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.

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

{ 1983 comments… read them below or add one }

led_xo November 20, 2014 at 11:01 am

Hi. I think it would be really nice to read this book from the Alaska’s point of view.

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tanner_0753 November 27, 2014 at 1:03 am

Then you would only get half of the book! haha

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seekingthegreatperhaps November 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

No. You did not just-
b-b-but you did…

I just finished re-reading this book and I love it. I love it ssssssssoo much!

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thegreatperhaps December 17, 2014 at 9:48 am

too soon *cries*

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Florence Chase December 20, 2014 at 9:51 pm

True.

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Danielle Lock December 10, 2014 at 11:45 am

GREAT IDEA!!!! GREEEEEEN, PLEASE!!!

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Valentina November 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Hey John Im very fan of your books are really amezing, im reading “looking for alaska” and i think that is the best book i’ve ever read in my life, im sure your too busy to read this, because your doing the Paper Town’s Movie, I really want to see the movie NOW hahaha..

Thanks for the books your amazing.
A Fan.

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Giselle Araújo Freire November 20, 2014 at 8:48 pm

hi, John Green
I am 12 years old, and I’m a fan too I read the whole book before you get questions that are at the end of the book. And at the end of his book has a quote from a newspaper that says: “This debut novel is a sample of the raw talent of John Green, the kind of talent that makes you reach the last page of the book as a completely different person.” And really this book answered many questions of my life, with the death of a relative. I had never been able to understand those feelings, and now I know that we all have a big maybe. And some questions do not deserve to be solved. Equal to the word I love you, you turned into a larger word yet, it is “okay” okay and that changed my life as well as everything that is written on your other books I’ve ever read. And I thank you for answering a question I did not know the answer for 3 years.

But for which there is a distance I still go to the United States just to meet you. (I know you’re very busy, but I hope you read)

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harmonie November 21, 2014 at 12:16 am

amazing book and was a story ill never forget beacause a story just like that haappend in my life :(

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Daniel D November 21, 2014 at 5:21 pm

I’ve read all your books once and most of them twice. You seriously effect people SO much and I hope you use that power responsibly. You’re a modern genius and I’m SO obsessed with your work. I have yet to read something you’ve composed without being emotionally compromised by the ending. (I legitimately sobbed at the end of Paper Towns). Anyway, best of luck with your movie shooting, I hope it comes out as well as TFIOS.
Sincerely,
a huge admirer.

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diana November 22, 2014 at 2:36 am

I love your books john green. …so beyond awesome. Please write another book. Can’t wait. Im your biggest fan.

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Imogen Horn November 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Hi! I love your books so much, especially Looking For Alaska and Paper Towns. Paper Towns was definitely my favorite though. I know there’s a lot of popularity for The Fault in our Stars, but I was wondering which book is your favorite? I mean, which one are you most proud of?
Thanks!
Imogen Horn

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Manuela November 23, 2014 at 12:22 am

hi!! john, i love this book more than my entire life. Is just amazing, i’m so in love with Alaska Young, and i cried SOOOOOO MUCH WITH THIS DAMN BOOK. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Is just perfect, really. Thanks for writing it. Greetings from Argentina!

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J November 23, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Hi,

I’m a 13 year old girl who obsesses over books. I’m not going to say I’m ashamed; I’m not. The first series I read was the Harry Potter collection and from then on, books have been my best friends. I read to fill up, I read to enjoy and most of all, I read to escape reality. The fact that you can jump into a different world by just reading a page of ink is amazing. When I was 12, I came across The Fault in our Stars. That book: My mind=blown. I loved the way you wrote, John Green, and I needed more of your books. I fan girled all over the story, characters and cried so much I didn’t think I would have any tears to shed for a year. I then read Paper Towns which I loved as much as TFIOS. Your style of writing is so comforting, a teen can become friends with you so easily. After living in the world of Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman, I read Looking for Alaska. The words which you use hold so much power, I’m left gobsmacked. Ive started reading Will Grayson now and I have full faith in you not to disappoint me. Thank you for such an amazing experience with books. I always recommend your books to people. When I’m all grown up, I’ll make sure I thank you again for a beautiful childhood.

