"Thomas Edison's last words were, 'There's something beautiful over there.' / I don't know where there is, but I believe it's somewhere," sings the author John Green's brother, Hank Green, in a song about the book. These two lines have the power to sum up this literary masterpiece. Pudge, a boy who enjoys memorizing people's last words, is off to a boarding school in Alabama. There, he meets the Colonel and Alaska Young. Alaska is the most beautiful, funniest, most destructive, unpredictable girl Pudge has ever met. Together, they pull of some of the greatest pranks in Culver Creek history.This book made me cry. The characters are so real, the situations, and the fact John Green himself pulled off a few pranks himself is evident. (Note: The video about this does contain some explicit language.) It seems like life. This book has been challenged because it felt real. It's a powerful writing style that will certainly make you think about your own school yea6rs. I love Green's writing style, but it's hard to find the perfect words to describe it. You kinda have to read it yourself.
From a Christian standpoint, there isn't a lot in there. Pudge wonders about a quote Alaska told him, "How will we escape this labyrinth?" (Yes, that quote has been modified for language reasons.) They agree that the labyrinth is suffering. However, the only source of reliable input is the world religions class they must take. Buddhism is discussed more often than Christianity, but it's still there. I wanted them to connect Christianity to the events of the second half of the book more, instead of trying to puzzle the tragedy out on their own, especially since John attended Harvard Divinity for awhile.
I would write more about what I liked, but that would result in major spoilers. I cannot find fault in this book; John Green is a genius. I would recommend the book to teenagers and adults, but then again, if schools didn't stop challenging his books, I would petition to make them required reading across the country.
For anybody wanting more information on this author, whom I regard so highly, I would recommend checking out his YouTube Channel, Vlogbrothers. It's nerdy, funny, and just a generally cool place on the internet.- Review date: 1/27/14, written by Madeline Bright of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Publisher: Dutton Books
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