Last December my daughter asked for Looking for Alaska for her birthday.
I bought it.
She acted happy but then didn’t read it.
Par for course.
Then a student assigns me the book this semester and I recognize the cover. Wait, this is by the guy who wrote The Fault in Our Stars, a heartbreakingly smart romance. Fantastic.
I start the book in my office hours on Tuesday, 90 minutes before class.
No students come.
The phone doesn’t ring. I read, I read, I look at my phone and an hour is gone.
I’m 100 pages into the book and I love these characters.
I want the narrator of this book to go meet the guy from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. They would be good friends.
I stop long enough to lecture on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the “revolutions of 1989”, Operation Desert Storm and the collapse of the Soviet Union (the USSR became the USS “were” – get it???). I read the book in the hour between picking up this kid and then the other, then dash through Publix in record time so I can finish the book before dinner.
I want to finish it, but I don’t. But I can’t help myself. I love this book.
Something big is going to happen; you know that from page one because the first part of the book is a countdown to the DAY.
When that something does happen I’m not ready. I was really shocked and sad and I can’t tell you any more because I’m absolutely sure you’re going to read this book and love it, I refuse to spoil it. Here’s the best I can do without giving it all away.
This is a story about loving someone you know shouldn’t but you just love them because you just can’t help it, you’re just built that way and it feels right. It’s a story of honesty and friendship and loving with no regrets.
One more thing. This isn’t just a story about love at a boarding school in Alabama. It’s a story about life and loss and the consequences of driving impaired. If you have teenagers, you should give them this book before they get their driver’s license.