455 Awesome Looking For Alaska Quotes You Will Love To Recall

Looking for Alaska

I'd rather wonder than get the answers I couldn't live with. This is just one of the myriad quotes in Looking for Alaska, the coming-of-age novel by American author John Green.

Published in 2005 by Dutton Juvenile, Looking for Alaska touches on themes like grief, hope, self discovery, and young adult relationships. Although the story is fictional, the characters and events in the novel are based on John Green's life while at Indian Springs School.

The novel's main character is Miles Halter (Pudge), a boy who loves last famous words. His choice to go to a boarding school is even inspired by the famous last words of François Rabelais, ‘to seek a Great Perhaps.'

The novel has two sections. The first half follows Miles and his friends ChipThe Colonel" Martin, Alaska Young, and Takumi Hikohito. The four grow closer as they get to learn more about each other. This section ends with the death of Alaska.

In the second half, Miles and his friends try to find out what happened to Alaska on the night she died. They all try to come to terms with her death and let her go in the end.

Looking For Alaska won the Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association. However, it was also the association's most challenged book in 2015. This was because of the use of profanity and a sexually explicit scene. Some schools even called for it to be banned.

In 2005, Paramount Pictures got the rights to produce its adaptation but it was never produced. Later, in 2019, Looking For Alaska premiered as a Hulu original. The film follows the book's same storyline.

If you are a fan of the book or the movie, we handpicked the most memorable quotes from Looking For Alaska to give you some good old nostalgia. Here you go!

Looking for Alaska Quotes

How could I abandon my parents, who were nice enough to pay for my education at Culver Creek, my parents who had always loved me, just because I maybe liked some girl with a boyfriend? How could I leave them alone with a giant turkey and mounds of inedible cranberry sauce? So during third period, I called my mom at work.

How could I abandon my parents, who were nice enough to pay for my education at Culver Creek, my parents who had always loved me,

We laughed and drank our wine, and then after the meal, we each listed our gratitudes. My family always did that before the meal, and we all just rushed through it to get to the food. So the four of us sat around the table and shared our blessings. I was thankful for the fine food and the fine company, for having a home on Thanksgiving. "A trailer, at least," Dolores joked.

We laughed and drank our wine, and then after the meal, we each listed our gratitudes. My family always did that before the meal, and

So I know she forgives me, just as I forgive her. Thomas Edison’s last words were “It’s very beautiful over there”. I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.

So I know she forgives me, just as I forgive her. Thomas Edison’s last words were “It’s very beautiful over there”. I don’t know where

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C'mon Pudge. I'm teasing. You have to be tough. I didn't know how bad it was -- and I'm sorry, and they'll regret it -- but you have to be tough.

C’mon Pudge. I’m teasing. You have to be tough. I didn’t know how bad it was — and I’m sorry, and they’ll regret it — but you have to be tough.

And then I screwed up and the Colonel screwed up and Takumi screwed up and she slipped through our fingers. And there's no sugarcoating it: She deserved better friends.

And then I screwed up and the Colonel screwed up and Takumi screwed up and she slipped through our fingers. And there’s no sugarcoating it: She deserved better friends.

When she fucked up, all those years ago, just a little girl terrified into paralysis, she collapsed into the enigma of herself. And that could have happened to me, but I saw where it led for her. So I still believe in the Great Perhaps, and I can believe in it in spite of having lost her.

When she fucked up, all those years ago, just a little girl terrified into paralysis, she collapsed into the enigma of herself. And that could have happened to me, but I saw where it led for her. So I still believe in the Great Perhaps, and I can believe in it in spite of having lost her.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, your parents never have to know, though. The school doesn't want your parents to think you became a fuckup here any more than you want your parents think you're a fuckup.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, your parents never have to know, though. The school doesn’t want your parents to think you became a fuckup here any more than you want your parents think you’re a fuckup.

You should have stopped her! She never thought anything through. She was so god damn impulsive you had to watch her like a three-year-old. You do one thing wrong, and she dies. How the fuck could you let her go?

You should have stopped her! She never thought anything through. She was so god damn impulsive you had to watch her like a three-year-old. You do one thing wrong, and she dies. How the fuck could you let her go?

Alaska: I think the problem is that you spend so much time worried about what’s up there that you’re missing out on the real party down here. Lara: I guess for some of us, parties aren’t so important. Alaska: It was a metaphor.

Alaska: I think the problem is that you spend so much time worried about what’s up there that you’re missing out on the real party down here.
Lara: I guess for some of us, parties aren’t so important.
Alaska: It was a metaphor.

Alaska pulling the controller up and to the right, as if that would help her escape certain death. I had the same bad habit.

Alaska pulling the controller up and to the right, as if that would help her escape certain death. I had the same bad habit.

An ambulance, lights and sirens blaring, sped past us, going in the opposite direction, towards the school, and for an instant, I felt a nervous excitement and thought, it could be someone I know. I almost wished it was someone I knew, to give new form and depth to the sadness I felt.

An ambulance, lights and sirens blaring, sped past us, going in the opposite direction, towards the school, and for an instant, I felt a nervous excitement and thought, it could be someone I know. I almost wished it was someone I knew, to give new form and depth to the sadness I felt.

I worried about it for a moment as I held the bottle by the neck, but I wanted to trust her, and so I did. I took a minor sip, and as soon as I swallowed, I felt my body rejecting the stinging syrup of it. It washed back up my esophagus, but I swallowed hard, and there, yes, I did it. I was drinking on campus.

