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

{ 1656 comments… read them below or add one }

Olivia June 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Honestly one the best books I have ever read, heard about it over the internet, and went out and got it and I picked it up on Sunday night and had finished it by Monday night, could not put it down, cover to cover, a gripping and fabulous story line.
This then hooked me on John Green and I am now almost at the end of The Fault In Our Stars, which is another fabulous read
I recommended Looking for Alaska to my friend and I now have her gripped too, and she’s reading Paper Towns and we plan to swap at the end
I would recommend this book to anybody who asks, (and even if they don’t ask, I’ll recommend it anyway) such a brilliant writer who is totally ‘down with the kids’, I will be forever reading John Green from now on.

Reply

Anna June 28, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I LOVE looking for alaska… I just finished reading it and wow… The last time I cried so much when n carector died was in Johnny… I may only be 14 but i know that stuff like that happends… People do just POOF fanish… It happend to a teacher i was very fond of a few years ago… And its true.. You will forget people who were close to you who died… it happens… Sigh… I’m so gunna read it again…. Just cause i can…

Reply

Abbey June 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Exactly how I feel!!

Reply

Justyna August 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Yes! I’m 14 too and i loved the book!

Reply

Abbey June 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm

I’ve read “Looking For Alaska”, start to finish about 12 times now and I never get sick of it. It never fails to make me laugh and cry at the same time. By far THE greatest book I have ever read.

Reply

Anne-Marie August 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Agreed!

Reply

Sasha June 29, 2012 at 12:44 am

Green,
Your work astounds me in every way, I fucking hate when old people write teenage books that try to relate to teenagers. In my opinion it turns out horrible and so cliche, but in your book is perfect. Truly brilliant, better than any other fucking lame romance books that are#1. This is in my top 24 list
Thank you
Sasha

Reply

Aya June 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Can it really be considered a “romance book”, though?

Pardon my /abrasiveness/, but I doubt that the novel was centered around Pudge and Alaska’s lovey-dovey endeavors.

Reply

Erin July 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

To be honest I think what makes it such a good romance, is because it wasn’t all about there love, because she had a boyfriend even though he was madly in love with her, and what makes it so good is because it’s also about other stuff – it isn’t centred around their romance, but it is about romance.

Reply

Anne-Marie August 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

I totally agree with Erin. Couldn’t have said it better.

Reply

Ivy August 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm

I agree to that. Not ramance, more like tradgedy, like Romeo and Juliet

Reply

Kelsey June 30, 2012 at 1:42 am

Looking for Alaska is my all time favorite book <3. I'm re-reading it right now and no matter how many times I re-read, I will always dread the last few moments before Alaska dies :(. Anyways, this book is beautiful and your other books are amazing as well :).

Reply

Aya June 30, 2012 at 2:24 am

Hmm. Well, I don’t know how to put this lightly…but when I read “Looking for Alaska”, I disliked it. The lavish praise heaped on it by my young female companions only served to further taint my opinion of your book. Why, I asked myself, are these fans so hooked on a book that makes such adolescent mishaps as drinking, smoking, and recklessly making out seem cool, edgy, and /deep/? Why are the main characters so pretentious and pseudo-intelligent if they’re at the same time murdering their precious developing frontal lobes with excessive alcohol and the like?

I recounted this bitter opinion of mine to a friend (who happened to be a fan of the novel), and she told me that I was looking at the book through the wrong lens. She stated that the book was not, in fact, about a teenage journey to understanding by means of substance abuse and sexual exploration, as I had previously maintained, but that it was a realistic, gritty portrayal of the impact that a person’s death can have. I was speechless at this, because I realized that I had completely missed this central theme as I was reading.

I realize now, thanks to my friend, that “Looking for Alaska” is indeed poignant and well-structured…a story about the grieving process that doesn’t sugar-coat a thing. I still can’t say that this book is a favorite of mine by any means, but I do commend you on your writing, good sir.

Hope you actually get to read this mini-essay. Toodles!

Reply

Dunn Neugebauer July 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Just finished “Alaska” for the second time and loved it even better than the first. I teach/coach/write sports at a high school in Atlanta so, being around kids every day, I feel Green’s work hits the nail on the head. I found it impossible not to fall in love with Alaska, to die a little inside when she died and to be pulled in by the author’s great writing.
Anyway, great work John Green and keep on writing! You’re good at what you do.

