When we think of young adult books we have the impression that it caters only to teenagers—those who are carefree, fun-loving and happy-go-lucky. True enough, the target audience of this type of literature are people who are still looking for their true self, their niche in society, and their definition of life. Yes, the youth of today are more profound than you thought. They have depth, but still able to maintain a playful nonchalance which is the envy of all adults. We’ve all been to that crossroad where we get torn between deciding for ourselves and at the same time, needing the advice of our parents. The first step to discovering yourself, it seems, is going away to boarding school. This is the central theme of John Green’s
Looking for Alaska .
The story is centered on Miles Halter, who left for boarding school after an uneventful high school spent in Florida. Miles is not your typical teen; he does not spend all night playing online games over at
FoxyBingo, nor logged on to
Tumblr for hours on end. In fact, he’s into literature, and obsessed with dead people’s last words. At Culver Creek Prep he made new friends—interesting people in their own right. His roommate (nicknamed “The Colonel”), introduced him to Alaska Young, and they became his regular gang. They ingeniously pull pranks that will have you doubling up with laughter and amazement. At a young age they’ll teach you the meaning of loyalty, compassion, death, grief, and yes, love. Because let’s face it, we do need the reminder.
What makes the novel an interesting read is its take on drunk driving, and its adverse effects on someone’s life. It also extensively discussed how to deal with an untimely death, and showed ways of how to cope and recover. As all of us, one way or another, have to go through both life and death, we can pick up a thing or two from this masterpiece.
The author John Green was awarded the Michael L. Printz Award for this novel, and the book is now part of the high school and college curricula of many schools.