I worried about it for a moment as I held the bottle by the neck, but I wanted to trust her, and so I did. I took a minor sip, and as soon as I swallowed, I felt my body rejecting the stinging syrup of it. It washed back up my esophagus, but I swallowed hard, and there, yes, I did it. I was drinking on campus.

“How can you read and talk at the same time?” I asked. “Well, I usually can’t, but neither the book nor the conversation is particularly intellectually challenging.”

“How can you read and talk at the same time?” I asked.
“Well, I usually can’t, but neither the book nor the conversation is particularly intellectually challenging.”

I found his last words without too much searching. Captured by the Bolivian army, Guevara said, 'Shoot, coward. You are only going to kill a man.'

I found his last words without too much searching. Captured by the Bolivian army, Guevara said, ‘Shoot, coward. You are only going to kill a man.’

“Have you really read all those books in your room?” Alaska laughing- “Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read. But there is so much to do: cigarettes to smoke, sex to have, swings to swing on. I'll have more time for reading when I'm old and boring.”

“Have you really read all those books in your room?”

Alaska laughing- “Oh God no. I’ve maybe read a third of ‘em. But I’m going to read them all. I call it my Life’s Library. Every summer since I was little, I’ve gone to garage sales and bought all the books that looked interesting. So I always have something to read. But there is so much to do: cigarettes to smoke, sex to have, swings to swing on. I’ll have more time for reading when I’m old and boring.”

The opposing team’s cheerleaders tried to answer our cheers with “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! Hell is in your future if you give in to desire,” but we could always do them one better. “Buy!” “SELL!” “Trade!” “BARTER!” “YOU’RE MUCH BIGGER, BUT WE ARE SMARTER!”

The opposing team’s cheerleaders tried to answer our cheers with “The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire! Hell is in your future if you give in to desire,” but we could always do them one better.
“Buy!”
“SELL!”
“Trade!”
“BARTER!”
“YOU’RE MUCH BIGGER, BUT WE ARE SMARTER!”

For a long time, I was mad at you. The way you cut me out of everything hurt me, and so I kept what I knew to myself. But then even after I wasn’t mad anymore, I still didn’t say anything, and I don’t even really know why. Pudge had that kiss, I guess. And I had this secret.

For a long time, I was mad at you. The way you cut me out of everything hurt me, and so I kept what I knew to myself. But then even after I wasn’t mad anymore, I still didn’t say anything, and I don’t even really know why. Pudge had that kiss, I guess. And I had this secret.

As I sat through my classes that morning, I could think of nothing else. Every junior in the school had known for two weeks, and so far not even the faintest rumor had leaked out. But the Creek was rife with gossips — particularly the Weekday Warriors, and if just one person told one friend who told one friend who told one friend who told the Eagle, everything would fall apart. The Creek's don't-rat ethos withstood the test nicely.

As I sat through my classes that morning, I could think of nothing else. Every junior in the school had known for two weeks, and so far not even the faintest rumor had leaked out. But the Creek was rife with gossips — particularly the Weekday Warriors, and if just one person told one friend who told one friend who told one friend who told the Eagle, everything would fall apart.

The Creek’s don’t-rat ethos withstood the test nicely.

I lay on my back with my knees hanging over the precipice and screamed. I screamed because the Colonel was a self-satisfied, condescending bastard, and I screamed because he was right, for I did want to believe that I'd had a secret love affair with Alaska. Did she love me? Would she have left Jake for me? Or was it just another impulsive Alaska moment?

I lay on my back with my knees hanging over the precipice and screamed. I screamed because the Colonel was a self-satisfied, condescending bastard, and I screamed because he was right, for I did want to believe that I’d had a secret love affair with Alaska. Did she love me? Would she have left Jake for me? Or was it just another impulsive Alaska moment?

He was quiet for a long time, and I looked down at Alaska's last daisy and waited for him to ask what the prank was, and I would have told him, but I just heard him breathe slowly into the phone, and then he said, "I won't even ask. Hmm." He sighed. "Swear to God you'll never tell your mother."

He was quiet for a long time, and I looked down at Alaska’s last daisy and waited for him to ask what the prank was, and I would have told him, but I just heard him breathe slowly into the phone, and then he said, “I won’t even ask. Hmm.” He sighed. “Swear to God you’ll never tell your mother.”

And I almost said, She buried it in the woods out by the soccer field, but I realized that the Colonel didn't know, that she never took him to the edge of the woods and told him to dig for buried treasure, that she and I had shared that alone, and I kept it for myself like a keepsake, as if sharing the memory might lead to its dissipation.

And I almost said, She buried it in the woods out by the soccer field, but I realized that the Colonel didn’t know, that she never took him to the edge of the woods and told him to dig for buried treasure, that she and I had shared that alone, and I kept it for myself like a keepsake, as if sharing the memory might lead to its dissipation.

The times that were most fun seemed always to be followed by sadness now, because it was when life started to feel like it did when she was with us that we realized how utterly gone she was.

The times that were most fun seemed always to be followed by sadness now, because it was when life started to feel like it did when she was with us that we realized how utterly gone she was.

Hank hugged me and said, “At least it was instant. At least there wasn’t any pain.” I knew he was only trying to help, but he didn't get it. There was pain. A dull endless pain in my gut that wouldn't go away even when I knelt on the stingingly frozen tile of the bathroom, dry-heaving.

