I have read all of YA author John Green’s books (shut up), but the first I ever read was Looking for Alaska, a sweet and kind coming-of-age love story based on John Green’s own experiences at a boarding school. It really is a thoughtful and introspective novel, and in my mind at least, harkens back to a time before Hunger Games and Twilight turned YA into love-triangles and bloodsports (credit Angie Thomas for helping to pull it back from the genre precipice).
Looking for Alaska is also so very John Green, which is neither an insult nor a compliment, really, it just is. He’s Cameron Crowe as a lovesick teenager with a penchant for tragedy, mopey but earnest, and like most teenagers, his characters are so very in their heads. Like, I would totally recommend John Green books to my kid, but only as part of a complete diet along with Jacqueline Woodson and Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera and Elizabeth Acevedo, but under no circumstances is he allowed to read two John Green books in a row.
If you don’t understand why, check out the trailer for Hulu’s adaptation of Looking for Alaska, which may be the most John Green thing I’ve ever seen.
See what I mean? If you’re a teenager and you watch that, you go to your room and shut the door for two weeks and write really bad poetry. It should come with a parental warning: “After watching Looking for Alaska, let your child experiment with cocaine just to break him out of that funk he’ll otherwise be mired in until he finds the kind of manic-pixie melancholy girl that only exists in John Green novels.”
Header Image Source: Hulu