Here I am, reading another John Green book. Yes, I’ll admit it. His books are awesome. If you read The Fault in Our Stars and didn’t like it, you likely don’t have a heart, and should probably get that checked out by a medical professional (Note: I am not one, but that’s my diagnosis).
I’m only half-way through Looking for Alaska right now, and so far it is a totally different type of story. However, it is pretty darn engaging. The reason? CHARACTER.
Character is why any great book matters (to me). Yes, the Writing Excuses podcast is full of people smarter than me and recently they’ve been talking about idea stories. In idea stories, or certain types of them anyway, you can get away with less focus on character.
But in stories like this, where all that really is happening is a boy chooses to go to boarding school and then meets some friends, if the characters don’t shine, we as readers have no reason to care.
Bring in John Green and his awesome ability to write engaging characters.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but check out The Colonel with his wrinkled pink shirt, his distain for the rich kids even though he’s dating one (this relationship in itself warrants a whole other discussion, especially what it reveals about him), and his ability to take our hero under his wing from the get-go. I like this kid, even if he smokes. (Can we just take smoking out of fiction so I have one less reason to dislike everyone?).
Go check it out. Yes, read The Fault in Our stars first if you haven’t, but then try out this book. By the way, screw Amazon and their affiliate program. I don’t participate, and therefore get zero percentage of sales or whatever. This is just me sharing my love of books.
And here is my update: I finished reading the novel between the time I started writing this and the date it as to go live. Like The Fault in Our Stars, this book had its gut-wrenching moment. It made the character development that much stronger, as we were able to see how these characters we’ve grown to love act in the face of intense depression. And even better, the post-depressing portion of the book played out like a bit of a mystery, so that was fun.
I have to admit, I may be a bit biased because I’ve been writing a novel that in some ways is quite similar to Looking for Alaska, but I wasn’t sure it would work. After reading this wonderful John Green novel, I’m confident in my novel and will be moving forward with gusto. Stay tuned!
Interested in checking out my books? www.JustinSloanAuthor.com.