Hank hugged me and said, “At least it was instant. At least there wasn’t any pain.”
I knew he was only trying to help, but he didn’t get it. There was pain. A dull endless pain in my gut that wouldn’t go away even when I knelt on the stingingly frozen tile of the bathroom, dry-heaving.

No reason to be angry. Anger just distracts from the all-encompassing sadness, the frank knowledge that you killed her and robbed her of a future and a life.

No reason to be angry. Anger just distracts from the all-encompassing sadness, the frank knowledge that you killed her and robbed her of a future and a life.

She was so sad, and I didn't know what to say or do. I think she counted on me to be the one person who would always say and do the right things to help her, but I couldn't. I just thought she was looking for flowers. I didn't know she was going to go. She was drunk, just trashed drunk, and I really didn't think she would drive or anything. I thought she would just cry herself to sleep or something. She walked away, and then I heard a car start. I don't know what I was thinking. So I let her go, too. And I'm sorry. I know you loved her. It was hard not to.

She was so sad, and I didn’t know what to say or do. I think she counted on me to be the one person who would always say and do the right things to help her, but I couldn’t. I just thought she was looking for flowers. I didn’t know she was going to go. She was drunk, just trashed drunk, and I really didn’t think she would drive or anything. I thought she would just cry herself to sleep or something. She walked away, and then I heard a car start. I don’t know what I was thinking.
So I let her go, too. And I’m sorry. I know you loved her. It was hard not to.

She’s the only girl I slept with. I don’t know. Even though we fought, like, ninety-four percent of the time, I’m really sad.

She’s the only girl I slept with. I don’t know. Even though we fought, like, ninety-four percent of the time, I’m really sad.

The coffin was closed. Closed. Never going to see her again. Can't kiss her forehead. Can't see her one last time. But I needed to, I needed to see her, and much to loud, I asked, "Why is it closed?" and the man, whose potbelly pushed out from his too-tight suit, turned around and walked toward me.

The coffin was closed. Closed. Never going to see her again. Can’t kiss her forehead. Can’t see her one last time. But I needed to, I needed to see her, and much to loud, I asked, “Why is it closed?” and the man, whose potbelly pushed out from his too-tight suit, turned around and walked toward me.

"Hungover?" "Like an alcoholic preacher on Sunday morning." "Maybe you shouldn't drink so much," I suggested. "Pudge." She shook her head and sipped the cold coffee and wine. "Pudge, what you must understand about me is that I am a deeply unhappy person."

“Hungover?”
“Like an alcoholic preacher on Sunday morning.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t drink so much,” I suggested.
“Pudge.” She shook her head and sipped the cold coffee and wine. “Pudge, what you must understand about me is that I am a deeply unhappy person.”

"We have to slow down or I'll puke," I remarked after we finished the first bottle. "I'm sorry, Pudge. I wasn't aware that someone was holding open your throat and pouring wine down it," the Colonel responded.

“We have to slow down or I’ll puke,” I remarked after we finished the first bottle.

“I’m sorry, Pudge. I wasn’t aware that someone was holding open your throat and pouring wine down it,” the Colonel responded.

We left. We did not say: Don't drive, You're drunk. We did not say: We aren't letting you in that car when you are upset. We did not say: We insist on going with you. We did not say: This can wait until tomorrow. Anything - everything - can wait.

We left.
We did not say: Don’t drive, You’re drunk.
We did not say: We aren’t letting you in that car when you are upset.
We did not say: We insist on going with you.
We did not say: This can wait until tomorrow. Anything – everything – can wait.

'I walked to Montevallo.' 'Forty miles?!' 'Forty-two,' he corrected me. 'Well. Forty-two there. Forty-two back. Eight-two miles. No. Eight-four. Yes. Eighty-four miles in forty-five hours.' 'What the hell's in Montevallo?' I asked. 'Not much. I just walked till I got too cold, and then I turned around.' 'You didn't sleep?' 'No! The dreams are terrible. In my dreams, she doesn't even look like herself anymore. I don't even remember what she looked like.'

‘I walked to Montevallo.’
‘Forty miles?!’
‘Forty-two,’ he corrected me. ‘Well. Forty-two there. Forty-two back. Eight-two miles. No. Eight-four. Yes. Eighty-four miles in forty-five hours.’
‘What the hell’s in Montevallo?’ I asked.
‘Not much. I just walked till I got too cold, and then I turned around.’
‘You didn’t sleep?’
‘No! The dreams are terrible. In my dreams, she doesn’t even look like herself anymore. I don’t even remember what she looked like.’

It was not enough to be the last guy she kissed. I wanted to be the last one she loved. And I knew I wasn’t. I knew it, and I hated her for it. I hated her for not caring about me. I hated her for leaving that night, and I hated myself, too, not only because I let her go but because if I had been enough for her, she wouldn’t have even wanted to leave. She would have just lain with me and talked and cried, and I would have listened and kissed at her tears as they pooled in her eyes.

It was not enough to be the last guy she kissed. I wanted to be the last one she loved. And I knew I wasn’t. I knew it, and I hated her for it. I hated her for not caring about me. I hated her for leaving that night, and I hated myself, too, not only because I let her go but because if I had been enough for her, she wouldn’t have even wanted to leave. She would have just lain with me and talked and cried, and I would have listened and kissed at her tears as they pooled in her eyes.

"We'll find out," I said, trying to play the role that the Colonel had always played for me. "Not tonight," he answered. "Tonight, we're gonna throw up a little, and then we are going to sleep through our hangover." "Don't forget about Latin." "Right. Fucking Latin."

