Hey readers, welcome to the page! Today we’re gonna tell you all about the stunning coming-of-age novel by John Green. Looking for Alaska is the electric debut by the award winning author of ‘The fault in our stars’, which is considered a ‘modern classic’. The novel was published in March 2005. And it soon became one of the most loved young-adult fiction of all time.
Looking for Alaska won Michael L. Printz award in 2006. It was also included in the list of top 10 books for young adults in 2006. The novel is based on John Green’s experiences while he was in Indian Springs School. Although, Green states that the novel’s setting is based on his life, but the novel is completely fictional.
The number of copies sold is not disclosed yet. But, Looking for Alaska still manages to retain it’s place in the top young adult novels of all time. I guess this much information is enough to provoke you to give the novel a shot!
Let’s get straight to the summary!
PS: Make sure you don’t fall in love or get madly obsessed with Alaska!
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Summary: Looking for Alaska
“A great perhaps”
Miles Halter, the narrator of the novel is a shy and introvert guy. His obsessions are quiet peculiar, as he’s obsessed with ‘last words’ of famous people. Miles Halter, being an introvert, is not quiet popular and doesn’t have a lot of friends. Miles is fascinated with the last words of Francois Rabelais who was a poet. His last words were, ‘I go seek a great perhaps.’
Miles, being fed up with his boring and friendless life, decides to go and seek a ‘great perhaps’. So he decides to move to Culver Creek boarding school, which was previously attended by his dad and uncles, for his higher education. Miles tells his parents, ” I’m going to seek a great perhaps so that I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a great perhaps.” Miles’s mom arranges a going away party for him. But unfortunately, it was only attended by his two socially awkward friends.
Miles finally moves to Culver Creek. However, his dorm doesn’t met his expectations as the place looked more like a hospital room with no air conditioning. Miles finally makes his first new friend, his roommate, Colonel( Chip Martin), a short and muscular guy. Colonel comes from a poor family. But he’s excellent in studies which earned him a scholarship to the school. Colonel gives Miles a nickname, ‘Pudge’ due to his skinny body.
Colonel soon introduces Miles to his friends- Takumi and the beautiful, amazing, cheerful and energetic Alaska Young. Miles immediately gets insanely attracted towards Alaska Young. One night, a bunch of boys picks Miles from his bed, duct taped him and throws him in the school’s lake. Colonel manages to save Miles. He soon tells Miles that those boys were ‘weekday warriors’ who’re a bunch of day boarders coming from wealthy families.
“How will i ever get out of this labyrinth”
Miles and Alaska soon becomes good friends. Alaska becomes fascinated by Miles’s obsession of last words. She tells Miles about the last words of Simon Bolivar, “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth!” Alaska read it from the novel, The General in his Labyrinth which is written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. She tells him the the meaning of labyrinth is quiet complex, which might mean the labyrinth of living and dying. She also tells him about how much she loves her boyfriend named Jake.
Miles gets to know about Takumi who is Japanese from Birmingham. He’s a great rapper and loves fried foods. Miles finally makes some ‘friends’. They soon introduces Miles to the mischievous social order of the school campus. And ‘Eagle’, the dean of the school, who’s really strict. They suggest him to avoid getting in trouble with the eagle. They take Miles to their hangout spot called the ‘smoking hole’, where they smoke. However they three gets caught by the eagle while smoking there, but didn’t get into a lot of trouble. Colonel gets kicked out of every basketball match as he mocks the players.
Miles is moved when Takumi tells him that Alaska ratted out her roommate named Marya. Which makes it quiet difficult for Miles to trust Alaska. Miles soon gets a girlfriend named Sara. Apart from Alaska and Sara, Miles loves his religion class, which makes him think about philosophy and life. The subject is taught by an old teacher whom they call ‘old man’.
“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane”
Miles agrees to stay with Alaska for Thanksgiving and they have a lot of fun together. But soon he starts feeling confused and a bit homesick. After thanksgiving Colonel, Alaska, Takumi and Miles pulls a series of epic pranks on the Eagle and weekday warriors.
