Looking For Alaska

By Jupiter Polevoi

We are greater than the sum of our parts. Eighth grade art class. My best friend Destiny Branch would bring in a new book every week and usually lend it to me, depending on whether or not they thought I would like it. I never knew receiving this book on a random day during the second trimester of my eighth grade year would change my life.

Miles “Pudge” Halter, the protagonist of the story, gets sent to his dad’s alumni high school, Culver Creek boarding school, in rural Alabama. There, Pudge meets his outspoken roommate, Chip (but everyone calls him The Colonel), and his friend Takumi. Pudge is your average awkward teen, and never would’ve expected to fall in love with a reckless girl.

Alaska Young, a book-obsessed but never reads teenage girl who has beautiful eyes without a thought behind them. A girl who named herself after staring at a globe, a girl who constantly hides behind a smile, was the girl that Pudge would fall deep into.

How do we get out of the labyrinth of suffering? This very question left Alaska pondering how to live her life. Looking For Alaska is the kind of book where you pick up on things you might’ve missed during your second read, and the labyrinth of suffering is just a metaphor for life. We keep existing until we hit dead ends, and it feels like the only way out is death. However, Pudge soon realizes that the way out of the labyrinth is to forgive. You must forgive to truly let go. Forgive yourself, forgive others, and forgive life, for throwing you into this labyrinth that you cannot get out of. 

As much as I would love to shamelessly gatekeep this book, I think everyone needs to read John Green’s masterpiece at least twice in their life. I can’t even begin to explain the impact that this book has had on my mindset and outlook, but I think if you read it for yourself you might understand a little better.