“We’ll find out,” I said, trying to play the role that the Colonel had always played for me.
“Not tonight,” he answered. “Tonight, we’re gonna throw up a little, and then we are going to sleep through our hangover.”
“Don’t forget about Latin.”
“Right. Fucking Latin.”

Mrs. Halter: But why do you have to go now, that's what college is for. Miles: I've told you why. Mrs. Halter: Because of some French poet's last words. A Great Perhaps? What does that even mean? Miles: That's what I need to find out.

Mrs. Halter: But why do you have to go now, that’s what college is for.
Miles: I’ve told you why.
Mrs. Halter: Because of some French poet’s last words. A Great Perhaps? What does that even mean?
Miles: That’s what I need to find out.

Pudge: Wasn't Alaska gonna meet us? Feel like it might be rude if she showed up, and we were both gone. Colonel: One boob Jesus. It's Alaska. Who the hell knows what she's gonna do.

Pudge: Wasn’t Alaska gonna meet us? Feel like it might be rude if she showed up, and we were both gone.
Colonel: One boob Jesus. It’s Alaska. Who the hell knows what she’s gonna do.

Mrs. Halter. : I just hope you find whatever it is you're looking for: Your Great Perhaps? Miles: I think I have. I think I have.

Mrs. Halter. : I just hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for: Your Great Perhaps?
Miles: I think I have. I think I have.

Great Perhaps. I like it. It's just ambiguous enough. Unquantifiable. Kind of magical. Hell of a metaphor. It's also a pretentious way of saying you wanna get laid.

Great Perhaps. I like it. It’s just ambiguous enough. Unquantifiable. Kind of magical. Hell of a metaphor. It’s also a pretentious way of saying you wanna get laid.

You broke the chain of command, but never have I been so glad to have my orders ignored. That was some funny shit, and I'm not just referring to what they had to hose off the Weekday Warriors.

You broke the chain of command, but never have I been so glad to have my orders ignored. That was some funny shit, and I’m not just referring to what they had to hose off the Weekday Warriors.

Alaska YoungKevin: Wanna say that to my face 'cause you're talking to my sternum. Colonel: Closer to your heart when I rip it out.

Alaska YoungKevin: Wanna say that to my face ’cause you’re talking to my sternum.
Colonel: Closer to your heart when I rip it out.

I’m not rushing, I’m realizing. I’ve been chasing after Alaska and maybe this whole time the girl I was supposed to be with was right in front of me. Maybe everything that’s happened has lead me to this moment, to this dance.

I’m not rushing, I’m realizing. I’ve been chasing after Alaska and maybe this whole time the girl I was supposed to be with was right in front of me. Maybe everything that’s happened has lead me to this moment, to this dance.

Dr. Hyde: People don’t have eternal souls. Instead they are a bundle of energy, reincarnating endlessly until it eventually reaches enlightenment. Meaning, as painful as this is, it will change. Alaska: I fucking love you Hyde.

Dr. Hyde: People don’t have eternal souls. Instead they are a bundle of energy, reincarnating endlessly until it eventually reaches enlightenment. Meaning, as painful as this is, it will change.
Alaska: I fucking love you Hyde.

Alaska: I was afraid of what you’d think when you knew the truth. Now you know. You’re still here. Why are you still here? Pudge: Because I’m your friend. Alaska: Cool. Friend.

Alaska: I was afraid of what you’d think when you knew the truth. Now you know. You’re still here. Why are you still here?
Pudge: Because I’m your friend.
Alaska: Cool. Friend.

Pudge: Why are all these people crying? She's not dead. She does pranks. This is a prank. She's really good at pranks. The Eagle: Miles, Miles, I saw her. I'm sorry.

Pudge: Why are all these people crying? She’s not dead. She does pranks. This is a prank. She’s really good at pranks.
The Eagle: Miles, Miles, I saw her. I’m sorry.

Colonel: The bell will ring, everyone will go back to class, and pretty soon I’ll be a distant memory, even to ya’ll. I’ll just be that funny little black dude you knew back in the day, until one day years from now, you’ll just be thinking, “Hey, I wonder what happened to Chip Martin. I wonder what he would have made of himself if he never would have got expelled all those years ago.” Chances are you won’t remember why, nobody will. Alaska: That is not true. We will always be friends. Colonel: No we won’t. We can’t. Starting tomorrow I’ll be the guy who got kicked out of school ‘cause of you and you’ll always feel guilty and I’ll always feel resentful and that’s no recipe for a friendship now is it?

Colonel: The bell will ring, everyone will go back to class, and pretty soon I’ll be a distant memory, even to ya’ll. I’ll just be that funny little black dude you knew back in the day, until one day years from now, you’ll just be thinking, “Hey, I wonder what happened to Chip Martin. I wonder what he would have made of himself if he never would have got expelled all those years ago.” Chances are you won’t remember why, nobody will.
Alaska: That is not true. We will always be friends.
Colonel: No we won’t. We can’t. Starting tomorrow I’ll be the guy who got kicked out of school ‘cause of you and you’ll always feel guilty and I’ll always feel resentful and that’s no recipe for a friendship now is it?

I set off the fireworks. 'Cause she said she needed to go and I didn't know where. She said she was fine to drive, and I believed her, and I let her go. So it's all my fault, so kick me out, just kick me out. Kick me out, please.

I set off the fireworks. ‘Cause she said she needed to go and I didn’t know where. She said she was fine to drive, and I believed her, and I let her go. So it’s all my fault, so kick me out, just kick me out. Kick me out, please.

