Green, John. Looing for Alaska. New York: Dutton, 2005.
*Winner of the Prinz Award, Announced January 23, 2006*
What a fanastic novel. This is a rare instance where I agree that a book that got a starred review in School Library Journal really does deserve that star!
In this book, Miles opts to go to a boarding school in Alabama during his high school years. His roomate, who is nicknamed the Colonel introduces him to the school and his circle of friends, which include Alaska, Lara, and Takumi. They spend their time sneaking off to smoke, drink, and pull pranks on the school and headmaster. We learn rather quickly that Alaska is somewhat troubled. We also realize that something big is coming.
The book's chapters are arranged by days, such as "40 days before" and so on up until "the incident". We don't get to that until 3/4 of the way through the novel, so we spend a lot of time trying to figure out what exactly happens on Day 0. I can tell you that I didn't see it coming! Then after that, the rest of the novel is told as "3 days after" and so on. This format kept me interested and made me aniticipate the climax of the novel even more.
I highly recommend this novel to most readers. It is a rather "deep" read so readers that prefer fluff will not enjoy this one. Not that there is anything wrong with fluff, but if that is what you are looking for, this isn't it. Highly recommended.