I hope you’re proud.

xxx -J

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Irina November 26, 2014 at 11:33 am

Hello I’m very impatient to read your book “looking for Alaska” in addition you have one prize… Errr Yes I’m french and I am 12…

Irina

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the Baguette November 26, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Bonjour Fracne i´m un Baguette!

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John_Green_Fan999 December 2, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Well it’s nice to meet you France the drumstick lol

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Axel Schweiss November 26, 2014 at 2:07 pm

I have no idea what I’ve just read
But I can tell y´all that this book burns better than a old rotten log

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dr_tanner November 27, 2014 at 1:08 am

Some books inspire good people to do good things, some books inspire bad people to become good people. This book inspires everyone to live a life worth living. Truly inspirational.

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jessia November 27, 2014 at 1:16 am

Perfect

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georgia November 27, 2014 at 5:39 am

love ya

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Evie Currie November 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm

For some reason indescribable is the best description for your books

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seekingthegreatperhaps November 28, 2014 at 9:06 am

Yes!

They are terrifically indescribable and nobody could begin to understand the fantastic-ness of them unless they read the books. They are incredibly spectacular and I am limited by my own vocabulary (and the fact that I am quite tired) to express my wonder at these sensational novels.

They are amazing.

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Roxaaanne November 27, 2014 at 9:18 pm

Omygoosh I really love this book. Its beyond fascinating and I already read it thrice and it still gives me the feels every now and then :> I really love everything about this book because it elaborates about the possibility of “after life” and a lot more. I hope there would be a SEQUEL (John Green, pleaaaaaasee I beg you!!!!)

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Amanda November 28, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Oi John!
Sou uma fã brasileira, e estou imensamente apaixonada pelo seu estilo na literatura e por mais um de seus livros que acabei de ler… Desta vez li “Quem é você, Alasca?”
E queria só registrar que adorei a sua definição do labirinto e a abordagem toda da trama.
Queria dizer também que me sinto agora um pouco como o Bujão, porque quando acabo um bom livro, percebo que criei uma certa amizade com os personagens e que é difícil deixá-los partir…
Como o que aconteceu com a Alasca e seus amigos, também acontece com os personagens… Eles estão em algum lugar e acabam esquecidos depois de um tempo, mas podem ser lembrados em alguma data especifica ou quando alguém diz algo que remeta a algum deles. Eles vão estar para sempre marcados em cadaum de nós leitores e serão sempre algo que nos ligará com vocês escritores e nos inspirarão.
Eu quero ser escritora… e já comecei um livro, estou escrevendo ainda e espero que um dia você também tenha curiosidade lê-lo e que eu cumpra a minha parte do trato e dê ao mundo uma boa história.

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Serena November 29, 2014 at 11:55 am

Hi Jhon. I’m a your big fan from Italy. I love your books and Looking For Alaska is my favourite. I really hope that you will write other books because for me you are a genius. In fact you had understanded what kinds of stories like at the teenagers all over the world. Thank you for all these books, they’re special and important for a lot of boys and girls. Thank you so much. Serena

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gracekh7 November 30, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Your work introduced me into the wonderful world of reading. I would read occasionally, but now I can’t seem to put the book down. I finished Looking for Alaska and it is by far the most incredible thing I have ever read. Woah the feelings that I experienced while reading it! I am frustrated and I feel somewhat confused. I expected Alaska’s death, but never the thoughts and questions that would come afterwards. I felt like I knew the characters. Like they were my friends, I don’t know. Your ability to make someone feel so much in just a story is amazing. Looking for Alaska has definitely given me different things to think about. I love this book. Thank you for doing what you do, John Green!

Grace

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Gracekh7 November 30, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Excuse me, typo hahah! *to

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Lydia November 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm

I love you book “Looking For Alaska.” It’s AMAZING! But, do you think that the book would totally change if was from Alaska’s perspective? How do you think the book would change? Also I am VERY excited to hear that it’s going to be a movie! When is it coming out and what will it be rated??? Just some questions. Hope you can answer. Thank you SO much!

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Elizabeth Grace December 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Think about it if it was in the way of Chip.