You broke her. Hey, you broke her. If you were ever there for her, none of this would've happened. She wouldn't have been so sad. She wouldn't have drank so much. She would have had a car with fucking airbags. It should have been you. It shouldn't have been her. It should have been fucking you.

You broke her. Hey, you broke her. If you were ever there for her, none of this would’ve happened. She wouldn’t have been so sad. She wouldn’t have drank so much. She would have had a car with fucking airbags. It should have been you. It shouldn’t have been her. It should have been fucking you.

Pudge: She must have been wasted. Why did we believe her when she said she wasn't? Takumi: Because we never knew if she was drunk or not. If she was happy or not, and we always did what she wanted.

Pudge: She must have been wasted. Why did we believe her when she said she wasn’t?
Takumi: Because we never knew if she was drunk or not. If she was happy or not, and we always did what she wanted.

And it occured to me that I could have made up any last words for Millard Fillmore and Kevin probably would have believed me if I’d used that same tone of voice, the Colonel’s confidence rubbing off on me.

And it occured to me that I could have made up any last words for Millard Fillmore and Kevin probably would have believed me if I’d used that same tone of voice, the Colonel’s confidence rubbing off on me.

The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going away party. To say that I had low expectations would be to underestimate the matter dramatically.

The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going away party. To say that I had low expectations would be to underestimate the matter dramatically.

Buddhism, particularly as it is popularly practiced, promises improvement through karma. Islam and Christianity promise eternal paradise to the faithful. And that is a powerful opiate, certainly, the hope of a better life to come. But there's a Sufi story that challenges the notion that people believe only because they need an opiate. Rabe'a al-Adiwiyah, a great woman saint of Sufism, was seem running through the streets of her hometown, Basra, carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When someone asked her what she was doing, she answered, 'I am going to take this bucket of water and pour it on the flames of hell, and then I am going to use this torch to burn down the gates of paradise so that people will not love God for want of heaven or fear of hell, but because He is God.'

Buddhism, particularly as it is popularly practiced, promises improvement through karma. Islam and Christianity promise eternal paradise to the faithful. And that is a powerful opiate, certainly, the hope of a better life to come. But there’s a Sufi story that challenges the notion that people believe only because they need an opiate. Rabe’a al-Adiwiyah, a great woman saint of Sufism, was seem running through the streets of her hometown, Basra, carrying a torch in one hand and a bucket of water in the other. When someone asked her what she was doing, she answered, ‘I am going to take this bucket of water and pour it on the flames of hell, and then I am going to use this torch to burn down the gates of paradise so that people will not love God for want of heaven or fear of hell, but because He is God.’

And I vaguely remember Lara smiling at me from the doorway, the glittering ambiguity of a girl’s smile, which seems to promise an answer to the question but never gives it. The question, the one we’ve all been asking since girls stopped being gross, the question that is too simple to be uncomplicated: Does she like me or LIKE me?

And I vaguely remember Lara smiling at me from the doorway, the glittering ambiguity of a girl’s smile, which seems to promise an answer to the question but never gives it. The question, the one we’ve all been asking since girls stopped being gross, the question that is too simple to be uncomplicated: Does she like me or LIKE me?

I had wondered. I had wondered if she had any intention of keeping her promise that we would be continued. I had wondered who called, and why, and what made her so upset. But I'd rather wonder than get answers I couldn't live with.

I had wondered. I had wondered if she had any intention of keeping her promise that we would be continued. I had wondered who called, and why, and what made her so upset. But I’d rather wonder than get answers I couldn’t live with.

And he couldn’t know, because he wasn’t the last person she kissed, because he hadn’t been left with an unkeepable promise, because he wasn’t me.

And he couldn’t know, because he wasn’t the last person she kissed, because he hadn’t been left with an unkeepable promise, because he wasn’t me.

Christmas vacation wasn’t really a vacation, on account of how it was our last chance to study for exams, which started the day after we got back.

Christmas vacation wasn’t really a vacation, on account of how it was our last chance to study for exams, which started the day after we got back.

“I have one. You start.” “Okay. Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” said Alaska. I looked at her blankly. About a minute later, I got it, and laughed.

“I have one. You start.”
“Okay. Knock knock.”
“Who’s there?” said Alaska.
I looked at her blankly. About a minute later, I got it, and laughed.

It was worse than the Duct Tape Incident, because I already knew that the Kevin Richmans of the world didn't like me. But my teachers had always been card-carrying members of the Miles Halter Fan Club.

It was worse than the Duct Tape Incident, because I already knew that the Kevin Richmans of the world didn’t like me. But my teachers had always been card-carrying members of the Miles Halter Fan Club.

When Alaska Young is sitting with her legs crossed in a brittle, periodically green clover patch leaning forward in search of four-leaf clovers, the pale skin of her sizable cleavage clearly visible, it is a plain fact of human physiology that it becomes impossible to join in her clover search.

When Alaska Young is sitting with her legs crossed in a brittle, periodically green clover patch leaning forward in search of four-leaf clovers, the pale skin of her sizable cleavage clearly visible, it is a plain fact of human physiology that it becomes impossible to join in her clover search.

I have here Alaska’s final. You’ll recall that you were asked what the most important question facing people is, and how the three traditions we’re studying this year address that question. This was Alaska’s question.

I have here Alaska’s final. You’ll recall that you were asked what the most important question facing people is, and how the three traditions we’re studying this year address that question. This was Alaska’s question.

