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Looking for Alaska is an award winning young adult novel by John Green. It is a charming Coming of Age Story about the main character, Pudge and his crush on the beautiful, dangerous Alaska. It's unique for having a two part structure titled before and after, the "Before" part counting down to the story's traumatic climax and the "after" section dealing with how the characters pick up the pieces.


Tropes present in Looking for Alaska include:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Played straight through most of the book.
    • Maybe it's just "All Teenagers are Perverts"?
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Practically the binding of the pages for a few chapters. Averted somewhat in that they do relieve the tension with the occasional (and usually mild or nondescript) sex scene.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Alaska dies in a car accident at the novel's climax. The rest of the novel deals with how all the characters deal with this traumatic event. Generally everything looks up towards the end: the cast flawlessly pulls an incredible prank on Alaska's behalf, and Pudge writing a fairly upbeat solution to Alaska's labyrinth question, but the reader gets the sense that the scars still linger.
  • Bottle Fairy: Alaska. She even buries wine in the woods so she always has some. And it kills her.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Alaska.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Cluster S Bomb would probably be more accurate, but there's still a surprising amount of swearing in a book intended for high-schoolers.
  • Coming of Age Story
  • Death by Newbery Medal: This Michael L. Printz Award winning book features a nerdy young teen who goes to a boarding school and meets a beautiful, adventurous girl with green eyes named Alaska. She has issues about her dead mother, so she drinks and smokes a lot and drives a beat up old car with bad brakes. Need I say what happens to her midway through the novel?
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: The school is in the south, and almost all of the food in the cafeteria is deep-fried.
    • Including burritos.
  • Did Not Get the Girl
  • Driven to Suicide: Maybe. Its the ongoing question of the 'after' section.
  • Escalating War: It starts with attempted murder...
  • Famous Last Words: Collecting these is Pudge's hobby.
  • Five-Man Band: The Barn Night Crew
    • The Hero: Alaska
    • The Lancer: Pudge
    • The Big Guy: The Colonel
    • The Smart Guy: Takumi
      • Subverted. Although the Token Asian, he is a pretty normal guy and isn't the brains behind the stunts that the Colonel and Alaska pull off. He lampshades this.
    • The Chick: Lara
  • Forgotten Anniversary: A darker and rare non-romantic version; Alaska forgets the date of her mother's death, and freaks out.
    • Also, that day turned out to be her and Jake's eight month anniversary, which might have prompted her to remember the death.
  • Heroic BSOD: Chip and Miles, after Alaska's death. And pretty much everyone else, to a lesser extreme.
  • Left Fielder: When Lara asks Pudge if he's ever gotten a blowjob. Pudge immediately lampshades this.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Alaska's the poster child for this trope.
    • Except that she doesn't much care if Pudge ever lightens up or not.
  • Mood Swinger: Alaska
  • Moral Guardians: They almost grounded this book because of the intense sexuality of the characters.
  • My Greatest Failure: Alaska blames herself for her mom's death.
    • Likewise, the whole cast develops one after Alaska's greatest failure finally kills her.
  • Nice Hat: Takumi's......fox-head....thing.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Pudge and Colonel would sometimes go into the bathroom together with the shower running to smoke because its against the rules and the steam supposedly clears the smell. Hilarity Ensues when they're caught.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: A lot of characters.
    • Mostly so the people they're based on can have plausible deniability.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Accident or suicide?
  • Shaggy Dog Story: A fully justified one. Miles and the Colonel never learn conclusively whether or not Alaska's crash was a suicide, but the story isn't about that; it's about them learning to move on from her death, and continuing their investigation can only spoil their good memories of her.
  • Smoking Is Cool: All the main characters smoke. The main villain (if he can even be called that), The Eagle, busts them for smoking.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Maxx, the stripper they hire for the prank. He's even called "Max with the two x's" a few times.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Both Alaska and Miles were in relationships when they hooked up shortly before Alaska's death. Miles never admits to Lara that this happened and it is never commented on by anyone.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Miles and Alaska. Oh, so much. Remains unresolved due to Alaska's death.
  • Unusual Chapter Numbers: All of the chapters count off the days until Alaska dies. The rest of the book count forward from her death.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: Gender-inverted with Alaska, the Colonel (Friend), and Pudge (Stranger).
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