To tell you honestly, this book is quite depressing. I'm telling you this not of the intention of stealing the experience away from you but to tell you bluntly, you're going to want the sadness as much as the whole story-line, characters and John's witty and insightful narration. This book is the holy grail of YA novels, so far. This and The Fault in Our Stars, also by John Green.
(Disclaimer: I have read quite a few, I'm a teenager, I love all the YA novels and I understand some may not fully agree when I say it's the holy grail of YA novels, but really, IT IS.)
Here's how the story goes:
Miles Halter went to Culver Creek Boarding School in search for a life that's something more, something more than he was. He was looking for his "Great Perhaps" (he is somewhat obsessed with reading biography books and Last Words before the death of a certain famous person, and so, Great Perhaps is a Last Word that inspired him to pursue Culver Creek).
Upon his arrival, he met Chip Martin(his roommate). Miles immediately became a part of Chip's posse and they call him Pudge(for whatever reason I don't quite understand, but okay). And Chip is called the Colonel (because he's sort of the tactical leader of the group).
Pudge met Alaska Young.
(because I'm selfish and I already told you that the book is depressing but the kind of depressing you want to feel, I'm not going to further describe Alaska here, the book will tell you all about her)
The Colonel, Takumi(a foreign student of Japanese decent) and Alaska have been long-time close friends in Culver Creek. They've been doing pranks every year, something to spice up the boring atmosphere of the said boarding school. Since Pudge is one of them, they let him in on everything including these epic epic pranks. That's when Pudge realized that his Great Perhaps has begun.
Something terrible happened and that's the "after" part of the book. That part is the depressing part, like they say, you take the good with the bad. That's what I did and with it, I found wisdom you can never really get anywhere else unless you read the book or experience the same thing in your life.
The "before" is light, happy and amazing. It's like John Green gave you a set of the coolest friends you will ever meet then he takes them away.
I love this book so much and this review might not give enough justice to it, forgive me. I just finished reading it last night and the emotions are overwhelming. You get sucked in right to their world as soon as you start reading, even after reading it, you can't help but go back there a few more times. I feel bad I didn't get this book when I first saw it back when I was just 13 y/o. I had the misconception that it was about two teenage hobos who wants to go to Alaska. I was wrong. I was wrong like when I thought of life like it's just about living and breathing.
Life is choosing the Labyrinth, even when it blows. It's about dealing with the suffering. It's about surviving it every second of the day. It's seeing past through it and focusing on just living it and staying free of all the personal issues we cage inside.