I sat back down on the couch, between my mom and my dad, and my dad put his arm around me, and we stayed there like that, quiet on the couch together, for a long time, until it seemed okay to turn on the TV, and then we ate artichoke dip for dinner and watched the History Channel, and as going-away parties go, it certainly could have been worse.

I sat back down on the couch, between my mom and my dad, and my dad put his arm around me, and we stayed there like that, quiet on the couch together, for a long time, until it seemed okay to turn on the TV, and then we ate artichoke dip for dinner and watched the History Channel, and as going-away parties go, it certainly could have been worse.

I wanted to like booze more than I actually did (which is more or less the precise opposite of how I felt about Alaska).

I wanted to like booze more than I actually did (which is more or less the precise opposite of how I felt about Alaska).

My name, is Dr. Hyde. I have a first name, of course. So far as you are concerned, it is Doctor. Your parents pay a great deal of money so that you can attend school here, and I expect that you will offer them some return on their investment by reading what I tell you to read when I tell you to read it and consistently attending this class. And when you are here, you will listen to what I say.

My name, is Dr. Hyde. I have a first name, of course. So far as you are concerned, it is Doctor. Your parents pay a great deal of money so that you can attend school here, and I expect that you will offer them some return on their investment by reading what I tell you to read when I tell you to read it and consistently attending this class. And when you are here, you will listen to what I say.

I came back into the room and excitedly said, “They love their hair.” “Precisely!” she shouted. “Look on the top bunk.” Perilously positioned on the thin wooden headboard of the bed, a bottle of STA-WET gel. “Kevin doesn’t just wake up with that spiky bedhead look, Pudge. He works for it. He loves that hair. They leave their hair products here, Pudge, because they have duplicates at home. All those boys do. And you know why?” “Because they’re compensating for their tiny little penises?” I asked. “Ha ha. No. That’s why they’re macho assholes. They love their hair because they aren’t smart enough to love something more interesting. So we hit them where it hurts: the scalp.”

I came back into the room and excitedly said, “They love their hair.”

“Precisely!” she shouted. “Look on the top bunk.” Perilously positioned on the thin wooden headboard of the bed, a bottle of STA-WET gel. “Kevin doesn’t just wake up with that spiky bedhead look, Pudge. He works for it. He loves that hair. They leave their hair products here, Pudge, because they have duplicates at home. All those boys do. And you know why?”

“Because they’re compensating for their tiny little penises?” I asked.

“Ha ha. No. That’s why they’re macho assholes. They love their hair because they aren’t smart enough to love something more interesting. So we hit them where it hurts: the scalp.”

She looked at me and smiled widely, and such a wide smile on her narrow face might have looked goofy were it not for the unimpeachably elegant green in her eyes.

She looked at me and smiled widely, and such a wide smile on her narrow face might have looked goofy were it not for the unimpeachably elegant green in her eyes.

Most Christians and Muslims believe in a heaven and a hell, though there’s a lot of disagreement within both religions over what, exactly, will get you into one afterlife or the other.

Most Christians and Muslims believe in a heaven and a hell, though there’s a lot of disagreement within both religions over what, exactly, will get you into one afterlife or the other.

And I wasn't great at talking for myself either. We had something important in common, then, a personality quirk I didn't share with Alaska or anybody else, although almost by definition Lara and I couldn't express it to each other.

And I wasn’t great at talking for myself either. We had something important in common, then, a personality quirk I didn’t share with Alaska or anybody else, although almost by definition Lara and I couldn’t express it to each other.

“What did you say?” I asked, walking to her, putting my hand on the small of her back. “Shhhh,” she said. “I’m sleeping.”

“What did you say?” I asked, walking to her, putting my hand on the small of her back.
“Shhhh,” she said. “I’m sleeping.”

That was the day I stopped caring what people did. I just never cared anymore, about being a loser or not having friends or any of that. So I guess it was good for me in a way, but that moment was awful.

That was the day I stopped caring what people did. I just never cared anymore, about being a loser or not having friends or any of that. So I guess it was good for me in a way, but that moment was awful.

So instead of naming me Harmony or Mary, they agreed to let me decide... And then on my seventh birthday, my present was that I got to pick my name. Cool, huh? So I spent the whole day looking at my dad's globe for a really cool name. And so my first choice was Chad, like the country in Africa. But then my dad said that was a boy's name, so I picked Alaska.

So instead of naming me Harmony or Mary, they agreed to let me decide… And then on my seventh birthday, my present was that I got to pick my name. Cool, huh? So I spent the whole day looking at my dad’s globe for a really cool name. And so my first choice was Chad, like the country in Africa. But then my dad said that was a boy’s name, so I picked Alaska.

I liked to imagine her looking down on us, still aware of us, but it seemed like a fantasy and I never really felt it - just as the Colonel had said at the funeral that she wasn't there, wasn't anywhere. I couldn't honestly imagine her as anything but dead, her body rotting in Vine Station, the rest of her just a ghost alive only in our remembering.

I liked to imagine her looking down on us, still aware of us, but it seemed like a fantasy and I never really felt it – just as the Colonel had said at the funeral that she wasn’t there, wasn’t anywhere. I couldn’t honestly imagine her as anything but dead, her body rotting in Vine Station, the rest of her just a ghost alive only in our remembering.

I thought we were in the clear as we began to round the corner of the bleachers, but then I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a cylindrical orange object getting bigger and bigger, like a fast-approaching sun. I thought: I think that is going to hit me. I thought: I should duck.

