Looking for Alaska

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Green was awarded the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award for Looking for Alaska. It is taught in many high school and college curricula and has been published in more than fifteen languages.

You can buy Looking for Alaska from your favorite retailer via the Penguin portal:

If you’ve read the book and are completely prepared for spoilers, visit the Looking for Alaska Questions page for much, much more information on the book.

Awards

Winner, 2006 Michael L. Printz Award
Finalist, 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize
2006 Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults
2006 Teens’ Top 10 Award
2006 Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
A Booklist Editor’s Choice Pick
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection
Borders Original Voices Selection

Reviews (SPOILER ALERT!)

“Green…has a writer’s voice, so self-assured and honest that one is startled to learn that this novel is his first. The anticipated favorable comparisons to Holden Caufield are richly deserved in this highly recommended addition to young adult literature.”
-VOYA

“Like Phineas in John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace,” Green draws Alaska so lovingly, in self-loathing darkness as well as energetic light, that readers mourn her loss along with her friends.”
-School Library Journal, Starred Review

“The spirit of Holden Caulfield lives on.”
-KLIATT

{ 2084 comments… read them below or add one }

Sabiani January 17, 2015 at 5:19 pm

¡Es un libro tan hermoso!
A decir verdad antes odiaba a John Green, pero ahora lo amo *-*
Ya leí 3 de sus novelas pero buscando a Alaska me encanto
Y llore cuando murio y después mi familia me hizo burla :’c
Pero te amo John Green
Se los recomiendo demasiado

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Ana January 20, 2015 at 8:24 pm

si de verdad te gusto y quieres que lo lean los demás, no des spoilers!!!

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Sarah C January 19, 2015 at 8:12 am

Hi,
I would just like to say that Looking for Alaska is my most favorite book of all time! I have all of your books and have loved every single one. You could not possibly be a better writer in anyway because your imagination and writing skills are just absolutely amazing.
Thank you so much for being able to experience such an amazing novel!

Sarah

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JG January 27, 2015 at 9:31 am

Collins?

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Alaska Young's Fan January 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm

IM GONNA SPOIL.
I’m from Argentina, I’m 13 years old and I really love John Green’s books. At first I read The Fault In Our Stars. Whichs is amazing, by the way. Then I read Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska. I loved them all and I decided to get the box set which includes those three books and An Abundance of Katherines but in english. When I finished Looking for Alaska in spanish, I started reading it in english and I must say I love it. SPOILER I finished it yesterday and, doing this I feel kinda Hazel when she wrote to Van Houten but I really need to know what happens to Alaska. From my point of view she commits suicide cause she forgots of her mom’s death anniversary *I really don’t know if its correct to say it that way* and she feels guilty, so, she is driving to the cementery with the withe tulips and she sees the cop car. She isn’t thinking clearly due to the fact that she was very drunk and she was feeling guilty because of what I mentioned before and she sees the car, she sees the way out of the labyrinth and just does it. So, that’s waht I think that happened but I want to know what was in John Green’s mind. Even though I know he will never read this.
I just needed to say this.

Ps: Told ya I was gonna spoil.

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Kitana January 23, 2015 at 11:15 am

The point of the book is that Miles comes to find peace with Alaska’s death.Either way, accident or suicide, he accepts and forgives her for leaving him. If she did commit suicide, it was on purpose and premeditated due to the fact that she wrote “Straight and Fast” in the margin of her book as a solution to her horrifying labyrinth.
John Green never reads my comments either ;)

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Jennifer Cuadrado January 20, 2015 at 4:27 pm

looking for alaska it was the best book I have read in this world because I caught in history from that day I no longer am afraid to love the last words death and helped me solve my inner conflicts.
Live every moment because that’s what life is about.
for my John Green is the best writer of our time .
much success in every job you wish to make great you are and all that you propose ‘ll make it .
with love
Jennifer Cuadrado
PS :I do not speak English …. sorry if you do not understand what I wanted to express

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Liv January 20, 2015 at 8:49 pm

*Spoilers*

I have read the fault in our stars, paper towns, and now looking for alaska. I have just finished reading it and have come straight to the website.
When you were writing the book, were you thinking of it as a suicide or an accident? personally it seemed like a suicide to me, but I want to know if you intended it to be a suicide or not. Love your books! going to read abundance of katherines next!

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she was hurricane January 20, 2015 at 10:28 pm

Hi!,
I read the book a long time ago. I can’t stop thinking about the book. I heard the news will come film adaptation. I don’t want it. Should remain as our imaginary Alaska. Tori Amos listens to my mind comes Alaska:)
I don’t believe that going to die knowing that the Alaska.
“My heart I’ll always love my crooked crooked neighbor.”
This fiction, this book will never forget.

