Looking for Alaska

John Green

Nerds are cool!

While being nerdy can give people a dorky reputation, the kids in Looking for Alaska, by John Green, know exactly how to change that stereotype. Miles (Pudge) Halter winds up at a boarding school because he is too smart and well, has no friends because of it. At boarding school he realizes that he is surrounded by nerds and fits in as the cool kid. Nerds are everywhere and here they fit in. While Pudge memorizes famous people's last words, other students all have a special quality that makes them different. Everyone has a special nerdy quirk to them. Pudge and his friends are also prankers (pranks with science), which gets them into some trouble along the way, but get a popular reputation because of it. Pudge eventually accepts the nerd life and embraces who he truly is.

You can find friends in peculiar places.

After arriving to the new school, Pudge just wants to fit in and find friends. While wandering around he stumbles upon a swing set by a pond. Here, he meets Alaska. He also meets The Colonel in a dorm room who, becomes a best friend of Pudge. While the 3 of them have many adventures, he meets a girl named Lara in a dangerous car ride to McDonalds. As the group picks up more people along the way, they learn to bend the rules by doing nerdy pranks and have a fun time while doing so. They are a free-loving group with nothing to worry about. Until the tragic occurence.

Comparisons

The two themes are similar because Pudge engages with his friends in nerdy ways such as dying the jock's hair blue because of a prank the jocks played on Alaska. The themes also relate because they both help Pudge find who he truly is. Pudge went from being a nobody to being one of the most liked people on campus. With all the adventure that the characters go through, he slowly learns who he is. Pudge continues on his journey to find himself until he stumbles because of an occurrence that changes him.