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Sofia Espínola November 30, 2014 at 10:39 pm

Amo el libro, admiro al escritor y estoy totalmente agradecida a mi primo por recomendarmelo. Es una historia realmente buena, llena de diversas emociones. Hay pensamientos nuevos que me surgieron a partir de lineas del libro, que al leerlas me dieron sensaciones geniales, y algunas se convirtieron en enseñanzas.
Pedazos de parrafos o algunos enteros como:
”Te pasas toda la vida atorado en el laberinto, pensando cómo vas a escapar de ahí algún día y qué fabuloso será; imaginar ese futuro te mantiene con vida, pero nunca te escapas, sólo utilizas el futuro para escapar del presente.”
”Porque somos tan indestructibles como queramos creerlo. Cuando los adultos dicen: ‘Los adolescentes piensan que son invencibles’ con esa sonrisa mañosa y estúpida en su rostro, no saben cuán en lo correcto están.”
”Ahora creo que somos más grandes que la suma de nuestras partes, si tomas el código genético de Alaska y añades sus experiencias y relaciones que tuvo con la gente y luego tomas el tamaño y la forma de su cuerpo, no la podrás concebir de nuevo. Habrá algo más del todo. hay una parte más grande que la suma de sus partes conocidas. Y esa parte se tiene que ir a algún lado, porque no se la puede destruir.”
Entre otras, me van a quedar marcadas para siempre.
Un libro inolvidable, de los mejores.
Gracias John Green por hacerme reír y llorar. Gracias por hacerme sentir viva. :)

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Elizabeth Grace December 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Mr.John Green,
I am not trying to be like Hazel Grace, but all of your books are truly amazing. “The Fault in Our Starts” and “Looking for Alaska” were amazing books as of right now I am reading “Looking for Alaska” and so far I’m drawn into it like a moth to a flame, a drug addict to the drug… I stayed up all night reading your books, I read “The Fault in Our Stars” 5 times in 3 days, thank you for writing these amazing books. Never stop.

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John_Green_Fan999 December 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm

umm just wondering but did you mean a different book title for one of the “looking for alaska” ?

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John_Green_Fan999 December 1, 2014 at 6:29 pm

What is the name of the alcohol/tobacco store where alaska buys her strawberry wine (in looking for alaska -obviously – )

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John_Green_Fan999 December 1, 2014 at 6:35 pm

I have no life, I was sad and depressed until I stumbled upon your books and they gave my mind something to do. Thank you for your help in the words you place on parchment

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Jenna December 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm

hello,
I know what your talking about. I was going though the same thing as you I was sad and depressed. my friend recommended the book to me and after reading this book the story it told just made me thing its time to change what I’m doing wrong.
Jenna

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John_Green_Fan999 December 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Thank you Jenna it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one :)

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Laínny Silva December 1, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Lendo tantos livros, um apos o outro, me deparo
com uma preciosidade dessas nas mãos Quem é Você Alasca? que, sinceramente, li em uma semana sozinha no meu silencioso quarto. Não sei quem realmente é John Green, mais sei que ele ja me fez suspirar muito através de sua escrita, e isso é bom. Espero de verdade conhecer esse tal de “João Verde” um dia haha, e poder dizer a ele que é fantástico.

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Poon December 3, 2014 at 1:44 am

very poopy

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Andrea December 4, 2014 at 2:07 pm

favorite book, I’ve read it at least 5 times! <3

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patricia December 5, 2014 at 3:25 am

Dear John Green,

There is something very special about the book Looking for Alaska. Not only because it is a good story but mostly because it teaches a lot about life lessons. Anyone and everyone can compare this book to any life situation. It’s not just a book to me. It will forever be apart of my life in an inspirational way, and for that I thank you so much. Without ever even meeting you I feel as if you have taught me so much. That is the beautiful thing about books and your book is so beautiful in every way. Your book has that effect to pull people out of their darkest days. I’m so glad to hear that teachers in schools are making kids read this book because they will gain an incredible amount of knowledge at such a young age. Again thank you so much, i appreciate your writing.

Sincerely Patricia Walsh

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mercedes December 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Dear John, is completly dificult to me write you in English, so, lets do this.
I love your books, recently (5 minits ago) I finished Looking for Alaska. AND YOU KILL HER, WHY???
Please answer this question. Is a order.

Sincerely, a fan.

