Parents' Guide to

Looking for Alaska

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Teens process tragic loss in thought-provoking novel.

Looking for Alaska Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 45 parent reviews

age 14+

Everyone should read this!

Despite the 16+ rating, I read this book when I was 11 years old. I think that everyone should read this, especially teenagers. And yes, it's on the banned booklist, but this is a book aimed at the YA crowd for YA readers, so saying that teens can't read about other teens facing the same problems they might face sort of defeats the purpose. Like all John Green books, it is written beautifully. The characters are fully developed and the description is stunning. As for the 14+ rating, I this is the rating if you read it alone. If you read this book with a parent (like I did) I think a younger age would be suitable. For additional warnings for parents, I would say this: There is lots of swearing. There is heavy romance. There is a good amount of drinking/drugs/smoking. However, without these, this book would be entirely different - and probably not as powerful. Everything that might offend people is there for a reason. As for the actual story, it's about Miles Halter, who is fascinated by last words, and how he goes to a boarding school and meets Alaska Young. Overall, I think this book deserves five stars. It's no wonder it won an award. "Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (...) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” - Looking for Alaska
age 11+

It's really not as shocking as people think it is

I will admit that the book contains things that young kids should not be exposed to, but if you honestly think any kid over the age of 11 doesn't know about sex, drugs, and death then your kidding yourself. Teens can handle more than you think they can. So while I wouldn't give this book to your 8 year old, if your kid asks you for the book, let them read it.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (45 ):
Kids say (206 ):

This coming-of-age novel is gorgeously written, passionate, hilarious, moving, thought-provoking, character-driven, and literary. It deserves all the awards it's won. The characters may often behave badly, but they are vividly real, complex, and beautifully drawn -- and their stories can help readers start dealing with some big topics, like self-discovery and loss. Looking for Alaska is a hard one to put down. Since new chapters don't start on new pages, there's always a temptation to read just a little bit further. For the first half at least, readers will be grinning all the way -- and in the end, they will be moved, maybe even to tears.

Book Details

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