Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
New York Times bestseller
Miles “Pudge” Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.”
Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.
John Green’s stunning debut marks the arrival of a stand-out new voice in young adult fiction.
An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers
A 2005 Booklist Editors’ Choice
A Kirkus Best Book of 2005
A 2005 SLJ Best Book of the Year
A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
“What sets this novel apart is the brilliant, insightful, suffering but enduring voice of Miles Halter.” –Chicago Tribune
“Funny, sad, inspiring, and always compelling.” –Bookpage
“Stunning conclusion . . . one worthy of a book this good.” –Philadelphia Inquirer
“The spirit of Holden Caulfield lives on.” –Kliatt
“What sings and soars in this gorgeously told tale is Green’s mastery of language and the sweet, rough edges of Pudge’s voice. Girls will cry and boys will find love, lust, loss and longing in Alaska’s vanilla-and-cigarettes scent.” Kirkus, starred review
“Miles’s narration is alive with sweet, self-deprecating humor, and his obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully adds to his believability. Like Phineas in John Knowles’s 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.” –SLJ, starred review
“…Miles is a witty narrator who manages to be credible as the overlooked kid, but he’s also an articulate spokesperson for the legions of teen searching for life meaning (his taste for famous last words is a believable and entertaining quirk), and the Colonel’s smarts, clannish loyalties, and relentlessly methodological approach to problems make him a true original….There’s a certain recursive fitness here, since this is exactly the kind of book that makes kids like Miles certain that boarding school will bring them their destiny, but perceptive readers may also realize that their own lives await the discovery of meaning even as they vicariously experience Miles’ quest.” –Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
“Readers will only hope that this is not the last word from this promising new author.” –Publishers Weekly
“John Green has written a powerful novel—one that plunges headlong into the labyrinth of life, love, and the mysteries of being human. This is a book that will touch your life, so don’t read it sitting down. Stand up, and take a step into the Great Perhaps.”
—K.L. Going, author of Fat Kid Rules the World, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book
Orlando, Florida and Birmingham, Alabama
For a little while, I wanted to be an earthworm scientist. But from about the age of six on, I wanted to write.
Desert island book?
My favorite books _about_ a desert island is “Lord of the Flies.” The book I’d take to a desert island would be “The Collected Works of Shakespeare,” because it is long (and therefore excellent kindling) and can be read again and again.
Where do you write?
In a little office off of our bedroom.
What made you decide to write Looking for Alaska?
I always wanted to write a novel, but I guess I started writing that particular one because I was thinking a lot about loss.
What would you like readers to learn from Miles?
I’m not sure I want anyone to learn anything from reading my books necessarily, but I do hope that Miles’ story gets readers thinking seriously about what our values and priorities should be.
What adjectives would you use to describe Looking for Alaska?
Oh jeez. I’ll leave that to the critics. I like it a lot when people call it “salingeresque” and “funny” and “not too long.”
“New Partner,” by the Palace Brothers
Favorite item of clothing?
My lucky boxers. i was wearing them when I got engaged, when I got married, and when I won the Printz Award. (And no, I do not wear them every day.)
Getting married, I think. Publishing a book is extremely difficult, but getting married is–at least in my experience–even more difficult.
Most embarrassing moment?
One time I got into thee separate car accidents (all minor) with three separate cars during a 12-hour period, and the same police officer showed up at the scene of all three accidents. I was pretty embarrassed when I saw her for the third time in an day.
Smartest thing you ever did?
The smartest thing I ever did was choosing to go to boarding school.
Either: “amor vincit omnia, et nos cedamus amori.” (Love conquers all, and so we shall yield to it.)
Or: “illigitimis non caroborundum” (Don’t let the bastards get you down.)
Or: I go to seek a great perhaps