How to survive love, friendship and grief

TITLE= Looking for Alaska

AUTHOR= John Green

GENRE= Identity, Growing Up, Coming of Age

A truly engrossing first novel by acclaimed (and prize winning) author, John Green. Cleverly structured – with the countdown before and after a shocking event in the narrator’s life – and beautifully written, this novel stands out from the many teen angst driven young adult books currently in print. For this is more than a teenager falling in love for the first time, more than the lonely nerd finding friendship. Miles has bravely left home to attend boarding school in his search for “the Great Perhaps”. He soon falls under the spell of Alaska, a troubled and unpredictable spirit, burdened by a family tragedy yet so often the bright spark who ignites those around her. As his friendship with Alaska and the Colonel develops, Miles must learn what it means to be a true friend, how to deal with love and loss, how to find a way out of the labyrinth of guilt and grief and how to find hope. A powerful and moving novel; at times full of sadness, at times wryly amusing and with more than a hint of “Catcher in the Rye”. A novel that will speak to both teens and adults alike. A deserving winner of the Inky Award and the Michael L. Printz Award. Read more about the book, the author and some of his other novels and quirky thoughts. Or read a teen review of this compelling novel.

On loss .. and life … and love .. from a teenage boy


When Marc Jarvis (No 24 on his school footy team) goes on work experience at a nearby used-car yard, he gets more than he bargained for. He not only learns new sales skills he also meets new friends. Most importantly, he falls head over heels in love, with the amazingly talented, Electra. Marc is a self-confessed worrier and he constantly loses things – including the people he loves. Is he destined to lose Electra, too?? One of the charming aspects about this novel is the light touch with which it is written – despite several deaths and broken hearts, there is lots and lots to laugh about in this wonderful book. From Marc’s amusing commentary about his life to his crazy best mate (and footy buddy) – even the fight scenes are funny!. Another delightful feature of this book is the sensitive way in which a central gay character, Mikey, is treated; he has fled unhappy circumstances at home but is he prepared to be helped by those around him? Both Marc and the reader learn a lot from Mikey about the hardships and the joy of being gay.David Metzenthen has created yet another truly entertaining novel. Don’t read this book on the train or the bus if you don’t want to lol in public! But do read it if you are at all interested in footy, friendship, love and loss …in other words, life as a teenage boy.
Read an interview with the author and find out his inspiration for this story.

NOTE: this book was a deserving winner of the 2010 CBCA Book of the Year (Older Readers)

Highly Recommended (dma) *****


Gilberts Ghost Train by David Metzenthen

Genre: Death and Dying

Interest Level: Yr 7/8

This book is about a boy who is dying and he loves trains. He meets a very nice guy who come every day to tell a story to this dying boy (who is 13 years old). The book tells the story about the boy before he died. It is a great book, in the end one of the people in the book is a ghost. I not going to give away much of the story or the ending. The book is written by David Metzenthen and he writes some great books. A few other good ones include, Danger Wave, and Tiff and the Trout both of which are great books.

Recommended: ****