I was so pleasantly surprised by John Green’s Looking for Alaska that I became concussed. Okay, so that’s not entirely true – I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed this novel, but I wasn’t the one concussed; no, that was Miles “Pudge” Halter, the remarkably reasonable and intelligent narrator of Green’s novel. True, it’s another young adult book, but this one is both award-winning and filled with layers and marked by a clear, smooth writing style. Here’s a synopsis:
“Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (François Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy 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. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.”
John Green is also the author of An Abundance of Katherines (an award nominee) and he maintains a video blog with his brother.
*And the moment when Pudge finds himself in a concussed state is one that shines in the story simply because the humor of it catches you completely off guard. One minute you’re sitting there, reading a story filled with intellectual depth, and the next you’re chuckling. Which leads to full blown laughter. And pretty soon you’re sitting there, pointing at the book, looking between it and whomever is sitting closest to you, still laughing. At least that’s what happened to me.