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Fan December 11, 2014 at 1:54 am

Hey! Well, I really think you should read the book again (I’m not trying to be rude or anything) but I think you should do it. I read it twice and it was great, because the second time you read the book you see somethings that you didn’t in the first time you read, and you also think a lot more.
And I don’t even know why I am replying because I don’t think there’s an answer to your question, lol.

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Francesca December 7, 2014 at 5:51 pm

John Green I am the biggest fan on this book I enjoyed it thoroughly throughout and it answers or reffers many questions I have myself. The only thing on this book I didn’t like was that I thought it was too short! I honestly read this for hours on end and I would carry on if I could. I would like to ask you was this based on anything in your life that happened to you? When you wrote this were you thinking of Alaska as a sexy, beautiful character or a brainy, clever but also pretty character, if you only had one word to describe Alaska what would it be?

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Myra December 7, 2014 at 6:24 pm

Hi John Green, You have no idea of a fan I am!!! I read The Fault in our Stars and An Abundance of Katherines, 12x. Now I am currently read Looking For Alaska and it is AMAZING!!!!! I hope you can write more books soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But I do have a few questions for you. First, does Issac and Hazel (tfios) ever move on?? Also, is Hazel’s sickness getting worse? I hope you are able to answer these questions if you have time! Thank You!!!

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Kaitlyn December 9, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Hi John! I’m Kaitlyn and I own and have read all of your books(including Let It Snow) and not one of them have disappointed!

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John_Green_Fan999 December 18, 2014 at 10:00 am

Have you read ummmmmm…. Unicorn Zombie or Zombie Unicorn idk which way around it is lol? in johns desripton he says its bad lol but i still want to read it

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Danielle Lock December 10, 2014 at 11:44 am

Dear Green, hello!

I’m from Brazil and I just finished “Looking for Alasca”, or “Quem é você Alasca”, the name in portuguese.

I’m so sad that she died! I just cant beliave. I don’t know deal with a character that die in the middle! It’s so terrible… but I need an answer:

“Why JAKE didn’t went to the funeral????????” WHY?

I’m sad… It’s your falt… but you are brilliant!
I read ‘The fault is in our stars” and I also cried… Now I will start to read Paper Town and I really hope you had not killed anybody in these BOOK.

Kisses

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Paolo Laskero December 10, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Hello John,
Looking for Alaska is my favorite book. I think you are an absolute genius. I know that Sarah Polley is planning on making a movie of Looking for Alaska, but I was wondering if anyone has ever put on a theatre adaptation of your book?

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Maria December 11, 2014 at 1:49 am

This book is just… life! I mean, the characters are so human! They are teenagers, like real teenagers! John can describe them in a rare way, that society (adults) doesn’t seem to understand. Teenagers are so complex and people just, don’t get it. If you haven’t read it yet, I really think you should. John, you are a genius

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Tinkerbell December 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm

I loved this book, about 1/3 of the way through. In the early part it was slow? However, I felt determined to complete it and very glad I “got into it” later. I love to write myself, and am in graduate school; but not for writing. I wrote a blog and I want to print it out so that I can save it to write a book; but I can’t figure out how to print each page from Google so I can delete it. I was just so angry and frustrated, I just wrote. I think I better get rid of it.
It’s very true, but nonetheless, it’s a jacked-up story.

After a series of unfortunate events, I thought I would do everyone a favor and take my daughter’s liquid morphine (very high concentration in liquid form, because she is allergic to any other pain meds and had had her tonsils removed). I knowingly kept that medicine and figured exactly how much should do it. Now I bet it will be removed from pharmaceutical shelves forever, and I don’t know what my daughter will take have she any more surgeries.

Anyway, the point is, it didn’t work; obviously. I just wanted the pain to stop, I didn’t really want to die. Reading Looking for Alaska made me realize how the people who may love me more than I think, would have felt had that worked. They would wonder, “Why?” and still, no one would hear me. What’s the point? Why leave the world before my work is done because others have no insight?

We are taught to put on a face that is ‘happy.’ Just in case anyone feels like I did, I have vowed to let people know I love them.

Moving along; I married way to early. I didn’t even know myself. So, of course, my next statement is…that’s the source of the non-physical pain. Alaska was too young for much physical pain. She reminds me of me in HS or college. After I married young, I had two children, so I built a life upon a support of denial and emptiness, thus pain.

