April 16, 2015

Book Battles | The Fault in Our Stars vs. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Welcome to the newest feature at Crazy for YA. 


In this feature we will be comparing books, series, authors, or anything else book related that we can think of. 

In the first installment of this feature, two books by one of my favorite authors will go head-to-head.

The Fault in Our Stars VS Looking for Alaska 

John Green wrote both Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, but they are completely different stories.

Looking for Alaska was John Green's first novel, and it took a while for it to become popular. But, it eventually won the 2006 Michael L. Printz award. Then, as we all know, John Green's books launched into bookish fame. The book is rumored to be in movie production.

The Fault in Our Stars is John Green's latest novel. The book won the Goodreads Choice awards and earned itself the first movie deal of John Green's career.

The Plot

The Fault in Our Stars- Centers around Hazel and her struggle to find anything normal while fighting cancer. She meets an adorable boy, Augustus Waters, at support group and they end up creating a relationship. They find out together that surviving cancer is difficult, but living with it is next to impossible. The book chronicles their romantic adventures, endless snark, and journey to find the meaning of life.

Looking for Alaska- Centers around Miles and his journey to find the extraordinary. All of his life, Miles, also know as Pudge, has been hiding from the world, until he chooses to enroll at a boarding school called Culver Creek. There, he meets people who are so full of life, love, and adventures, everything he wants to be. More importantly, he meets Alaska, the girl of his dreams. With his friend the Colonel, Pudge stumbles through the life of a teenager and dodges the dangers of life. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky.

The Writing

The Fault in Our Stars- Sarcastic, melancholy, mix of hopeful and hopeless, descriptive, contemplative

Looking for Alaska- Snarky, depressing, dark, innocent, contemplative

The Characters

The Fault in Our Stars- Hazel and Augustus were the spotlights of the book. Everything from their cancer diagonsises to the tiny details of their everyday life were told. Issac was pretty much the only other character that had a significant role in the book. 
Hazel was sarcastic and humorous, but still bitter about her situation. She was extremely smart, but innocent in the ways of the world. She was infinitely stubborn, but she was shy and kind of socially awkward.
Augustus was basically the opposite of Hazel. He was charming guy that I assumed was the star of his high school. He was funny, but had a hidden thoughtful side. He loved to contemplate the mysteries of life. 

Looking for Alaska- There are three main characters: Pudge, Alaska, and the Colonel. Lara and Takumi also had significant role in the book, but were not part of the group that I like to call "The Terrible Three." 
There are a lot more secondary and background characters in Looking for Alaska, including the teachers, Mr. Strauss (the headmaster), and the Weekend Warriors (which is a nickname for the snotty rich kids).
Pudge was the innocent, awkward, and shy guy who is transformed during the book. He loves being alone and thinking. He is the nerd who falls in love with the eccentric and unattainable girl. He was sarcastic when he had to be, but he was also a severe pushover. Pudge would basically do anything his friends did, including drinking and smoking. 
Alaska is definitely a manic-pixie dream girl type of character. She had horrible mood swings and a quick temper. But, she also had a sweet side. She loved books, flowers, and telling stories. She was essentially the damaged love interest that is so common in John Green book.
The Colonel is pretty much the standard, sassy best friend. He guides Pudge on his journey at Culver Creek. The Colonel is the smart and supportive character who added some sort of calm to the chaotic story.

The Themes

The Fault in Our Stars- Death, meaning of life, love, oblivion, fear

Looking for Alaska- Death, suffering, meaning of life, love, uncertainty

The Setting

The Fault in Our Stars- Indiana and Amsterdam

Looking for Alaska- Culver Creek, a boarding school in the middle of Alabama


The Fault in Our Stars was more light-hearted and I could relate to the characters and the plot easily. I found it hard to really get into Looking for Alaska. 

I liked the characters in The Fault in Our Stars more too. I always find it hard to relate to a male narrator, like in Looking for Alaska, which was one of the main problems. I also did not like that Alaska was a manic-pixie dream girl. These characters, who are normally the elusive love interests in stories, only exist to "teach the main character an important lesson." I really dislike that we learned almost nothing about Alaska until the second half of the book, and even then she still remained an enigma.

I love John Green's writing style, which is present in both books. It is obvious that John Green wrote both of these stories due to his signature metaphors, sarcasm and dark humor. 

The Winner is...

The Fault in Our Stars

I also have a Venn Diagram to visually show the similarities and differences between the novels. 

Have you read either of these books? Which one did you like better? How do you think these books compare and contrast? Did you like this new feature? 

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