Looking for Alaska

Dutton Juvenile

If you’ve managed to heave yourself back into your safety canoe after floating away adrift in a sea of your own wracking sobs for the past three weeks, no thanks to The Fault In Our Stars, maybe you’re finally emotionally stable enough to hear word about John Green’s next tearjerker — Looking For Alaska.

The news comes from the author himself; Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell, Take This Waltz, Away From Her) has signed on to adapt Green’s other novel, taking on both writing and directing duties with the coming-of-age dramedy. You can stop holding your breath right now, because this one is devoid of any and all cancers; don’t get too relaxed, though, because it’s still going to be a nightmare of emotions and feelings and worries about your misspent youth. Were you ever really that carefree and beautiful? Or knew that many literary references offhandedly? Kids these days.

Though we don’t know yet how Looking for Alaska the film will shape up plot wise, “Alaska” the novel follows precocious (what else?) dreamy teen Miles Halter (aka Pudge) as he leaves home for his junior year of high school to attend boarding school for the first time. His reasoning? You gotta “go to seek a Great Perhaps,” of course, as the last words of Francois Rabelais necessitate. Seventeen-year-old boys are wont to follow the advice of long-dead Renaissance writers, in my experience.

At boarding school, Pudge meets a whole group of diverse and quirky friends who make life more fun than he could have ever had at home. This includes Alaska Young, a free-spirited, wild, beautiful and troubled girl who naturally catches his eye as soon as she enters his life. But her problems are bigger than he understands, and her reckless and alarming behavior means that we’ll probably be doing that thing when where we cram a bunch of Swedish Fish in our mouth all at once to muffle the sobbing. No? That’s not a thing that people normally do?

Since production is in the earliest of early stages, with only just Polley on board, let the speculation and fantasy casting begin for our wayward teens and boarding school bit players. John Green’s fans are rabidly, consumingly invested in his novels — and now the adaptations of those novels — so it will be interesting to see their reaction to hearing that the beloved author will not have any hand in writing the screenplay, at least that we know of so far (Green wrote the screenplay for The Fault In Our Stars). But with Polley at the helm, an Oscar nominee for her script for Away From Her and a Writers Guild of America winner for best documentary script for Stories We Tell, it’s clearly in good hands.

No word on potential release dates at this time.


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