I like John Green and I loved The Fault In Our Stars. I've also read Will Grayson, Will Grayson and thought it was okay but due to the high praise for Looking For Alaska, I was hoping for a repeat of The Fault In Our Stars. Unfortunately it was so very far off the mark!
First of all if you don't read the summary doesn't it convey wilderness? As in going to Alaska or trying to get to Alaska etc.? No, turns out the characters are obsessed with a vapid character named Alaska. Who the hell is named Alaska?? Seriously?
The characters, ugh, the characters. They were terrible and boring and so very much not the type of people I would ever even consider hanging out with (which is not a requirement for me but is true). Their main activities consist of smoking, drinking, pranking, obsessing over girls and/or sex and overall doing the minimum in school. I cannot relate to these people. In high school I had no interest in drinking or smoking or being completely idiotic and so never participated in any such activity. Many people seem to think you need to learn from YOUR mistakes, I prefer to watch other people make theirs and not have to deal with the bodily damage. Peer pressure also played a role in this book, with Miles coming to boarding school as a good kid and then suddenly smoking and drinking and other crap. He does not seem to think much against it either, his endless (1) lists of (2) reasons for (3) was mind-numbing and never reflective of someone intelligent.
Alaska, the character Miles and others are in love with, was not a good friend despite what Green tried to portray. She was wallowing in self-pity and abused alcohol, smoking and boys. I felt no loss when she left. The novel may have gotten better once she exited but the characters spent the remaining novel trying to figure out the very obvious reason for her departure.
Also, the blowjob scene? Really? A freakin' blowjob scene?!?! You've got to be kidding me! Not that such things don't go on but it was so out of left field! Nerdy boy's fantasy I'm guessing. Plus the girl performing it was essentially only used for that purpose in the book since Miles treats her like crap overall. Is Miles' "great perhaps" using a poor girl for a damn blowjob? Miles started off as a potentially great character but he dwindled so very rapidly as soon as he was around everyone else.
I never understood the "invincible" nature of teenagers even when I was one, I always saw the potential complications of every act. So Green's quote at the end of the book really bothered me because I feel as though it could enable more teenagers to foolishly believe they are invincible.
“When adults say, "Teenagers think they are invincible" with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don't know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
I can see the science behind such a quote but overall it is just stupid to put in a YA novel. Teenagers need not have more motivation to act stupidly. They may be invincible in terms of atoms but as a person they can DIE. I for one would like it if more teenagers realized this and, oh I don't know, maybe didn't text and drive or get drunk or high? That would be great because I'm tired of hearing about such idiots.