Banned Book Favorites: Looking for Alaska

looking for alaskaHappy Banned Books Week! Here’s my second banned book spotlight on one of my favorites, John Green’s Looking for Alaska

Green’s 2005 debut novel Looking for Alaska was a New York Times bestseller and won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature. Alaska is even getting the silver-screen treatment, with the film speculated to debut in 2016.

The book  has been challenged multiple times for its sexual content, the characters’  consumption of alcohol, and explicit language. In 2008 Green responded to these challenges in the vlog entitled I Am Not A Pornographer, at one point exclaiming “when you’re told that the novel you wrote for teenagers is pornography you start to feel a little bit mad…I don’t think there’s a single half-way normal person in the world who would find a single thing in my book in anyway arousing.”

Green’s other novels An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars have also been banned and/or challenged. He continues to respond to these challenges via his Tumblr blog.

Personally, I love Looking for Alaska as well as Green’s other works. Alaska is a great story about the awkward journey of being a teenager and trying to fit in. It deals with love, or the idea of love, and subsequently loss. The protagonist “Pudge,” as he is affectionately referred to, “goes to seek a great perhaps” and heads of to boarding school. He finds himself surround by an odd group of friends: “Chip,” Takumi, and Alaska, a hurricane of a girl.

Again, the claims of sexual content, consumption of alcohol by minors, and explicit language aren’t unfounded. Each of those things can be found in Alaska, but again it’s part of life. Alaska falls into the category of realistic young adult fiction. Thus, it deals with realistic events in a realistic setting, playing on realistic emotions and struggles.

I definitely suggest you go give Green’s Alaska a read.

Check out a few of my favorite Looking for Alaska quotes below:

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”

“If people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”

“Y’all smoke to enjoy it. I smoke to die.”

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”

Do you have a favorite banned book? Let me know in the comments.


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