Reply

Alexis July 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm

I got this book 5 days ago and I have already read it twice. It took me 3 days the first time and I immediately started it again and finished it in 2 days. Time to finish it in 1 day!

Reply

Caro July 3, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I think this book is just amazing. It is the best book I ever read. I can’t stop reading it over and over again because I love every part of it

Reply

Lillie July 6, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I believe John Green to be one of the most remarkable authors I’ve read. I admire his ambitious hunger for knowledge while I can’t ever manage to remain conscious during a history lesson. He reminds his young readers not to fear life or death, but embrace everything they have to offer.
I silently confide in his book “Looking for Alaska” due to the facts that I have committed almost every crime against behaved adolescence there may be. We teens poison our brains, hollow our lungs, bruise our mouths, and much more at the young ages of thirteen, but this book reminded me that the acceptance of all regrets is what will get us though the night.
This book hit close to home for me and I can not stop re-reading it. My mother condemned it to be a cheap imitation of “The Catcher in the Rye” and I have yet to judge this statement

Reply

Dina July 7, 2012 at 6:15 am

This is one of the most wonderful books I have ever read. I’ve read it over and over and over again. It is breathtaking.

Reply

Sarah-kay July 8, 2012 at 12:07 am

This book changed my life and I mean that. I used to put aside all thoughts of the afterlife and this book really opened my mind. I remember reading one part and everything just clicked in my head. I realized that I was not going to be on the earth forever and neither is anyone I know. Instead of living for others, I started living for myself and doing what i wanted to do. I keep asking myself, like in the book, “how do i escape this labyrinth?” I haven’t found an answer yet, but I plan on finding the answer. I have read it more then once and tell all my friends to read it, twice, three times. I even plan on naming my child Alaska due to this book. Thank you, thank you.

Reply

Margaret July 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Looking for Alaska is my favorite book of all time. I relate to it in so many ways, and I’m so glad I found it. My friend and I talk about it all the time. I love it!

Reply

Harriet July 10, 2012 at 7:48 am

Throughout the first half of the book I kept thinking to myself – this is a good book: I would pay £6.99 for it, but it’s not my all time favourite book. I’ve also just realised that it reminds me strongly of The Catcher in the Rye (which I would recommend). I got to page 165 and I reached the words “something terrible has happened” and BAM. I felt as though I knew Alaska myself and I was mourning for her. I couldn’t stop the tears spilling down my face. I’ve never been so moved. I have only ever cried twice during a novel. Once when I read the hunger games purely because I was being soppy. And the second time was reading Looking For Alaska. A book has never made me feel so sad. Thank you John Green.

Reply

Jude Ryan July 11, 2012 at 10:31 pm

I teach literature at a community college, and I often have my students read Catcher in the Rye. I think the link between the books is somewhat tenuous except that both are coming of age stories and both cross social barriers. The words above are NOT a criticism. This is a great book, a lovely book, and one that should not be relegated to the category of “young adult” fiction any more than Catcher would be. I think it will be widely read for a very long time. The structure of the book is truly remarkable, an accomplishment that is not a gimmick, but a clear and important way to present the art. I cannot imagine a better way to have structured the novel. Even more, the book is provocative in the most important of ways: it provokes thought. Thank you.

Reply

Lily July 12, 2012 at 12:18 am

This book is literally my favourite book. A beautiful piece of writing, thank you so much John (:

Reply

Bryan July 13, 2012 at 1:05 am

So I noticed most of the people who have read “Looking For Alaska” are girls but i was tole to read it. Honestly the best book I’ve ever read and i want more. I’m reading “An Abundance of Katherines” and so far I like it. John Green you are an amazing author!!!

Reply

Aya July 13, 2012 at 1:21 am

IT’S A MALE.

Reply

Casey Ann July 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

SOMEBODY ALERT THE MEDIA.

Reply

ANJEZA July 13, 2012 at 4:12 am

UN JAM ANJEZA DHE ALKETA

Reply

Nina July 15, 2012 at 11:34 pm

This book was amazing. I have made a mental note to go back thru and high-light all of the quotes I found interesting. Green is now one of my favorite authors. I have recommended this book to a few people, and I have offered to even read it aloud to one of my best friends. John Green is a fantastic writer and I can not wait to read more of his work!

