Monthly Archives: January 2015

Book Review: Looking for Alaska

lookingalaskaTitle: Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green
Release Date: March 2005
Rating: 3.5/5

Looking for Alaska is the coming of age story of Miles Halter, a lonely sixteen-year-old who is obsessed with last words and is in search of the Great Perhaps. He has lived in Florida with his parents his entire life and has never really experienced life or made any friends. In search of an adventure, Miles decides to move to Alabama and attend the same boarding school that his father did, Culver Creek. At Culver Creek, Miles becomes roommates with Chip, also known as the Colonel, who is a small guy with a large brain. He is best friends with a girl named Alaska, an incredibly moody and reckless sixteen-year-old who helps Chip teach Miles how to drink, smoke, pull pranks, and get a girlfriend. Miles begins to feel like a teenager as he experiences love, lust, and friendship for the first time, until a tragedy shakes Culver Creek. This event devastates Miles and those around him. Miles and Chip begin to investigate the cause of this tragedy and both must learn to cope with the loss.

Looking for Alaska is divided into two parts: Before and After. Without spoiling the novel, a tragedy occurs in January at Culver Creek, deeply affecting Miles and the entire school. The book is written from the perspective of Miles and the reader is privy to many of his philosophical musings throughout the book, both before and after the tragedy. I thought that Miles was very similar to Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye, especially after the unfortunate event.

I don’t know if I really loved any of the characters in this novel. Miles could get a bit depressing and preachy at times, but I thought that his growth through the novel seemed authentic. Chip was the planner in the group and although he came from humble beginnings, he was very ambitious and intelligent. He might have been the only character who had any goals for after high school. Lara and Takumi were just kind of place holders throughout the story and Green didn’t really develop these characters much. Then, there’s the character in which the title refers to: Alaska Young. She is intelligent, sarcastic, incredibly feminist, and horribly moody. As Miles spends more time with Alaska, her depression becomes apparent, but he seems to fall even more in love with her. The love that Miles feels for Alaska seems slightly superficial, as it is mostly based off of her looks, and he admits numerous times that he doesn’t really know her. After Green reveals more about Alaska’s past, it is easy to sympathize with her and it kind of explains why she acts the way she does. Still, she could be very unpredictable and even Miles and Chip found her to be annoying at times.

This novel includes some mature themes that may not be appropriate for younger readers. There is smoking, drinking, sexual situations, and foul language throughout the book. These situations may be things that older teenagers deal with, but I would not recommend it to anyone who has not yet entered high school. I think that older teenagers and young adults will be able to appreciate the content more than someone who is younger.

Looking for Alaska was a quick and easy read and I did like it, but I don’t think it was as good as Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.  Looking for Alaska could get a bit heavy into the philosophical and religious quandaries of the protagonist, Miles. I do enjoy the way Green writes, though, and I found the book to be very well written. If you are interested in a fun read and you enjoy Green’s style of writing, I would recommend this.

If you have read Looking for Alaska, I would love to hear your thoughts as well. To view Looking for Alaska on Amazon, please click here.

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New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!

At the start of every New Year, there are two different types of people.

The first type of people are those who find New Year’s resolutions to be a waste of time. This group of people may have tried setting New Year’s resolutions in the past and since these past resolutions were never achieved, these people don’t feel it pertinent to set more resolutions. Some people may feel that New Year’s resolutions are too stressful and simply choose not to participate.

The second type of people are those who do make New Year’s resolutions. This group of people may set very lofty goals in hopes of having their best year yet. As noble as most of these people are, only a small percentage of people are able to achieve their New Year’s resolutions by the next December. This, however, does not stop this group from trying.

Whether you like New Year’s resolutions or not, we can all admit that they are notoriously made to be broken. There are several reasons why New Year’s resolutions don’t come to full fruition, but if you are able to change your goal setting style, your New Year’s resolutions just might become a reality in 2015.

Be specific.

Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions that are made are very broad and general: lose weight, save money, etc. Since these resolutions are so broad, it makes them very hard to achieve because it leaves the person without a place to begin. In order to make your resolution achievable, you must think more specifically in order to give yourself a plan to follow.

If you want to lose weight in the new year, get specific. If you state that you want to lose twenty pounds by exercising three days a week, this gives you a much clearer plan and will make your resolution more achievable. The same technique can be used in writing. If your goal is to write more in 2015, get specific. Saying that you want to write more in 2015 by writing at least 500 words every day will give you a better idea of what you can do in order to reach your goal.

Don’t get discouraged.

Most New Year’s resolutions are big, life changing goals that cannot be achieved in a month. However, many people seem to give up on their resolutions after January ends if they haven’t started to see results. Remember, these are New Year’s resolution, meaning that you have all year to complete them. If you stumble a few times, don’t count it as a loss. A lot can change in twelve months and even if your resolution isn’t complete in January, it’s not time to give up. Stick to your resolutions and you’ll have a higher chance of completing them.

Be realistic.

The last thing that you want your New Year’s resolutions to do is to stress you out. However, setting goals that are absolutely out of reach will lead to nothing but aggravation. New Year’s resolutions such as winning the lottery are unrealistic and not left up to you. Make sure that you are in control of your New Year’s resolutions. Instead of winning the lottery, set a goal for yourself to improve your performance at work in order to get a raise or promotion. If you make resolutions that you are capable of achieving, the likelihood of you achieving them goes up. Don’t leave your resolutions up to chance or to someone else.

New Year’s resolutions can be intimidating, but make sure to having some fun with them. They don’t necessarily have to be self improvement based, as so many popular ones seem to be. Planning a trip to a destination you’ve never been to before or reading every book off of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Books of All Time list are examples of resolutions that can be fun and you will still feel a sense of achievement by completing them.

If you have your New Year’s resolutions set, I wish you the best of luck! Feel free to share your resolutions in the comments. To all of those who are reading, I wish you a Happy New Year!

Until next week,

Debbie