self is more profound than when we are in high school. We begin to develop our self-image, build relationships, confirm and develop our beliefs, focus on fears and our triumphs. In short, it is one of the hardest, and most significant periods of anyone’s life.
This beautiful journey is captivated and reconstructed in Looking for Alaska by John Green. Looking for Alaska is Green’s first novel, which was published in March of 2005 by Dutton Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. It won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award and the Best Books for Young Adults in 2006 from the American Library Association.
“I go to seek a great perhaps,” famous last words once said by Francois Rabelais that are reprised in spirit and verse in John Green’s young adult book.
This book, suitable for readers aged 16 and up, is chalk full of themes that older adolescents encounter on an almost daily basis in their own lives, those of friends, or virtual characters seen in other forms of media, including: identity formation, depression, sexual awareness, social order, friendships, bullying and the list goes on.
Told through the voice of a young man named Miles, the story is that of someone seeking a place where he feels like he belongs, and Miles finds this at a boarding school. Throughout the book there is much adventure to be had, but also heartfelt life lessons.
Looking for Alaska has been challenged for its attention to sexual themes, so readers should be advised. However, the moments in the book that address these situations are not included to shock or appall and connect closely to the characters in the tale. Those seeking a book that is both comedic and heartbreaking all at once should look no further than Alaska.