Looking for Alaska is John Green's first book (his second, An Abundance of Katherines, shall be reviewed forthwith). Looking for Alaska is a rather heartbreaking story. There is, of course, a boy and a girl, but there's also a boarding school and some alcohol and a suitcase labeled "COFFEE TABLE" and many last words. Miles Halter (the boy) goes to boarding school and meets Alaska (the girl) and a bunch of cool stuff happens, none of which I will tell you about, because I'm cruel. Then a Bad Thing happens, also which I will not tell you about.
Looking for Alaska is divided into two parts-- before and after-- and the chapters are named accordingly (a month before, two days before, etc). This gives the whole book a sense of inevitability. There is a Bad Thing that is about to happen, and you can see it coming, but there is nothing whatsoever that you can do about it. Of course, there is never anything that you can do to stop something that happens in a book, unless you are the author of the book, or you have magical powers, but Looking for Alaska really drives the point home. The entire first 3/4 of the book is just building up to the Bad Thing, just waiting for it to happen. And then, BAM. Bad Thing. And it hurts your soul, believe me.
Now, look at the picture of the cover. Do you see the shiny round gold thing? Yes? Good. That, dear reader, is a Printz award, which, if you don't know, is a very fancy sort of an award. Looking for Alaska won a Printz (a fact that you may have surmised from the aforementioned shiny round gold thing). Why did it win a Printz, you ask? Silly reader! I say. Because it is good! Now go, go out into the wonderful land of books and read it. I command you!
I award this book 4.5 daggers.*
Depressedly, Bad-Thing-hatingly yours,
*I should probably give it five, but there's too much drinking. Is that a legitimate reason to take away a half a dagger? Eh. Teenage drinking is annoying.
Despite all of the teen drinking and sex and smoking, I absolutely adore this book. It is a beautiful story of love and loss and suffering. And it made me cry. It absolutely ripped my heart out. And one must love a book that can do that.
The inevitability of the Bad Thing really hits you, though.
Hits you hard.
I give it the only set of daggers that I am able: all five.
Hoping for good last words...