Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Cosette, Staff

Reading Time: 2 minutes

So . . . this is basically Looking for Margo 2.0, right?

2 stars.

Look. I’m pretty sure we all remember the days when every teenage girl on the planet was weeping over The Fault in our Stars, proclaiming that this was the best book ever!”, and that they would “chop off their right arm for Augustus Waters to have survived (oops, spoiler), yada, yada, yada. Now, I know what you’re thinking. This is a Looking for Alaska review, what are you even doing? Ranting, that’s what I’m doing, but I’m getting somewhere with this, I promise. Just sit down and hear me out.

Alright, so I read The Fault in our Stars with exceedingly high expectations, and . . . more on this in a later review. The thing is, everyone has been praising John Green. I’ve heard the most ridiculous things from John Green fans: about how he’s the greatest author of this generation, that his characters are #relatable, and that he’s just fantastic.

Hahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahhahaha. It’s currently 8:00 in the morning, I’m sick, writing about John Green, and laughing through my pain is literally my only coping mechanism at this point.

We’ve already established that John Green does not deserve even a fraction of the successes and fame that he’s earned (if you want to argue about this, I’ll kindly remind you of the good ol’ Twilight days), but why is that, Cosette?

It’s because he, in my opinion, is notorious for recycling every story he uses. Looking for Alaska is about a boy, who might be named Miles, or something like that, who goes to a boarding school. Miles (“Pudge.” I looked it up, you’re welcome) has a weird quirk: he’s infatuated with the last words of dead people. He meets a bunch of older kids at his school who are really terrible, stereotypical influences, including the mysterious Alaska Young. To quote from the blurb—actual words John Green wrote— “The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive (*wakes up* wait), screwed up (um . . .), and utterly fascinating Alaska Young (what).”

The thing about this book that annoys me the most is that Alaska is clearly suicidal and needs help, yet every time she says something concerning, Pudge interprets her subtle calls for help as “mysterious.” No. This is a horrible message. Depression and suicide should not be romanticized. It’s not cute, it’s not sexy, she’s not doing it to “mystify” you, Pudge. Mental illness is a complete mess, and you need to support people going through this. Get this girl to rehab, pronto, and stop dreaming about her freaking eyes.

*exhales* *fixes disheveled hair* Okay.

Honestly, if you compare this book to Paper Towns, it’s the exact same thing. Shy, strange boy with an odd quirk meets “fascinating” manic-pixie-dream girl. All of John’s characters either sound like 40 year-olds pretending to be teenagers, or the guys with lung cancer who, instead of having actual personalities or something, because God forbid that, spend their days peer pressuring the main character into ruining his life (but doesn’t show the consequences of things like STDs, of course) just so John can get in his higher word count. (Speaking of which, why is he constantly writing about characters who smoke? He literally wrote a book about why this isn’t the best idea.) Then somebody probably dies for absolutely no reason other than to have something actually happen. Everything’s unnecessary and stupid, and the book ends with me seen banging my head against a brick.

*casually sips tea while ignoring all the death threats I’ll probably get from his fans*