Miles Halter (Pudge) knows that he isn’t anyone special. He’s tall and gangly, and he likes to memorize the last words of famous people. He wants to seek the Great Perhaps, but it’s hard to do that when there’s nothing happening in your life, and no one to seek it with. But then he enrols into boarding school where across the hall lives Alaska Young, a bright, vivacious girl who pulls him into the life of mischief and booze.
After? After, everything changes. Nothing remains the same.
This was the second John Green book I have ever read. The first was The Fault in Our Stars which I liked, but by then was way too overhyped for me to properly enjoy it. I remember the first time I read this novel, I had borrowed it from a friend, and she had highlighted a bunch of quotes with a pink highlighter. It made my reading experience that much better. There really are some amazing quotes in this book, and I honestly hope that if they ever do make a movie out of this novel, they keep the lyrical tone.
First of all, I think the characters were all amazingly well rounded. Everyone, including Pudge’s parents had diverse personalities that made it so believable, and actually pulled me into the story. I felt that each character wasn’t too Mary Sue, or too perfect, they all had their flaws and actually acted like real people do.
Green’s writing style is amazing in this novel. I can’t believe that this was his debut novel?! Out of the books he’s written, I’d say that this is his best one. His tone has an even balance between dark and light, and he manages to write almost prose like phrases while not making it sound too forced or cheesy. My personal favorite:
I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.
The plot to this novel is pretty mundane, nothing really happens because they mostly just stay at the school, besides a few occurences. However, it was still interesting, because I was so invested in the characters, I cared what happened to them even if it was some drama that happens in every day life. And oh my god, what happened at the “after”. The first time I read this book, I was so shocked when I found out what the before and after stood for. I think I froze for five minutes before I kept reading. It was so shocking to me.
This situation in the “after” section relates to me personally, because my friend happened to be in the same situation as that character (I don’t want to give any spoilers). I don’t know, it just makes the story more personal to me somehow.
Overall, I love this book so much, it’s amazing, and if you haven’t given it a read, I suggest you do so. I honestly don’t think I’d be the same person if I hadn’t read this book, it is so amazing.
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