So I went upstairs and told Creature what I had been reading and she handed me this: 'Looking for Alaska' by John Green, that her friend Tom had given her for Christmas. Now this one is much less bashful about it's tear-jerking nature ... the chapters are entitled 'One hundred and thirty six days before', and so on, in a count down, so you know as soon as you open the book that something really bad is going to happen. It is about a bunch of teenagers at a somewhat offbeat private school, where they spend their time trying to avoid being caught doing the three things that will get them expelled (smoking, drinking and having sex). Again it was well written with the teenage voices all very credible (sometimes teenage talking can feel stilted when written by adults).
Found myself laughing uproariously several times during the first half, particularly when the Colonel makes up cheerleader chants to taunt their opponents at the basketball game (he is maintaining his record of being thrown out of every single game): "Cornbread! he screamed. Chicken! the crowd responded. Rice! Peas! And then all together: WE'VE GOT HIGHER S.A.T.s. Hip Hip Hip Hooray! the Colonel cried. YOU'LL BE WORKING FOR US SOME DAY!"
Also loved the line when Pudge (aka Miles) asks Alaska about her book collection:
"I am going to read them all. I call it my Life's Library. Every summer since I was little, I've gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read. But there's so much to do: cigarettes to smoke, sex to have, swings to swing on. I'll have more time for reading when I'm old and boring." (p.28)
It's very 'teenage'. As is, "A deep fried bean burrito, the burfriedo proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that frying always improves a food." (p.31)
And, "So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane." (p.109)
All in all a most enjoyable book. It's about the teenage friendships, the adults in their life are all in the background, not relevant to the big picture. It was less intense than 'Every Last One', and I felt more like an observer, as an adult reader, but again the impact and reactions of the characters felt real.