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Looking for Alaska by John Green July 15, 2009

Posted by Lisa in Teen Book Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews.
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Looking For Alaska

John Green

New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 2005

ISBN: 9780132402511

Age: 15+


16 year old Miles Halter enrolls in the Culver Creek Boarding school with the hope of starting over with a new life.  Miles is smart guy who likes to memorize famous last words.   Miles begins his first few days at the new school with high hopes of making friends and finding “the Great Perhaps.” 

At the new school, Miles meets Colonel his roommate and Alaska a messed up girl full of attitude.  Hanging out with the Colonel and Alaska, Miles experiences many firsts, a girlfriend, a kiss, a drink, and breaking the rules.  Tragedy strikes the school, when Alaska is killed in a car accident.   Alaska’s death affected both Miles and the Colonel deeply.  They blamed themselves for not stopping Alaska from driving while drunk in the middle of the night.    

This story is both entertaining and sad.  I laughed my head off at the witty dialogue between the characters and the “life lessons” that Alaska taught Miles and his first real girlfriend.  The themes in this story include friendship, love, loss, and grief.  Each of the characters has their own personalities that teens can relate to.  I enjoyed reading Looking for Alaska.  This is a great for teens 15 and up.  The cover was little boring for me with just the smoke blowing on the black background.  At first I wasn’t quite sure what the smoke was on the cover.


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher July 14, 2009

Posted by Lisa in Teen Book Reviews, Young Adult Book Reviews.
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Thirteen Reasons Why

By Jay Asher

Razorbill, 2008

ISBN: 97815914712

Age: 16 – 18


Thirteen Reasons Why is actually two stories being told at the same time.   The first story is about Hannah Baker and the reason why she has committed suicide.  Hannah has provided the answers for the reason of her on 13 audio cassette tapes that she has sent out to the 13 people on a list of the people who caused her death.  The second story is Clay’s.  Clay is an all around good guy how has had a crush on Hannah for a long time.  Clay, one of the people to receive the tapes is horrified to find himself on Hannah’s list. 

The stories are interconnected as Clay wonders through his hometown while listening to the tapes.  Clay haunted by Hannah’s voice follows the map marked by Hannah for the 13 people to experience the each of the places where Hannah found pain, distrust, and unhappiness.  Clay learns that not everyone is what they seem.  He knows that he will never look at these people the same way again as he discovers the other 12 people’s secrets. 

Thirteen Reasons Why is a powerful story that takes the reader on a journey along with Clay to discover why Hannah killed herself.   Readers not only learn about Hannah and her pain filled life, but they will come to know Clay as well.  

This story really stayed with me long after I had read the book.  Since reading Hannah’s and Clay’s story I have though a great deal about how our actions can affect other people.  Also, I thought about how people bury their pain so deep that they can’t find a way to climb out of the whole.  It seems to me that Hannah was in a vicious cycle of being a victim who needed someone to help her find a way to cope with all that pain.  Clay tried to reach out to Hannah, but she just didn’t give him a chance.    I am angry at Hannah for not trying harder to reach out to someone and I feel for Clay.   He truly is a good guy. 

The cover was intriguing.  The Photo of Hannah on the swing made and the title made me want to know what the story was about.  I wanted to know why Hannah was so sad.