I am one of those 1% ‘s they talk about in medical books, you know the kind who makes every provider and nurse scramble like roaches under lights when you come out of the waiting room and down the hall, or leave a message on their voicemail?

I have been given more missed diagnoses than a corpse, but no one agrees on them and it DOES seem like no one cares. I am a ballerina-gone-nurse-gone-home-to-work girl, thanks to arthritis in my early 40′s. Husband, brother, kids, in-laws, doctors who have taken thousands of copays from me; I want to shake you and say, “No, this isn’t cancer, but it really sucks!”.

Hint: If your significant other doesn’t hurt when you hurt or care that you are sick or hurt mentally or physically; that’s a sign that there are no real feelings there. Back away from the truck! Many times if you step back, you will notice their whole family is that way. Don’t do it.

I was lost as a child like Alaska, with an alcoholic father and a mother in her own ultra-estrogenated, house-cleaning and cooking world. I always, and sometimes still do, see others’ lives as perfectly splendid. It’s just something that I started thinking as a kid; and though very blessed in some ways, life has been very hard in many others.

That’s what I saw in Alaska; and I am also always told I’m very liked, loved, beautiful, cute, funny, smart…blah, blah, blah. What I want though, I fear, is something I will never get and that is a sense of belonging.

Alaska. All. The. Way. I just never drank or drink like that; and I do smoke sometimes but alone. It’s a pain reliever. No, not pot; I don’t have that in my state. I mean nicotine, I truly think when I see a teenager smoke, they are maybe trying to look cool; but mostly, they hurt. Somewhere. Somehow. That’s my response to your smoking comment, Green. :)

Thanks for a great book. You have a way of writing that I am very fond of. I did NOT read the back until the end, BTW. Love the comment to the “Dude” who wanted to know the low-down on the characters. Nice answer!

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remicah December 17, 2014 at 9:46 am

wow this is a long comment

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Kaylyn Kegans December 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm

SPOILER:

John Green would describe Alaska as “DEAD sexy”.

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Carly DiGrande December 12, 2014 at 1:34 am

Just got done reading the book. It was beautiful. I especially enjoyed The Fault In Our Stars, which kept me company this summer while I was camping at Lake George. You make tragedy and hopelessness blossom into a spectacular restoration of faith that manifests itself through your writing. Thank you.

I would just like to ask – Who influenced Alaska and if
not anyone, how did u decide to make her so tastefully endearing? You left me craving more of her.

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Arthur December 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Looking for alaska was an amazing book i really loved it it also shows a life lesson shows what being drunk can do to you and make you think and do this book was so amazing for me so i suggested it to my english teacher and she said if we had a classroom set we could read it but we dont.

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Isla December 17, 2014 at 2:38 am

Hi, this weekend is pleasant in support of me, as this occasion i am reading this wonderful educational post here at my home.

webpage (Isla)

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alysha December 17, 2014 at 9:53 am

hi I am in English class right now and its boring but I just wanted to say that the book is really good and made me realise a lot. ok bye

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alysha long December 17, 2014 at 9:55 am

HEY.

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Dara December 19, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Thank you for making Alaska Young alive.

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Ashley December 20, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Hello John, I’m a big fan of your books, I’ve read Looking For Alaska, The Fault In Our Stars, I’m reading the beginning of Paper Towns, and I haven’t gotten to your part of the book in Let It Snow. I’m also getting An Abundance Of Katherine’s and Will Grayson Will Grayson for Christmas. But reading this book has really changed me. Like most novels people just fall in love and live happily ever after. But in this book it’s a totally different story. It makes me ponder on the thoughts of afterlife and “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth,” to me its simple. I do believe in God and Heaven and all of that but sometimes I think we make some things up to numb the pain of loss just for a little longer. Just to feel hope. When we lose a person, we all have a feeling of hopelessness and sometimes we crave it but sometimes we want it to go away. And to make it go away, we don’t necessarily make it go away (if that makes any sense) we just numb it like we numb a tooth before we get it pulled. And just finishing this book from 5 minutes ago I’ve thought long and hard about the actual answer of hope and afterlife and death etc. Like I said it’s simple, there just isn’t an answer and there isn’t a way out of the labyrinth.

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