3.99 (1,350,600 ratings by Goodreads)
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The unmissable first novel from bestselling and award-winning author of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN.

"In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla and on that thin-mooned night I could see little more than her silhouette, but even in the dark, I could see her eyes - fierce emeralds. And beautiful."

BEFORE. Miles Halter's whole life has been one big non-event until he starts at anything-but-boring Culver Creek Boarding School and meets Alaska Young. Gorgeous, clever, funny and utterly fascinating she pulls Miles into her world, launches him into a new life, and steals his heart. But when tragedy strikes, and Miles comes face-to-face with death he discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.

AFTER: Nothing will ever be the same.

Poignant, funny, heartbreaking and compelling, this novel will stay with you forever.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 17mm | 190g
  • HarperCollins
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 9780007424832
  • 16,682

Review Text

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words - and tired of his safe, boring and rather lonely life at home. He leaves for boarding school filled with cautious optimism. His roommate there introduces him to Alaska Young and he develops a crush on her.
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Review quote

"Miles's narration is alive with sweet, self-deprecating humor, and his obvious struggle to tell the story truthfully adds to his believability." School Library Journal

"What sings and soars in this gorgeously told tale is Green's mastery of language and the sweet, rough edges of Pudge's voice. Girls will cry and boys will find love, lust, loss and longing in Alaska's vanilla-and-cigarettes scent." Kirkus

"This is an amazing first novel by a writer who is young enough to vividly remember his powerful years of high school and he expertly turns remembrance into story." Children's Literature

"The novel's chief appeal lies in Miles's well-articulated lust and his initial excitement about being on his own for the first time." Publishers Weekly
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About John Green

John Green is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of several YA novels including THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN. He has received numerous accolades including the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor and the Edgar Award. John is also one half of the Vlogbrothers; co-creator, with his brother, Hank, of the popular video blog Brotherhood 2.0, which has been watched more than 30 million times by Nerdfighter fans all over the globe (youtube.com/vlogbrothers).

Join John's 5.3 million followers on Twitter (@johngreen) or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com and probablysignedturtles.com. John lives with his wife and son in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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Rating details

1,350,600 ratings
3.99 out of 5 stars
5 39% (533,227)
4 32% (427,660)
3 20% (267,580)
2 6% (87,352)
1 3% (34,781)

Our customer reviews

This book deserves the 5 stars without a doubt. It is beautifully written and the characters are such individuals. I wanted to read it again as soon as I finished it. Highly recommended.show more
by Emily Clare
"I would always love Alaska Young, my crooked neighbour, with all my crooked heart." I'm not quite sure where to start with this book. I read it in about a day, which is quite amazing, as my last two books have taken me about three weeks each. So that pretty much says how fantastic I found it. Everything is perfectly done. I love the layout of it, with the incident as the central point, showing us the hundred and thirty-six days before and after. I did guess what would happen, though I really didn't want it to. For some reason I seemed to know what the incident was before I even picked up the book. I'm not sure if I'd read it somewhere before and consciously forgotten it or something, I don't know. Still, it was heart breaking. At the start I was sort of worried because Miles sounded quite moan-prone, the kind of guy who doesn't appreciate the friends he already has (kind of like a male Bella Swan) but the narrative certainly improved from the beginning. I did actually end up really liking Miles, and his habit for remembering last words. I thought that was a great thing for the story to keep going back to. All the characters were awesome. The Colonel was just freaking fantastic, and Alaska is basically everything I would like to be. Except for, you know, the screwed up part. I think John Green captures all their voices incredibly well, pretty much perfectly. I love the backgrounds he gave to the characters too, and with them the reasons they were like they were. I could really feel Miles' frustration and sadness at the situation he'd been left with. I wanted for so much more to happen. With every day that was counted down I felt even more depressed, because I wanted to just keep reading about their time at school and the pranking and the stuff they got up to. That's the thing about Green's writing - even when not a lot is happening, it's still damn near impossible to put down. So I'm giving it the full five stars, mainly because of the kick-ass characters and how absorbing it was. It's one of those rare stories that, when you're reading it, you almost become it. Then when someone interrupts you you're kind of dazed for a few seconds because you don't really know where or who you are. You just get so lost in the characters. More than a coming-of-age novel, I see it as a coming-of-life novel, is such a thing exists. It doesn't matter that Miles is just a Junior. He could be any age and the same experience would probably shape him the same way. So really this book is for anybody. Probably for everybody. It really is quite a treasure. "Thomas Edison's last words were, 'It's very beautiful over there.' I don't know where there is, but I know it's somewhere, and I hope it's beautiful."show more
by David Coldwell
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