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PANG THOUGHTS: John Green's Looking for Alaska

I just finished John Green's LOOKING FOR ALASKA. At first, I read it as a challenge from my friend Alyssa. I've never met a bookworm such as this person. And I have a lot of book worm friends. Dude, this girl worked for the library just to be surrounded by books. And! This girl will travel from state to state just to see an author for a meet and greet.  Such is the life of a professional bookworm.

But, as I like doing, I digress.

In our recent trip to Seattle, I wanted to have a souvenir from Amazon Book Store. And we got to talking about the books we like. I'm very much in to Frank Herbert and Anne Bishop, and she's pretty much into a lot of the Y.A. and the New Adult. (I just found out about it a few days ago -- this New A. thing). 

So we both made a challenge. I'll read one of hers, and she'll read one of mine. I told her to read Anne Bishops' Black Jewels, and she told me to read a frigging myriad of collection. Since I can't really afford to buy so many books at once, I told her I'm writing about somebody who doesn't get the girl at the end. And so she said, start with Alaska.

When I first started Alaska, I had this impression that I was going to read Y.A. Naturally, since I did grab it from the Y.A. shelf. 

See, in my time, Y.A. meant Sweet Valley High, and Love Story (the series not the movie or genre), and Sweet Dreams. Or in some perverted incestuous way -- V.C. Andrews. Some friskiness, but not too graphic sex scenes. Not much vices, no more than the occasional drinking at parties. I barely even remember if they ever covered anything about drugs or smoking. Probably they did. I'm probably just going senile. 

I was 15 when I started reading Stephen King (Geralds' Game was my first -- and I abhor that one, though I liked the others I read after) and Anne Rice (Witching Hour then Vampire Chronicles). It might surprise you that it was available in our high school library, but It might surprise you even more that the library composed mostly of the school owners' own collection, including those that belonged to their offsprings. 

That said, there's this very wide gap of what I thought was Young Adult novels and what I thought was not for the young at all.

Continuing with Alaska, I I had heard about its controversies. Which, to be honest,   I thought was rather overplayed. In comparison to V.C. Andrews, I really think the portrayal of sex was rather tame. Sure, the profanity was a tad excessive, but nobody really cusses more than a teenagaer away from home. 

I should know. I was a teenager away from home. 

Like Miles "Pudge" Halter, and Alaska, and the  Colonel, I was 17 when I first moved to a dormitory.  Drinking and smoking and sex were pretty much a normal thing in the university. Most of us were away from our parents, and there weren't much entertainment around other than each other. In fact, in my first semester alone, I had two pregnant classmates, one of whom went to labor within the semester, and got back to class one week after the whole labor thing. 

So relate much? You betcha!

Even so, I thought that it was not categorically like the Y.A. I knew. 

I don't know. I'm not sold on this whole New Adult fiction genre, though. Like what this really angry Huffington Post said, great books should be available and enticing to all age groups. But then, some of the real good ones I know are not really kid appropriate, so ixnay on the all age group thing. For example -- Alaska. 

I would probably let my 12 year old read it (good thing I don't have a  12-year-old), considering that I probably would read it if it came out when I was 12 years old. But most parents would wait, at least, until their kids are 16 to let them read Alaska. 

So seriously, where do I go then?

Because, my stories are mostly like John Green's Looking for Alaska, and if I don't know where to put him, how do I know where to put myself?

And the biggest question, at the end of it all -- WHY DOES IT MATTER TO ME?

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