Speaking of first, this is my initiation in reading novels for young adults. I bought this one sometime ago with curious hands on whether I’ll enjoy this or wasting some extra’s I have at the time. Looking for Alaska is about a sixteen-year-old Miles Halter; an average boy that thinks he’s living a one long nonevent life, living without challenges, no excitement, and no romantic relationships. However with this self-assessment, he is fascinated with famous last words, especially seeking what Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps”. He then leaves his hometown in Florida and boards for school in Birmingham, AL. He then meets a set of other teenagers including his roommate, Chip and Chip’s best friend Alaska Young, with whom every male in campus exhibits their affection for her.
With these acquaintances, Chip and Alaska teaches Miles to drink, smoke cigarettes and involve him in such elaborate pranks. After a time, Miles learns some of Alaska’s unhappiness, the more that makes him attracted to her, a span of an unforgettable 128 days.
The chapters of the novel are separated with the “Before” and the “After” that makes you flip the pages on what it might imply. These marks sustain the reader’s curiosity and attention on what might or what will happen, and these accounts will lead to the aftermath of the characters actions before. Though I think the author just shows that what will happen, will happen and we can say a thing is inevitable if it’s already done or happened. What I also loved about the novel is Miles honest narrative; you can’t help but feel his ambivalence, his truthfulness like just some human kid you starts to ask for some opinion or a kid you just want to juice for statement.
The novel is pretty short but without reading it carefully, I’m sure there’s a lot of chance to miss its message and its pleasure, to feel its beauty and to absorb its believability. The author successfully draws one’s suffering, loss, grief and depression especially in a teenage voice. I’ve read this passed my teenage years but it doesn’t fail to touched me that closing the book makes my heart ache literally (okay, I’m not being sentimental here). If I haven’t told you that this is such an outstanding coming-of-age novel, it proves to be for it won the Michael L. Printz Award and the Teen’s Top 10 award. I’m also glad to learn that the Japanese character Takumi Hirohito in the story was inspired by a Filipino friend of the author.
With this as the author’s debut novel for young-adult readers, I’m sure he’ll start to invade the YA scene. And he does.
Opening Sequence: The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.
Ending Sentence: I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.