Looking for Alaska, John Green’s debut novel, was written before he rose to fame as the reigning king of young adult literature or as one of the first YouTube stars. The book is an honest and startlingly realistic depiction of adolescence set in a small boarding school in Alabama. Here are ten books that are similar to John Green’s poignant first novel, Looking for Alaska, if you’ve just finished reading it.
Books Like Looking for Alaska
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a great choice if you enjoyed Looking for Alaska for its realistic portrayal of teenage life, issues, and friendships.
Originally published in 1999, the book’s protagonist, Charlie, writes letters to an unknown recipient. For this book, Charlie is a freshman at a suburban high school in 1990. After an introverted start, Charlie blossoms during the school year as he develops new friendships and confronts difficult issues that are still relevant today.
Among the topics covered in the book are depression, suicide, abortion, sexual assault, and drug and alcohol abuse. The American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books constantly includes this novel because of its content.
In spite of the book’s controversy, The Perks of Being a Wallflower has remained on bestseller lists for decades and was made into a 2012 feature-length film.
You might enjoy The Perks of Being a Wallflower if you’re looking for books like Looking for Alaska because of its realistic portrayal of teenage life.
Is this your first time reading it? Visit our list of books like The Perks of Being a Wallflower!
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a great choice if you enjoy reading about boarding schools.
When it was published in 1959, A Separate Peace was one of the first boarding school books to be widely read. During World War II, the book’s protagonist Gene Forester forms a close friendship with the wild and outgoing Phineas “Finny” during the Devon School, widely believed to be a fictionalized version of Knowles’ alma mater, Phillips Exeter Academy.
This is another book that frequently appears on “most challenged” lists for its focus on friendship, adolescence, patriotism, and the loss of innocence.
The book has been labeled “pornographic” despite the absence of any female characters or scenes depicting sexual activity. A strong male friendship is also accused of promoting homoerotic relationships in the film.
When looking for books like Looking for Alaska, A Separate Peace is a great option because it depicts the loss of innocence and the development of friendships.
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
If you’re looking for books like Looking for Alaska, The Catcher in the Rye is your best bet.
The Catcher in the Rye, first published in 1951, chronicles the days following the expulsion of protagonist Holden Caulfield from his prestigious boarding school. He visits New York City for a few days before returning home to tell his parents the news of his expulsion.
New York City is the setting for The Catcher in the Rye, a novel that examines Holden’s transition from adolescence to adulthood as he explores the city on his own and loses his innocence. One of the most challenged and censored works of literature in history, it is infamous for both its strong language and explicit sexual content.
However controversial, The Catcher in the Rye has had an impact on many young adult authors, including those on this list. Be sure to pick up a copy of The Catcher in the Rye, an American literary classic. You won’t be dissatisfied with this product.
If you’re looking for more books like The Catcher in the Rye, check out our list!
It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
If you’re looking for something more contemporary than the two novels mentioned above, try Its Kind of a Funny Story.
The story centers on Craig Gilner, a depressed 15-year-old protagonist in the novel, which was published in 2006. He was admitted to a mental hospital for a period of time after he stopped taking medication prescribed to him for stress related to his high school’s intense competition.
During his stay in the hospital, Craig makes new friends and overcomes his crippling depression and anxiety.
Ned Vizzini’s Its Kind of a Funny Story, though not about a boarding school experience, does explore many of the same themes as Looking for Alaska and is sure to please.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Turtles the Way Down is a great book to read if you want to read more of John Green’s brilliant work.
On top of that, it’s the first book on this list to feature a female protagonist. The story of 16-year-old Aza Holmes, an Indiana high school student with OCD, is told in the web series Turtles the Way Down.
The story revolves around Aza’s struggle to control her obsessive-compulsive behavior as she attempts to rekindle a romance with an old friend. The novel’s writing is excellent and depicts the hardships of being a teen with a mental illness in vivid detail and empathy.
Then you should get Turtles All the Way Down if you’re a fan of John Green’s and looking for books like Looking for Alaska.
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Not only is Ordinary People one of the more obscure novels on this list of books like Looking for Alaska, but it’s also one of the best.
As a high school student who was hospitalized and attempted suicide after the death of his brother less than a year earlier, Conrad Jarrett is the protagonist of this novel.
The story is told in two voices: that of Conrad, the main character, and that of Calvin, his father. Conrad returns to high school, tries to find love, and deals with the loss of his brother with the help of his therapist, Dr. Berger. It also explores the strained bond between Conrad and Calvin, as well as the mother-son dynamic between the two.
The movie version of Ordinary People, starring Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, and Timothy Hutton, won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1980. However, the novel, which was widely acclaimed when it was published, is a great choice if you’re looking for books like Looking for Alaska.
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Having taken a brief detour on this list of books like Looking for Alaska, we’re back to boarding school novels with Prep.
Lee Fiora is the protagonist of Curtis Sittenfeld’s debut novel, which follows her through her four years at a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts. Despite being a scholarship student in the midst of a wealthy and privileged environment, she must deal with the pressures of growing up and trying to make a name for herself.
Prep is an excellent coming-of-age novel for fans of Looking for Alaska who want to get a glimpse into the world of New England preparatory academies and the trials they face.