I thought we were in the clear as we began to round the corner of the bleachers, but then I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a cylindrical orange object getting bigger and bigger, like a fast-approaching sun.
I thought: I think that is going to hit me.
I thought: I should duck.

God, ‘I love you’ really is the gateway drug of breaking up. Saying ‘I love you’ while walking across the dorm circle inevitably leads to saying ‘I love you’ while you’re doing it.

God, ‘I love you’ really is the gateway drug of breaking up. Saying ‘I love you’ while walking across the dorm circle inevitably leads to saying ‘I love you’ while you’re doing it.

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 except for when she smoked, when the burning cherry of the cigarette washed her face in pale red light. But even in the dark, I could see her eyes - fierce emeralds.

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 except for when she smoked, when the burning cherry of the cigarette washed her face in pale red light. But even in the dark, I could see her eyes – fierce emeralds.

"Two nights in a row is maybe pushing our luck," Takumi said as Alaska opened the wine. "Luck is for suckers." She smiled and put the bottle to her lips.

“Two nights in a row is maybe pushing our luck,” Takumi said as Alaska opened the wine.

“Luck is for suckers.” She smiled and put the bottle to her lips.

I felt the fight-or-flight reflex swell up in me over and over again, but I knew that neither fight nor flight had ever worked for me before.

I felt the fight-or-flight reflex swell up in me over and over again, but I knew that neither fight nor flight had ever worked for me before.

Hands on her shoulders, I noted. Fast, but not too fast or it's going to be over, fast. Keep your grunting to a minimum.

Hands on her shoulders, I noted. Fast, but not too fast or it’s going to be over, fast. Keep your grunting to a minimum.

"You're fine," Takumi said as he jogged back towards me. "Let's get out of here before we're killed." "I'm sorry," I said. "But I can't get up. I have suffered a mild concussion." Lara ran out and sat down next to me. "Are you OK?" "I am concussed," I said. Takumi sat down with me and looked me in the eye. "Do you know what happened to you?" "The beast got me." "Do you know where you are?" "I'm on a triple-and-a-half date." "You're fine," Takumi said. "Let's go." And then I leaned forward and threw up on Lara's pants.

“You’re fine,” Takumi said as he jogged back towards me. “Let’s get out of here before we’re killed.”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I can’t get up. I have suffered a mild concussion.”
Lara ran out and sat down next to me.
“Are you OK?”
“I am concussed,” I said.
Takumi sat down with me and looked me in the eye. “Do you know what happened to you?”
“The beast got me.”
“Do you know where you are?”
“I’m on a triple-and-a-half date.”
“You’re fine,” Takumi said. “Let’s go.”
And then I leaned forward and threw up on Lara’s pants.

I might have asked a question about Jesus Christ Superstar, except that 1. I didn’t know what it was, and 2. I didn’t care to learn, and 3. I never really excelled at small talk.

I might have asked a question about Jesus Christ Superstar, except that 1. I didn’t know what it was, and 2. I didn’t care to learn, and 3. I never really excelled at small talk.

This poor Sufi dressed in rags walked into a jewelry store owned by a rich merchant and asked him, “Do you know how you’re going to die?” The merchant answered, “No. No one knows how they’re going to die.” And the Sufi said, “I do.” “How?” asked the merchant. And the Sufi lay down, crossed his arms, said, “Like this,” and died, whereupon the merchant promptly gave up his store to live a life of poverty in pursuit of the kind of spiritual wealth the dead Sufi had acquired.

This poor Sufi dressed in rags walked into a jewelry store owned by a rich merchant and asked him, “Do you know how you’re going to die?” The merchant answered, “No. No one knows how they’re going to die.” And the Sufi said, “I do.”
“How?” asked the merchant.
And the Sufi lay down, crossed his arms, said, “Like this,” and died, whereupon the merchant promptly gave up his store to live a life of poverty in pursuit of the kind of spiritual wealth the dead Sufi had acquired.

I knew we were all thinking of her, dead and laughless, cold, no longer Alaska. The idea that Alaska didn’t exist still stunned me every time I thought about it. She’s rotting underground in Vine Station, Alabama, I thought, but even that wasn’t quite it. Her body was there, but she was nowhere, nothing, POOF.

I knew we were all thinking of her, dead and laughless, cold, no longer Alaska. The idea that Alaska didn’t exist still stunned me every time I thought about it. She’s rotting underground in Vine Station, Alabama, I thought, but even that wasn’t quite it. Her body was there, but she was nowhere, nothing, POOF.

That night, the booze felt great, as the warmth of the wine in my stomach spread through my body. I didn't like feeling stupid or out of control, but I liked the way it made everything (laughing, crying, peeing in front of your friends) easier.

That night, the booze felt great, as the warmth of the wine in my stomach spread through my body. I didn’t like feeling stupid or out of control, but I liked the way it made everything (laughing, crying, peeing in front of your friends) easier.

I don't understand why you're so obsessed with figuring out everything that happens here, like we have to unravel every mystery.

I don’t understand why you’re so obsessed with figuring out everything that happens here, like we have to unravel every mystery.

You need not specifically discuss the perspectives of different religions in your essay, so no research is necessary. Your knowledge, or lack thereof, has been established in the quizzes you've taken this semester. I am interested in how you are able to fit the uncontestable fact of suffering into your understanding of the world, and how you hope to navigate through life in spite of it.

