Published February 2015 by Harper Collins.
Goodreads Synopsis: Miles has a quirky interest in famous people’s last words, especially François Rabelais’s final statement, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parents to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip―commonly known as the Colonel—who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore.
The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. But as the story hurtles toward its shattering climax, chapter headings like “forty-six days before” and “the last day” portend a tragic event―one that will change Miles forever and lead him to new conclusions about the value of his cherished “Great Perhaps.”
My review is of the tenth anniversary special edition, which contains bonus content and deleted scenes.
My Review: This book came as a surprise in the post, but I was so excited when it arrived. I read Looking For Alaska last year, in the short period after finishing John Green’s latest book, The Fault in Our Stars, and I wasn’t sure about rereading it – but I ended up doing so and I think I loved it even more than I did the first time around.
Going back to revisit Miles and Alaska and the Colonel felt like a nostalgic reunion with old friends – I forgot how much I loved the characters and their chemistry. Though I feel that all of John Green’s characters are somewhat similar, I can’t fault them. They’re always endlessly funny, yet complex, and they have such well developed back-stories. Since my first read, I’d forgotten much of Alaska’s background and how it connects with her future, and it was quite haunting to rediscover it.
As for the plot, I somehow felt even more absorbed, knowing what was coming (though admittedly I forgot at which point the BIG PLOT TWIST THAT BROKE MY HEART happened, and it struck me really hard and I spent the rest of the night crying to my friend). I also picked up on some parallels in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ sections that the book is split into – I didn’t notice how events lined up and how the story begins 135 days before and ends 135 days after, exactly. This is why rereading is the best – There are so many things you pick up that you hadn’t noticed before!
However, I did dislike some bits of the plot – I loved the ending but I don’t feel it did the book justice, that near-end scene just felt a little disjointed and random to me. The ‘before’ part is definitely the best part, plot-wise, as in the ‘after’ I felt everything was just dragged out a little. However, it was definitely the most emotional part. I couldn’t help but tear up at so many parts.
the reason I’m reviewing this book again is because it’s a new edition, with bonus stuff, so I thought I may as well do a new post and not just reblog my old review. At the back of this edition there’s actually more new content than I’d anticipated – I loved reading John Green’s articulately answered Q&A, thought my favourite thing was the deleted scenes. There were original drafts of scenes such as the opening pages of the book, where Miles is saying goodbye to his parents and starting at Culver Creek school. I found it so fascinating to see how John Green’s writing developed over many rewrites.
Overall, I really recommend Looking For Alaska, especially this copy – whether you haven’t read it before and want to start reading Green’s books (Warning, does not come with tissues, you must purchase these yourself.) or whether you’re a long-time fan, as the new things included are really great! Also, hai, gorgeous shiny cover. The story is one of those rare ones that touches you in a way not many can. It rips your heart to pieces then puts it back together, over and over. The characters never truly leave you – the whole book is just unforgettable.
I received a copy of Looking For Alaska from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.