Genre: Young Adult, Bildungsroman
Narrative Style: First person
Synopsis: Miles Halter thinks that going away to boarding school is going to be a great adventure but little prepares him for the way his life is going to change when he meets Chip Martin and Alaska Young.
I had mixed feelings about reading another John Green. While I enjoyed the others that I read, I also found his style a little annoying as everything is overblown with significance. However, I enjoyed this more. Maybe it is because it was his first novel but it isn’t quite so over the top.
The characters were well drawn and I took to Miles straightaway with his obsession with last words and his longing for something more. I have to say that these kids are much more well read and intellectual than most of the teenagers that I come into contact with but that is not to say such kids don’t exist. Both Alaska and Chip were convincing as well, both representing different sorts of teenage angst.
The story counts down – some many days before – to an event and I have to admit, I did not see what this event would be. I assumed that this was the prank they were planning and not the terrible thing that actually happened. As a result, I was completely shocked and upset by it – almost as much as Miles himself.
Ultimately this is a book about grief and about learning to let go, lessons Miles in particular finds it hard to learn. it is about growing up and about not giving up. In the end, I felt hopeful for Miles and for his future.