Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars (Interesting, nearly relevant too.)
Genre: Young Adult
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: December 28, 2006
Page Count: 225 p.
Add it: Goodreads
Miles is interested in the last words of dead people. He wants to seek the "Great Perhaps" that Francois Rabelais spoke of and thinks the best place to start is at a boarding school. So he packs up and moves South to Culver Creek. Here he meets the Colonel and Alaska Young. The Colonel is Miles' roommate and Alaska is everything Miles never knew he wanted. Even through her ups and downs, Miles is obsessed with her. At first he thinks that maybe boarding school isn't as exciting as it could be, but soon enough things start to change. Miles finds that a lot will happen to him at boarding school, more than he cares for. He might even find a glimpse into that "Great Perhaps".
Alaska is the very first quirky girl we get introduced to by John Green. She has her ups and downs, and plenty of flaws but she just has something about her that draws people into her. She is definitely a Mood Swing Queen though. One minute she's super high and the next super low, maybe it's the drinking, but it's probably just how she is. She was an interesting character, when she was on the page you knew something would transpire; good or bad you didn't know, but something. Then you have Miles, sort of geeky, but mostly just plain. He was a cool kid though. I would like to hang out with him. I would know a lot of famous people's dying words. It is a fascinating subject. It amuses me that he only reads their biographies though, without reading anything they wrote. The Colonel was a good guy too. I didn't really expect him to be so smart, but the boarding school was a bit more school than hang-out place. Their three personalities melded together really well. It was nice how easily Miles slid into place with Alaska and the Colonel. There were other characters, and they were pretty good, but these are the ones I grew to love because I saw them more often.
The only thing that sort of bugged me was the countdown. I knew in my gut what it was counting down to, and I was just waiting for it. Then about halfway there I began thinking that it had to be something else, it couldn't possibly be what I thought. It was just a bit predictable, but it made you hope you were wrong, which made it a bit better.
I enjoyed the consistency in narration. Miles was a list kind of guy, so he often told things in lists. I really enjoy this. Miles was a bit self-centered but that's how life as a teenager goes. You care about yourself and the things that directly affect you. Sometimes Miles was a bit pervy, but that was okay too, because he was such a like-able guy anyways.
If you haven't read John Green, I don't know what you're waiting for, but you should be. If you read any realistic fiction at all make sure you check this one out. This was John's first, and it's just as good as his other novels. Maybe even better.
"one hundred thirty-six days before
The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party."
"I believe now that we are greater than the sum of our parts."
"Wings flapping furiously as it came, and then it was on the shore in front of us, making a noise that sounded like nothing else in this world, like all the worst parts of a dying rabbit plus all the worst parts of a crying baby, and there was no other way, so we just ran."
"'Because no one can catch the motherfucking fox.'"
"She said that it was sexist to leave the cooking to the women, but better to have good sexist food than crappy boy-prepared food."
"So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane."