Summer is a beautiful time for so many reasons...the warmth, things in bloom, vacation for us teachers...and also a chance for me to catch up on my reading. I reviewed Loving Frank last week, and I finished Looking for Alaska while I was on vacation (review below), and now I need some suggestions.
Any good ones? What books have you read recently that you'd highly recommend?
Looking for Alaska by John Green
I think this is considered Young Adult, though I'd recommend it for anyone over the age of 16. A few of my students read it last year and loved it, so I thought it was about time to give it a try. Guess what? I loved it too, more than I thought I would. I've heard it called a "modern day Catcher in the Rye," though don't let that throw you if you didn't like the original -- I didn't either.
Short summary: it's the story of Pudge, a 16 year old boy who goes to a boarding school in Alabama. He's never really had any friends before, but there he meets his roommate, nicknamed "the Colonel," and Alaska, a girl unlike any other. She's complex beyond words, moody, beautiful, and she introduces Pudge to cigarettes, wine, and how to play the best pranks. The friendship that develops between the 3 of them is really well done and believable. Also interesting is the story structure: the first half of the book counts down: "one hundred days before," "eighty-two days before," etc. You don't know what THE EVENT is, though it happens mid-book and then the chapters become "two days after," "seventeen days after," etc.
The author explores a lot of complex topics, besides just coming-of-age, which he does well too. And I know I've posted this video here before, but it's worth another look, because Looking for Alaska has been challenged/banned in certain schools where it's part of the curriculum. I highly recommend this books; it's a quick but thought-provoking story. And if you've already read it, let me know what you thought! (without giving away WHAT HAPPENS of course)...