I wanted to like this book. I wanted John Green to prove me wrong about his books and about this type of YA. Wanted to be able to write a rave review about this story. It failed on all counts.
Flash back to Fall 2013, Allison is a sophomore in college who loves to read and thinks the guy down the hall is cute. Said guy gives her “The Fault in Our Stars” (TFIOS) and although Allison doesn’t love YA, he is cute so she reads it. On the whole she is unimpressed. Allison does not see the movie and does not read another John Green novel.
I decided to over look the fact that TFIOS’s genius seemed to rest on the big gotcha moment (although really y’all, it’s a story about kids who have cancer. Did we really think they were all going to live?) and try “Looking for Alaska.” I don’t know if all of his are the exact same, but seriously? Could these two books be more similar?
Disgruntled teens looking for more, self destruction, love, the one big gotcha moment, and then dealing with the fall out by freaking out and having one moment of insight that gets quoted by white girls on Tumblr every where. The end. Even a lot of symbolism was the same!
(WARNING:::: EVERYTHING MOVING FORWARD IS A SPOILER SO IF YOU READ PAST THIS CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED. THAT IS ALL.)
Remember when I said we shouldn’t expect everyone to survive in a story about a teens with cancer? This book was similar. The back description has a before and an after. The after just says “nothing is ever the same.”
The before includes meeting her so what big event could be the after? After she is in his life, right? So why all the shock and awe that the after means after she died? The book is broken down into pieces with a literal count down! And the big prank is done before the count down is up so really, what did you think was going to happen next?
Maybe TFIOS jaded me, or maybe I read too much and was able to ‘lucky guess’ it. But I wasn’t surprised.
Or impressed. Really, when the ‘OH SNAP’ moment is more of an ‘oh’ moment, there isn’t a whole lot left behind. The story was ok, I was unimpressed with the characters (Especially the Colonel, Takumi, and Lara), and really the ending of the book was rough. It felt like Green’s publisher called him and was like ‘we want the ending today’ and so he typed it up and sent it off with two minutes to spare. Rough.
I’m unimpressed with authors who do nothing to elevate the every day. I’m unimpressed with authors who rely on the big reveal to carry their book. And I’m unimpressed when authors relay on the same tactics to sell their books. (That’s why I don’t read anything Mary Higgins Clark has released in the last five years. #sorryMHC)