alright, so here’s my problem with looking for alaska:
i haven’t read twilight, but one of the complaints i hear most often is that bella is just a placeholder for the reader. she just has a few basic character traits (clumsy, low self-esteem, etc) so the average reader could easily identify, but somehow a super handsome bloodsucker falls for her.
pudge is totally the same. we barely find out anything about him (he memorizes last words and he’s skinny, or something) and he’s totally average in every other way. he starts smoking and drinking because his new friends do. he’s a very passive member of their group. his character is defined ALMOST TOTALLY by his big ol’ crush on this girl. i can’t quote it, but one line somewhere in there is “she’s so magical and beautiful and great and i’m just so lame and boring ho hum.”
(i do appreciate that her character works as a deconstructed mpdg. her quirks and erratic behavior/moods are depicted as unhealthy as often as they are endearing, more than can be said for a lot of similar characters.)
when she dies, it’s actually pretty emotionally effective because i’m accessing my own grief, because pudge isn’t enough of a character to have his own. i like that he’s forced to confront his idea of her vs. the reality of her, but that second part of the book feels rushed and all over the place tonally.
i think i might like it better if it started with her death and he reflected on their time together in flashbacks. would mix things up a little better, maybe.
of course, i’m not even in the same neighborhood as the target audience for this book.