Reply

Rachel July 19, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I just wanted to let you know that your book truly inspired me and might have even changed my life. I have been going through a very hard time lately. For over a year I wasn’t feeling like myself, I lost motivation to do anything (especially the things I used to really enjoy, such as reading, writing, art), and I guess I just felt really down all the time about everything. I read your book, though, and it inspired a sort of change in me. It made me want to start really living and enjoying life again. The book talks a lot about death and suffering, but that’s not really what stood out to me. What I took from your book is that death and suffering are a part of life, a part of everyone’s life, and we have no control over that. But just because we can’t control it doesn’t mean we should let it control us, and we should learn to keep moving forward and get as much out of life as we can, to live as much as we can. I’m not sure if that was one of your intended messages, but it really moved me. Each of your characters were relateable in some aspect, despite all the varying personalities, I think we’ve all got a bit of Pudge in us (yearning for a “Great Perhaps”), a bit of Chip in us (driven, wanting to take what you have and make the most you can out of it), a bit of Alaska in us (broken, torn between maybe not a love but a passion for life, and an ever looming suffering, wanting to do everything right but feeling like you do everything wrong, stuck in your own head, etc), and a bit of every other character as well. And everything they go through and learn can teach everyone a lot about life and hope and suffering and loss and death and living. Ever since I finished reading Looking for Alaska (the first time), I’ve been inspired to make the most out of every day I get. Thank you so much for inspiring me to look for my own Great Perhaps, and thank you for giving me a beautiful story and characters that (I’m sure) will stay with me forever.

Reply

Nancy August 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm

i felt the exact same way until i read his book. it teaches us zo many perspectives and is just overall amazing writing. and the characters will. that is how much talent he has.

Reply

Emily Danielle July 21, 2012 at 2:10 am

Looking for Alaska is simply genius. I can’t think of any other way to describe its character besides “utter genius”. I’ve read it three times now, and not a single time has it failed to make me laugh, cry, hurt, and relate in so many ways. I feel like anyone can enjoy and relate to this book. It’s my favorite book. Let’s get real, all of John Green’s books are my favorites. Bless Nerd Fighteria.
Thank you for existing, John Green.

Reply

D July 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

John,
This book was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
I have a hypothesis that Margo from Paper Towns is based on Alaska.
You are a truly amazing author.
Never stop writing!
- D

Reply

Emma July 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm

John,
I have just recently finished reading Looking for Alaska, and because I am the kind of person who feels the need to do these things, I needed to tell you how much I aprecciate the book.
1) It was wonderfully written. I have a very hard time reading things that are poorly composed, or that have a monotonous style. However, Looking for Alaska was neither of those things. It was clean cut, but engaging.
2) The plot was great. Somehow it did not register to me that Alaska would end up the way she did (I was having an off day) so that actually took me by surprise.
3) The book’s conclusion (in Pudge’s final essay) let many peices of my own mind click into place that had been waiting to do so. Through my own personal fights with depression and other mental illness, I have been looking for something which would effect my mind and ultimately my life in the way Looking for Alaska has done. I feel more complete as a person for having read it.
In conclusion, John, I am nothing special. I am a 14 year old girl from the state of Maine, who has found a missing piece of herself through the book you wrote. I would almost promise you that there will come a day, and likely sooner than later, that reading the last 20 pages of your novel will literally save my life. So here I am, thanking you for that, even though I know it is painfully unlikely you will ever read this. But if you do, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for showing me a path out of my labyrinth.
(p.s. I’m sorry for any misspellings in this post)
(p.s.s. I also apologise for double-posting this. I had a technologically-challenged moment, and now here we are.)

Reply

kylie August 11, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Emma! i am 14 , i suffered from depression too, this book also saved my life. I hope you reply to this so I can contact you because I would love to talk about his books with someone!

Reply

Maggie July 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I heard so much about this book online, and I finally just had to read it! I couldn’t find it anywhere in my town, so I went online and sat down one night to read it.
And I didn’t stop. I couldn’t stop. This book was so full of inspiration and it there was something just so strong about it. I still cannot even fathom how it took my breath away. It was just one of those things that will blow your mind and leave it blown. I definately recommend this book, to everyone. And thank you, to John, for giving me this masterpiece.

