A Review Of “Looking For Alaska”

Based on the popular John Green novel, the Hulu series "Looking For Alaska" brings the book to life.


Hulu Original

The coming of age series depicts a close knit group of teens desire to find their "great perhaps" in life.

Alyssa Bruce, Staff Writer

Hulu’s adaptation of John Green’s novel Looking For Alaska depicts the story over the course of eight episodes. During each, Miles Halter, a quiet and unpopular teenager, begins to find himself as he discovers a group of friends at his new boarding school.

Miles decides to attend boarding school, as his mundane life in public high school bored him. He is in search of his “great perhaps,” a term he mentions often but can never seem to describe. Almost right away, he finds close friends. He and his roommate hit it off right away, and the latter introduces Miles to “the Fox,” and to Alaska Young, whom Miles instantly falls in love with.

In an interesting order, the first minute of the show is labeled as “after” and depicts a fatal car crash, although no faces are seen. The remaining part of the season is the “before,” all leading up to the full showing of what comes subsequently.

By doing so, director Josh Schwartz establishes the darker undertones of the show right away, hinting at what is to come. While Miles does find happiness in his roommate, “The Colonel,” and Alaska Young, a mysterious yet adventurous girl, the inequalities due to wealth gaps and the substance abuse of Alaska bring out the true darkness.

Although not well established in the beginning, the actors do begin to settle into their characters as the series goes on. Alaska is portrayed perfectly as the stereotypical lost but beautiful teenage girl, who is known by everyone but not truly known.

In regard to following the novel, the show accomplishes this perfectly. Almost all of the events, especially the key ones, are depicted. The characters all have the same traits that they did in the book, specifically the Colonel, with his love of vengeful pranks and humor.

There are almost no scenes that drag on. Each one is eventful and full of either action or meaningful moments. Each one demands attention.

Although nothing special, the filming is also pleasant to the eye, the way that many current coming-of-age movies are shot aesthetically. The music chosen to accompany scenes was done very well, with each song capturing the necessary mood.

While the series is certainly an entertaining and compelling watch, it doesn’t stray too far from the average teen coming-of-age film. The main character finds friends, love, and purpose. The one aspect that may set it apart is the numerous philosophical questions posed and the darker ending.

The mystery of the car crash, although names are revealed, is never truly solved. The question of “why?” still lingers after the show comes to a conclusion. Yet, this seems to be the point of both the novel and the show. Sometimes, the reason that things occur is never known. It is only what we do with what happens that matters.

In the end, almost every character, even the most detestable, seems to be redeemed some way. This is an interesting take, as it seems to contrast the darker aspects of the show.

Overall, Looking For Alaska is definitely worth the watch. It provides nostalgic entertainment of teenagers who are trying to discover who they are, while ultimately coming closer together after tragedy strikes. Fans of the book will not be disappointed, as all of the aspects in Green’s popular work are displayed in the series.