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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska - John Green This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: Meh. Not something that would ever grab my attention except for the name John Green.The Gist: During his first day at Culver Creek Boarding School Miles "Pudge" Halter meets the strange in enigmatic Alaska Young and nothing will ever be the same. Review: Looking for Alaska is split into Before and After some mysterious event. It is difficult to discuss this, and difficult to write a review without giving away the big event - so I will try to discuss other factors.I had some issues with this novel. I loved The Fault In Our Stars and was looking for the same type of connection with the characters. However, I didn't find it here. I found the characters to be generally unlikeable. They were not particularly friendly or caring. They drank a lot, smoked a lot and swore a lot. They didn't really seem to DO anything. The teen angst dial was a little too high and I found it difficult to feel anything for the characters or their situation.This is not the novel for a reader who wishes for a great deal of action - there is very little. What you will get is page upon page of teenagers waxing philosophically and asking big questions about life. I will admit, I kept waiting for the big reveal - for some piece of evidence that would answer one of the main questions that the plot poses, but I guess that is much of the point. There are never adequate answers in these types of situations and the living must simply attempt to go on living.Perhaps as a teenager, this would have more resonance. However, as a jaded 30 year old teacher - it falls flat.A note on content: this is another book that I find frustrating in that the language/sexual content prevents me from recommending to my students. Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 16 and upGender: BothSex: Kissing, Petting, Talk of Masturbation, Vulgar Sexual LanguageViolence: Death by car accidentInappropriate Language: Shit, Christ, Fuck, Ass, Bastard, Piss, Bitch, Dick, PissedSubstance Use/Abuse: Underage Drinking, Smoking, Marijuana UseOther Issues: Suicide, Child Abuse