Reply

Tom July 24, 2012 at 8:37 am

I just noticed so few men have read this book, it amazed me and really struck home, It lifted me and crushed me in ways I forgot books can get to you, I’m so glad I read this, now on to Paper towns

Reply

Jessica July 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I began reading Looking For Alaska. I can now say that I am over joyed that I took the time to read such an amazing story. I have only read Two books of John Green, TFIOS and LFA, and I can proudly say John green is an amazing writer and story teller and has quickly became one of my favorite authors. I am definitely reading his other books!

Reply

Yeyoung July 31, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Well… what can I say about this book?
First I started watching the vlogbrothers videos. Then I read TFioS. Then determined to read more of your books, I went to the library and found Looking for Alaska.
At first the book kind of horrified me, to be honest. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m a naive Christian girl raised in a conservative Asian family, but the amount of… mature content scared me. But I kept on reading anyways, partly because the book was still interesting (your amazing writing?) and partly because I knew that you’re an amazing author.
And you proved me right on “the last day”.
What surprised me a lot was how much I had bonded with the characters. They were totally different from me, but I had still cared about the characters. Alaska was probably the opposite of me in almost every way, but I still felt incredibly sad when I realized that she’d died.
Thank you for writing such amazing thoughtful honest books.

Reply

john figure August 1, 2012 at 4:52 am

I don’t like reading much, this is the first novel i have read so far. And it did not fail to capture my attention. i just wanted to travel back to time when i was in high school! :| i just wanted it so bad, to walk with the experiences of Miles Halter and the ever mysterious Alaska Young. Credits to Mr. Green.

Reply

Mary August 4, 2012 at 8:15 am

JOHN! I read Looking for Alaska in 2 days and I cried (havent cried over a book in years) and uh, my name is Mary Young. Hahaha, i freaked out when i saw that in there.

Reply

Sean August 8, 2012 at 4:33 am

I read this book around three months ago as the last John Green book I shall read (until he comes out with a new one) and I loved it.

But alas, unfortunately I lost the book at school before I could finish it and I tried to find it, but it is still missing (I guess you could say I was looking for Looking for Alaska, too bad I didn’t lose it in Alaska) and I’m not sure when I will be able to get my hands on another copy

So until then, I will not know whether Alaska’s death was suicide, mistake or MURDER

*sigh*

Reply

Richard A. Herman August 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm

As a writer and having attained to crusty age of seventy-seven, I thought it was more than time for me to finally read a YA book. Thank goodness the title and cover drew me to Looking For Alaska. My advanced maturity did not stand in the way of empathizing with Pudge, The Colonel, et al, characters brought fully to life by John Green. Not only was it a most enjoyable and engaging read, but it brought me back, in flashes, some sixty years. A strong story with real people. Thank you John Green for two things. First, for a most enjoyable and well crafted tale and then for convincing me to stay in my own genre, because I could never hope to be as good in YA as John. Write on!

Reply

D August 15, 2012 at 10:42 am

I had a wonderful dream last night. John and Hank Green came to my house, took a picture with me, and JOhn signed my copy of LFA and TFiOS.
BEST. DREAM. EVER.

Reply

Jenny August 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm

By far the greatest book I’ve ever read. I found by complete accident looking for another book which I read after and it was awful. I didn’t want to share it with anyone I felt that if i did it would lose its magic. So it sits on my shelf with its broken spine (I’ve read it over and over) Im never sharing it! MINE

Reply

T August 18, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I liked looking for alaska when she was alive, obviously, but when she died, i was so shocked. I mean come on!!! Im not a hater of this book i actually loved it so much i didnt want to relive the accident. Looking for alaska was actually the first book by John Green that i read. Now hes one of my favorite authors

Reply

Keelin August 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

I heard about Looking for Alaska on weheartit.com and fell so in love with the quotes i was reading I had to buy it! It took me 8 hours and i NEVER.
Left.The Book.Down. I have since read Paper Towns and The fault in our Stars two more astonishing books. However, looking for Alaska is by far my favorite and I often have fantasy where i am but in scenario’s just like Alaska and Miles. LFA should be made into a movie ASAP! Truly amazing, truly.

Reply

Chris August 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

This book is amazing. It made me feel like i was Miles, and when Alaska went poof i felt like i had lost a good friend.

