By John Green
After. Nothing is ever the same.
This novel is about the boy Miles Halter, who is beginning his first year at Culver Creek High School. Miles is done with his safe life at home and wants some excitement and adventure. He has an obsession with remembering last words from people. At Culver Creek High School he is going to search for “The Great Perhaps”, last words from François Rabelais, a poet.
On the first day he meets his roommate Chip, who gave himself the nickname of the Colonel. The Colonel looks arrogant, confident and like a natural born leader. He gives Miles the nickname of Pudge, because of his gawky physique and lengthy stature. The Colonel introduces him to his friend Alaska Young and Pudge likes her from the first minute he sees her.
After a couple weeks they get caught smoking by the Eagle (the principal). Pudge was smoking too, but the Eagle didn’t see him and the Colonel and Alaska took the blame.
When it’s Christmas the Colonel and Takumi return home for Christmas festivities. Alaska and Pudge stay at school and they spend more time and grow together.
Then Alaska comes up with a pre-prank for all the people who have been harassing and pranking Alaska and Pudge. After the prank their regular school life goes on. One night Alaska, the Colonel and Pudge are drinking away their troubles. After a phone call with her boyfriend she says she has to leave immediately and Pudge and the Colonel help her and distract the Eagle.
The next morning everybody has to go gather in the gym, and the Eagle tells them that Alaska Young died in a car crash. Pudge and the Colonel want to know everything behind Alaska’s death. They want to know if it was an accident or suicide, but at the end of the book they’re still not sure whether it was suicide or not. They want that nobody forgets Alaska, so again they do a prank especially for Alaska.
The before-part is mainly about the adventures of some friends at high school; Pudge starts to do things he has never done before, like smoking or going to a basketball game. It’s fun to read how Pudge grows up, and becomes a bit rebellious. They are just teenagers experiencing life in high school and its fun to read.
In the after-part the tone completely changes into a dark and depressed overtone. The first fun and rebellious teenagers now get into depression and socially disconnect from everybody. When they hear that Alaska died in a car crash, I felt so sorry for them because they didn’t know what to do without Alaska and thought that they were responsible for her death. Pudge loved Alaska and when he hears the dramatic news he doesn’t want to believe it, he thinks she’s doing a prank.
And now she was colder by the hour, more dead with every breath I took. I thought: ‘That is the fear: I have lost something important, and I cannot find it, and I need it. It is fear like someone los his glasses and went to the glasses store and they told him that the world had run out of glasses and he would just have to do without’.
I think that this book would be very good too without this dramatic change, because the characters are very interesting. Alaska is very capricious and sometimes she just burst into tears and Pudge doesn’t know why. The fact that there are two parts makes you curious what is going to happen, you know something big is going to happen. To conclude, i think this book is good with a mysterious touch.