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Sten Heijster January 21, 2015 at 3:24 pm

I rely love this book and now i’m gona make an exposer fore if but i have to say somme fing spésiale abate the auther and i dont now ?

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Destinee January 21, 2015 at 10:47 pm

The most amazing book I’ve read next to TFIOS.. I think I picked a good book to get me into reading more often

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Tiffany D. January 22, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Mr. Green,
I am a huge fan and supporter of yours! Looking for Alaska was a book that desperately changed my life forever and I continue to read it over and over every now and then when I need it. I realize that you work very hard and I know that Paramount owns the rights to Looking For Alaska, but I just feel like to see this become a movie would mean the world to me. I’m just asking if there is any possible way that you could change Paramount’s mind or take the rights back somehow? It just feels wrong that the writer of the book doesn’t own it’s movie rights. This world lets me down everyday, but I believe it can also surprise me. Thank you for your time. Have a good day.

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Kitana January 23, 2015 at 11:30 am

So I’ve been reading and re reading this book for years now. It has chicken scratch in the margins of my copy and everything that hit me in the heart is underlined boldly in pink. I come from a family of writers but find that I have very little plot ideas of my own.
Maybe you have heard of my grandfather? Collings is his last name. He did a lot of horror with Stephen King.
Anyway, my mother recently read the book. She hated it. (Don’t be insulted, my mother hates everything.) I don’t know how to explain to her the true meaning of the book in a way she will understand. It says so much about love, death, forgiveness, and the ever-so-interesting places where beauty can be found but all she sees is porn and boose.
I don’t understand ignorence in the least but I really want to relate to my mom and help her understand that that is NOT the purpose of the book. Do you have any clever words for me?
Big fan of your work. Wish I had an ounce of your talent and vision.
-Kitana

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Anessa January 23, 2015 at 4:09 pm

Dear John ,
I’ve read looking for Alaska and the Fault in Our Stars. I just want to say thanks you to be simply in simplicity. I’ll read all of yours novels.

Thanks you again again and again .
Anessa.

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Tanisha Moopen January 24, 2015 at 3:48 am

So, what was it?
Accident or suicide?

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Naomi January 24, 2015 at 9:37 am

I have never read the book. I’ve read what Looking for Alaska is about and it sounds interesting. John, I have read TFiOS its a amazing book and I quiet enjoyed it. Going through the comments just reminds me of Hazel asking Van Houten of what happened to the dutch tulip man, her mom, and the hamster. It feels like a violation as of the readers/writers contract, that we as the readers can do so much as misinterpret the writing itself. But who am I to go saying that its misinterpreted by the reader or you, as I haven’t even read the book yet.

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Madi B. January 24, 2015 at 11:50 am

I loved this book!!!! I have all of your books except for Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Looking for Alaska is my favourite out of all of them.

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Makenna A. January 26, 2015 at 3:40 am

Madi is that you ?? loll

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Lani January 24, 2015 at 10:27 pm

I am in love with this book It is amazing and If you havnt read it you need to I cried and I laughed nothing can compare to looking for Alaska

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kaylin January 25, 2015 at 9:47 pm

Dear John Green,
I have recently re-read Looking For Alaska, my favorite of all your books aside from Let it Snow which I haven’t read yet and Will Grayson, Will Grayson that I’m currently half way through, being I don’t know if I’ll like them better.
When you wrote this book in particular, I don’t think you aimed to inspire people and give them this new out look on life, but to me, you have. I was nothing like Alaska and her friends. I’m a junior in high school and all I do it study and practice my clarinet and saxophone. I spend a lot of time on music because I want to be a pro musician. (Hard life I know.) Alaska is nothing like me. She had adventures and looked to go out and do crazy shit. I mean I’m nothing this pure girl either that you might be thinking. I’ve smoked a cigarette before and had a drink but I’ve never lived life on the edge or “yolo’d” if that’s still a thing. I’m also not saying I will become Alaska because I also wont do that but what I do want to say is thank you. You’ve opened my eyes to the fact that life can end in and instant right in front of your eyes. One day you’re alive and well, then the next, gone. It doesn’t scare me though. The only thing I fear is to die without having really lived. I want to adventure with my friends and laugh and cry and feel alive. For once I would like to feel invincible. One day I will because I’ve seen Alaska live. I’ve seen her cry and laugh and live. I hope it doesn’t sound too weird.
People don’t get why I read so much. What’s the point they say. The point is I’m inspired and I learn something. I grow attached to the characters. I cry with them, laugh with them and cry when I lose them. I once again I wanted to say thank you for opening my eyes on how to live.
Yours truly,
Kaylin

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Tyler Neely January 27, 2015 at 10:24 pm