Reply

EnzoXPH August 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Its like somebody wrote my life in a book. Wow.

Reply

Madi August 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm

This book changed my life, showed me how to live. I thank you so much for writing this because it made me realize how much i want to be a writer. Thank you
-Madi

Reply

Jakleen Yaqoob August 26, 2012 at 1:31 pm

The books was great, it showed you don’t know how much you love and miss that friend until you lose them. I tried to compare the book with movie that I have seen similar to the story and it would be great if there was a second book about their senior year or a movie.

Reply

Nancy August 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I LOVED THIS BOOK SO DANG MUCH. I READ IT FOR SUMMER READING AND LET ME TELL YOU, IT WAS ROCKIN. I WOULD RECOMEND IT TO EVERYONE BUT SINCE I DON’T KNOW EVERYONE I WIL RECOMEND TO EVERY1 I DO KNOW AND THEN THE WORD WILL SPREAD AND THEN SOON PLATIPI WILL BE READING THEM. JOHN GREEN COME TO FREMD IN PALATINE IL.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11

Reply

Dalia August 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Looking for Alaska was and still one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life, It was the first book by John Green that I read and it’s my favorite so far. Thank you for writing such an inspiring in a very easy way to connect with.

Reply

savage August 31, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I prefer John Green’s comedies to his tragedies, but this still took my breath away. It’s brutally honest and touching and it makes me want to go to a boarding school and have the experience of a lifetime. i’m still trying to find away to escape the labyrinth.

Reply

Saffy September 8, 2012 at 11:54 am

can definietly say this is one of THE best books i have had! words can’t discribe how awesome it was. recommended it to my friend and i am now reading over her shoulder. Obviously to read it once, it wasn’t enough. MIND BLOWN

Reply

Chevonne September 19, 2012 at 1:55 am

I have no words after i ahve read this book other than i now know how to get out of this labrynth… forgivness. The fastest i have ever read a book is in 2 weeks i finished this book in a day and half, i woke early and went to sleep so late just to read. Ive only ever cryed to a few movies like the notebook or the titanic but never over a boom except looking for alaska. I cryed so much i started to get a headache. Im so enlightened. thank you for writing such beauty :)

Reply

Charlotte September 21, 2012 at 12:38 am

This is the best book I have ever read hands down, I would love to see a movie. Will that ever happen?!!

Reply

Shannon September 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Absolutely hooked on this book, couldn’t put it down from the moment I got it. John Green is a pure genius author and his words just capture you and really make you feel like you know the characters. I am only 15 but it is hands down the best book I have read, I am yet to read his others but I am so excited, I have recommended it to all my friends and they are also now a huge John Green fan. Don’t think I have cried that much over a book, I just hope his other books are just as amazing, if yet better!

Reply

Ayana September 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Looking For Alaska has been my favorite book for years. And I really must say, I’m conflicted. I feel like Hazel in The Fault In Our Stars: I don’t want to share it. Then again, at the same time, I want more people to read your books, because the books deserve to be read. I wish I could make up my mind.

Reply

wassim bassil October 3, 2012 at 2:12 am

First of all, I want to thank my friend for introducing me to this book, as he did to the previous one (another writer) which I also fell in love with.
It is hard to break a bond with the characters expecting to move on once you close the book, and I realize that I’m proving the Buddhism point of everything building up to eventually falling apart, but I would like to think that nothing is falling apart and that the characters I just met are out there and Alaska is somehow within each of us, at least that unhappy yet exciting part of her, and that I feel sorry for her, for being lost in that labyrinth at such a young age. I just wish I was one of her close friends so i would have consoled her and somehow prevented that accident that night, but I guess things happen for a reason without that none of the other guys would have found hope.

Reply

Emma D. October 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I have read this book over and over. Every time I re-read it, I’m always amazed at how powerful it is. This book has given me a sense of purpose. I shouldn’t just sit around and do nothing. I have to go out and find my Great Perhaps. Who knows, maybe it will take forever, but I’ll never stop searching. Thank you for that.
P.S. I would read your grocery list any day.

Reply

Molly October 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm

I have taken my life for granted. This book inspired me to fight my depression. I deserve a life. So, I’m taking mine back. I’ll find my Great Perhaps, I believe that.
Thank you for reminding me to have hope.

Reply

Leave a Comment