While celebrating the success of their pranks, Alaska tells Miles, Colonel and Takumi about her mother. She tells them that her mother died if front of her when she was eight because of aneurysm. Her mother collapsed in front of her but she was so small to understand what was happening to her. She tells them that she still feels guilty that she didn’t called 911 for help. Miles believes that this incident made Alaska impetuous and emotional. Miles concludes that a labyrinth is a person’s suffering in his life, and person must find the way out of that labyrinth of suffering.
After a few days, Miles, Alaska and Colonel are spending the night in Alaska’s room. They are really drunk. Alaska and Miles eventually make out for sometime. Soon Alaska gets a phone call from her boyfriend Jake as it was their 8 month anniversary. During the call, Alaska suddenly freaks out and insists that she has to leave the campus. So Miles and Colonel distracts the eagle and Alaska manages to escape the campus in her car( she was still drunk).
“The labyrinth of suffering”
The next morning, all the students are called to the gym. In the gym, the eagle tells the students that Alaska had died in a car accident. Miles and Colonel are devastated. They can’t believe that Alaska Young had died. Miles and Colonel are filled with grief and start blaming themselves. They start wondering that maybe Alaska would’ve been alive if they didn’t let her leave last night. They also wonder that what could be the reason that made Alaska freak out and leave the campus last night.
Miles and Colonel dwell deep to figure out the reason. Colonel talks to the officer whose car was involved in the accident. Miles and Colonel contact Jake(her boyfriend). By trying to solve the mystery, Miles completely ignores (not intentionally) Takumi and Lara. And Colonel does the same. However, they are unable to find out the reason. Miles starts thinking about who Alaska really was as a person in the inside rather that what she showed to the people.
After sometime, Miles and Colonel starts getting normal and the grief reduces. Takumi and Lara forgives Miles and Colonel for their behavior. Miles, Takumi, Lara, and Colonel team up with the Weekday Warriors to pull out the most epic prank in the memory of Alaska. They hire a male stripper with the help of Mile’s father, to give a speech at speaker’s day. The prank was a huge success and even the eagle acknowledges their cleverness.
Miles soon remembers that Alaska died on her mother’s death anniversary. He concludes that during the call, Alaska suddenly realizes that it’s her mother’s death anniversary. She feels very guilty for not remembering. So in order to reach her mother’s cemetery, she moves out of the campus in a rush and unfortunately, a terrible accident occurs.
Looking for Alaska: Web Series
Looking for Alaska was released in Hulu on 18th October 2019. The web miniseries consists of 8 episodes. It was created by Josh Schwartz satrring Charlie Plummmer as Miles, Kristine Froseth as Alaska and Denny Love as Chip Martin.
The web series proved to be as successful as the novel and it’s amazingly created by Josh Schwartz. The web series is available in Hulu.
Looking for Alaska: Review
Looking for Alaska is undoubtedly one of the best coming of age novels. John Green amazingly portrays the characters of Miles, Colonel and especially Alaska. The character of Alaska Young is of a quiet messed up girl. But you can’t stop yourself falling in love with Alaska once you get along with the book.
The novel is filled with fun and pranks. The novel would make you laugh and cry at the same time. But the novel turns a bit uninteresting for sometime after Alaska’s death, but the conclusion is just more than enough to cover up for the loss. You would find an ‘ideal friend’ in Colonel’s character. The case is same for Takumi and Lara.
Looking for Alaska is filled with philosophical beliefs and facts which would provoke you to think ‘deliberately’. You would find them relatable to your life and they will just stick in your head for a long long… time. The best part of the novel is that it leaves you with a question at the end, ‘how will you ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?’
HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET OUT OF THIS LABYRINTH?
Love reading psychology fiction? Here are some recommendations, check em’ out!
1) Ikigai by Yukari Mitsuhashi
2) The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie
3) I’m Not Afraid by Niccolo Ammaniti
4) The Collector by John Fowles
5) The Innocent by Ian McEwan
6) The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
7) A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk
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