Dear John Green,
I have found my way out of the labyrinth. It does involve hope and forgiveness and absolutely involves love. But it also involves Truth. I found myself sad during the entire “After” portion of Alaska… Not because I loved Alaska as a character and wanted her back necessarily but because of how her death made her friends realize how big of a labyrinth they were in… The uncertainty, the life questions, the mourning…everything. I was sad because I couldn’t talk to them and share the Truth with them, I couldn’t pull them out of the labyrinth. All I could do was just continue to watch them toil over the unknown and never really come up with a truly satisfying, concrete hope. This is the area that you touched very nicely: people of all ages and all kinds around the world suffer from the same problem that has been present with mankind since the beginning, that problem being death. More specifically, “What happens…to us…when we die?” A question that most choose to ignore. A question that you made naked and threw in the middle of the room. So here’s my response to that question:

“What happens to us when we die?”

Well, what happens is…. We just die. Our thought, our strength, our consiousness… dead. Christendom teaches (as you addressed in Alaska) that either we go to heaven or we go to hell…. That we have an eternal soul. In fact many faiths and religions believe this… But not all. In fact, the oldest faith of any in existence does not believe that humans have an eternal soul. It does not believe that a professed loving God would create a place of eternal torment for only 80 or so years of sin. I’m speaking of the Bible and what the Bible as a whole, as the inspired Word of God, truly says (2 Timothy 3:16).

So why do we just die? And how can any hope or comfort be found in what the Bible, no, in what God truly says about death and life after death?

Why?
Psalm 146:4 and Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 explain that we really do just die… And thinking back to the very first death and scriptures concerning death, we know why we die. Romans 5:12 and Romans 6:23 share that we only die because of inherited sin. Death is the punishment for sin, something we can’t run away from as long as we remain imperfect. It’s really rather simple… And sobering. But of course if it was just left like so, it would be entirely unjust and hopeless. We want life! We want eternity in a better world (Ecclesiastes 3:11)!

How? What?
Well most know that Jesus Christ is a savior of mankind, which is absolutely true. His ransom sacrifice of his perfect human body covers the sin the last previous human made, Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22,45). So now we have the opportunity to draw close to Jehovah, the only true God and be forgiven of our inevitable sin so long as we display our faith in Him and his Word through our actions, thoughts, and life. But we still die. So what is the hope for the future? What hope is there for the dead? John 5:28, 29 and Act 24:15 and Revelation 20:12, 13 explain how the dead will be resurrected. Just foreshadowed this and even its possibility while he was a man on earth when he performed numerous ressurections, the most famous being that of Lazarus, who Jesus described as being dead in a sleep-like state, conscious of nothing at all.
So here’s where things start to really shape and become…. Hope. Think back to the the first human pair and God’s original purpose for mankind at that point, to expand their paradise garden throughout the entire earth, filled with their perfect offspring who would continue to live forever. It wasn’t until they were disobedient that death even came into the picture and sadly, God’s purpose for mankind was interrupted. But when God purposes something, it happens without fail (Isaiah 55:11). So thus the entire Bible is the process in which God has allowed things to play out, for humans to show that they are incapable of ruling themselves, proving Satan the Devil a liar, who claimed they could, and to show how God would bring his original purpose to life once again, without fail.
So the purpose of the resurrection, our bodies literally being physically restored, eventually to a perfect condition, is so that all of mankind can live on earth forever in peace. No war. No death. No sickness. No pain or suffering. No stress or fear. (psalm 37:10,11,29; Ecclesiastes 1:4; Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 35:5,6; Revelation 21:4)

So this Truth, which has been with mankind for thousands of years in the pages of God’s inspired Word, answers all of those questions that so many ignore. The question that you address. But sadly, like your book Looking for Alaska portrays, many do not know this truth and continue to flounder about when things like death and war occur around them. How hard it was for me to hold such information and not be able to share it with the Colonel and Pudge and the rest of those deeply affected by the death of Alaska, those lost in the labyrinth. When you know truth like this, truth from the only true God, you cannot help but share it. It’s a necessity for me to because it’s driven by love… Because once I was in that labyrinth, closing myself in and ignoring the tall walls surrounding me. But I was pulled out and now desire to help pull as many out as I can. This is my “Great Perhaps.” My answer to all those asking “How will I ever get out of this Labyrith?”

- Tyler, one of Jehovah’s Witnesses
JW.ORG

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Sarah b. January 28, 2015 at 10:56 am

As a big fan of all the John Green books i have to say that Looking For Alaska is by far my favorite. It says so much about love, death, forgivness, and the beauty in letting yourself go. I feel like the whole suicide or accident question involving Alaskas death says a lot about the reader in the way you percive it. Wish I was half the writer you are.

xoxo gossip girl

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