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6 Books like Looking for Alaska: Infectious Emotions

Whitney Xu itcherLaugh out loud jokes, relatable characters, and an enigmatic girl make a formula for the perfect story. If you’re looking for more novels that feature adventure, tears, and love, check out the following books like ‘Looking For Alaska’ , including ‘Where Things Come Back’, ‘Breathing Underwater’ and ‘Wild Awake’. ~ Whitney Xu

Twists of Fate

John Green is famous for his young adult masterpieces, woven through with mystery, excitement, misery, and infectious joy. With twists and turns least when you expect it, his novels, especially ‘Looking for Alaska,’ take you on a ride that you’re guaranteed to love.

If you can’t get enough of these roller coasters of emotion and events, take a look at the list below.

‘Wild Awake’ (Hilary T. Smith, 2013)

Image Source: Fiction Folio

“I hadn’t known I was capable of being so sad, and the discovery shocked and terrified me. It was like finding an extra door in the house I’d always lived in, and opening it to find that the grief had carved out new rooms, new hallways, an entire black annex of its own…”

Kiri has always believed that her sister, Sukey, died in a car crash five years ago. One summer’s day, when her parents have left her at home by herself, she receives a phone call from a stranger claiming to know her sister. He urges her to meet him at an address, and Kiri stumbles into an adventure that she will never forget, learning that her sister was in fact murdered.

A novel full of tragedy, joy, and unexpected romance, ‘Wild Awake’ is a must-read for those who love getting the chills, whether it be from horror or happiness.

Similarity Match: 95%
The two novels are extremely similar in style and topics discussed. While other novelists could make the subjects of death and love very cliche, neither Green nor Smith write in hackneyed styles. They address the difficulties of a teenager’s life, but also send the message that life goes on.

‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ (Jay Asher, 2007)

Image Source: Lodozo

“If you hear a song that makes you cry and you don’t want to cry anymore, you don’t listen to that song anymore…”

Clay Jensen’s crush, Hannah Baker, has just committed suicide, shocking their small town. Two weeks later, Clay finds a box of thirteen cassette tapes on his doorstep from Hannah, and each tape is addressed to a reason that contributed to her suicide. Clay is one of them. As he listens through the tapes, he realizes how much he did not know about Hannah’s life, or about the people he has lived with his entire life.

Told from the point of view of both Hannah and Clay, Jay Asher tells a heartbreaking story of betrayal, loss of innocence, and liberation.

Similarity Match: 90%
Both ‘Looking for Alaska’ and ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ deal with teenage romance and death, though Asher’s novel discusses more about suicide. They are also both interwoven with feelings of desperation and the frustration of not knowing.

‘Where Things Come Back’ (John Whaley, 2011)

Image Source: Forlagsliv

“Like most teenage boys, I, Cullen Witter, was in love with a beautiful girl who had a big, burly boyfriend who would just as soon kick my ass as look at me…”

Cullen Witter lives in a small town in Arkansas, where he feels positively drowned in ennui. However, everything changes when his fifteen year old brother, Gabriel, goes missing the summer before Cullen’s senior year of high school. Cullen spends his summer searching for the truth, trying to mend his broken family, and pursuing the love of his life, Ada Taylor.

Meanwhile, the story of Cabot Searcy is also told, though he is thousands of miles away from the Witters and is seemingly unrelated to Cullen. Eventually, everything comes together in a delightful and unexpected surprise that you will never see coming. If you like extremely satisfying resolutions that tie all the loose ends together, do not miss this book.

Similarity Match: 85%
Both ‘Looking For Alaska’ and ‘Where Things Come Back’ are thought provoking, fun, and permeated in mystery. In addition, they discuss the meanings of love and whether or not some people only like the idea of love.

‘Breathing Underwater’ (Alex Flinn, 2011)

Image Source: Your Library

“Funny how you can know something and yet not believe it’s possible…”

Sixteen year old Nick Andreas is not someone you would expect to have problems. His life seems perfect: he is good-looking, has a beautiful girlfriend and a loving father, lives in a gorgeous house, and has all the friends he could ask for. However, not everything is as it seems in this novel; there are secrets about Nick’s home that prevent him from living the life he wants.

When his girlfriend, Caitlyn, presses charges against Nick for abusing her, he must step back and examine the factors that led him to his position. A story of love, mistakes, and realization, ‘Breathing Underwater’ makes for an unconventional plot, but a wonderful one nonetheless.

Similarity Match: 80%
The two novels are not similar in respect to plot, but they both address common problems faced by young adults. Both are very real and relatable, adding to the emotional impact they have on the reader.

‘Struck By Lightning’ (Chris Colfer, 2012)

Image Source: Goodreads

“You’ve got to show the world who you are before it tells you. Otherwise you become victim to someone you’re not…”

Before you get wary about reading a novel written by ‘Glee’ star Chris Colfer, let me assure you that ‘Struck By Lightning’ is far from cheesy or melodramatic. We follow the life of Carson Phillips, whose dream to attend Northwestern University and become the editor of the New Yorker seems out of reach considering his lack of high school extracurriculars and his general apathy towards his classmates. However, a clever plan that involves blackmail and poetry leads Carson to create his own literary magazine for the school, putting him on the right path towards college.

There are still things in his way; his wacky school counselor and depressed mom all hold him back as he tries to make a name for himself. Along the way, Carson grows tremendously as a person, realizing his past naivete and mistakes. However, just when you think you know what will happen, you’re met with a shocking ending.

Similarity Match: 75%
This book like ‘Looking For Alaska’ shares least similarities with it because of its focus on individual development. Where John Green writes mostly about the impact of others on Miles’ life, Colfer delves into the psyche of the mind and how one person can find inner strength in the face of adversity.

‘Whale Talk’ (Chris Crutcher, 2002)

Image Source: The Yayayas

“He knew that we take what the universe gives us, and we either get the most out of it or we don’t, but in the end we all go out the same way…”

The Cutter High School swim team may not have a pool, but they do have spirit. This is a heartwarming story of a band of misfits and their conversations on the buses driving home from swim meets; of their collective failures and victories and of their growing friendship. None of the members of the team feel like they really belong in any group within the school, especially team captain T.J. Jones, known for his anger management issues. However, under his leadership, the ‘Mermen’ thrive in their own community, formed by themselves.

When tragedy strikes T.J.’s family, his teammates support him with all the strength they have, leaving ‘Whale Talk’ with a questionable but promising ending. Chris Crutcher, author of ‘Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes,’ touches our hearts again in this poignant novel.

Similarity Match: 70%
‘Whale Talk’ does not deal so much with romantic love like Green’s novel does, but it does focus on a broader sense of the term. Both novels discuss the impact of death, addressing both the darkness that comes along with it, but also the light.


Can’t Get Enough of These Emotional Young Adult Stories?

Make sure you check out other novels by John Green, especially ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ and ‘An Abundance of Katherines,’ which both integrate teenage love and adventure. Other books to read include ‘The Probability of Miracles’ (Wendy Wunder, 2011) and ‘My Heartbeat’ (Garret Freymann-Weyr).

What other books similar to ‘Looking For Alaska’ do you think should be included in this list?

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