Looking for Alaska is a beautiful coming-of-age story that chronicles the boarding school adventures of Miles, later nicknamed Pudge. Pudge and his friends pull off crazy pranks, fall in love, and ultimately experience and cope with loss.
This book is not light with the language, but it is used in a very realistic setting, as all of the main characters are sixteen or seventeen years old. Also, there is marijuana smoking mentioned in passing, and most of the main characters smoke cigarettes at some point. There is also underage drinking shown multiple times, however the consequences (hangover, vomiting) are also mentioned to balance it out. There is a fair amount of sexual content, including references to sexual acts, as well as intense kissing and other vaguely sexual interactions. Also, pornographic materials are mentioned.
There is a death in the book, and the second half of the book is devoted to how the characters cope with loss. It may be intense for younger children to read about this loss, especially since it may or may not have been a suicide (never revealed).
Overall, this is a good story about coming of age, and it contains some positive messages about growing up, love, and friendship. If you think your child is mature enough to handle the iffy material, then it is absolutely a must-read. However, know your child before saying yes to this one, because the content can blind-side an unsuspecting preteen who picks this up after The Fault in Our Stars.