You need not specifically discuss the perspectives of different religions in your essay, so no research is necessary. Your knowledge, or lack thereof, has been established in the quizzes you’ve taken this semester. I am interested in how you are able to fit the uncontestable fact of suffering into your understanding of the world, and how you hope to navigate through life in spite of it.

Then they picked me up and hurled me into the water. Sinking. Sinking, but instead of feeling panic or anything else, I realized that “Please guys, don’t” were terrible last words. But then the great miracle of the human species — our buoyancy — came through, and as I felt myself floating toward the surface...

Then they picked me up and hurled me into the water. Sinking. Sinking, but instead of feeling panic or anything else, I realized that “Please guys, don’t” were terrible last words. But then the great miracle of the human species — our buoyancy — came through, and as I felt myself floating toward the surface…

Unfortunately for the Culver Creek Nothings, we weren't playing the deaf-and-blind school. We were playing some Christian school from downtown Birmingham, a team stocked with huge, gargantuan apemen with thick beards and a strong distaste for turning the other cheek.

Unfortunately for the Culver Creek Nothings, we weren’t playing the deaf-and-blind school. We were playing some Christian school from downtown Birmingham, a team stocked with huge, gargantuan apemen with thick beards and a strong distaste for turning the other cheek.

I said, "Chip, she’s gone," and he said, "I thought I’d feel her looking down on us, but you’re right. She’s just gone."

I said, “Chip, she’s gone,” and he said, “I thought I’d feel her looking down on us, but you’re right. She’s just gone.”

I thought: We are not close enough. I though: He will not hear it. I thought: He will hear it and be out so fast that we will have no chance. I thought: Twenty seconds. I was breathing hard and fast.

I thought: We are not close enough.
I though: He will not hear it.
I thought: He will hear it and be out so fast that we will have no chance.
I thought: Twenty seconds. I was breathing hard and fast.

...feeling - probably for the first time in my life - the fear and excitement of living in a place where you never know what's going to happen or when.

…feeling – probably for the first time in my life – the fear and excitement of living in a place where you never know what’s going to happen or when.

The silence broke: "Sometimes I liked it," I said. "Sometimes I liked it that she was dead." "You mean it felt good?" "No. I don't know. It felt ... pure."

The silence broke: “Sometimes I liked it,” I said. “Sometimes I liked it that she was dead.”
“You mean it felt good?”
“No. I don’t know. It felt … pure.”

I learned that myth doesn’t mean a lie; it means a traditional story that tells you something about people and their worldview and what they hold sacred. Interesting.

I learned that myth doesn’t mean a lie; it means a traditional story that tells you something about people and their worldview and what they hold sacred. Interesting.

Does it seem all odd to you that you enjoy biographies of great writers a lot more than you enjoy their actual writings?

Does it seem all odd to you that you enjoy biographies of great writers a lot more than you enjoy their actual writings?

I imagined a scrawny eight years old Alaska with dirty fingers, looking down at her mother convulsing. So, she sat down with her dead-or-maybe-not-dead mother, who I imagine was not breathing by then but wasn’t yet cold either. And in the time between dying and death, a little Alaska sat with her mother in silence.

I imagined a scrawny eight years old Alaska with dirty fingers, looking down at her mother convulsing. So, she sat down with her dead-or-maybe-not-dead mother, who I imagine was not breathing by then but wasn’t yet cold either. And in the time between dying and death, a little Alaska sat with her mother in silence.

Someone said, ‘Mr. President, you sure can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you,’ and then he said, ‘That’s obvious,’ and then he got shot.

Someone said, ‘Mr. President, you sure can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you,’ and then he said, ‘That’s obvious,’ and then he got shot.

Goddamn it! God, how did this happen? How could she be so stupid! She just never thought anything through. So goddamned impulsive. Christ. It is not okay. I can’t believe she was so stupid!

Goddamn it! God, how did this happen? How could she be so stupid! She just never thought anything through. So goddamned impulsive. Christ. It is not okay. I can’t believe she was so stupid!

I raised my arm as she collapsed into my skinny chest and cried. I felt bad for her, but she'd done it to herself. She didn't have to rat.

I raised my arm as she collapsed into my skinny chest and cried. I felt bad for her, but she’d done it to herself. She didn’t have to rat.

"The Colonel and I will work that out. No need to get you into trouble — yet." "Oh. Okay. Um, I'm gonna go for a cigarette, then." I left. It wasn't the first time Alaska had left me out of the loop, certainly, but after we'd been together so much over Thanksgiving, it seemed ridiculous to plan the prank with the Colonel but without me.

“The Colonel and I will work that out. No need to get you into trouble — yet.”

“Oh. Okay. Um, I’m gonna go for a cigarette, then.”

I left. It wasn’t the first time Alaska had left me out of the loop, certainly, but after we’d been together so much over Thanksgiving, it seemed ridiculous to plan the prank with the Colonel but without me.

And POOF we are driving through the moment of her death. We are driving through the place that she could not drive through, passing onto asphalt she never saw, and we are not dead. We are not dead! We are breathing and we are crying and now slowing down and moving back into the right lane.

And POOF we are driving through the moment of her death. We are driving through the place that she could not drive through, passing onto asphalt she never saw, and we are not dead. We are not dead! We are breathing and we are crying and now slowing down and moving back into the right lane.

I pulled away again. "What about Lara? Jake?" Again, she sshed me. "Less tongue, more lips," she said, and I tried my best.

I pulled away again. “What about Lara? Jake?” Again, she sshed me. “Less tongue, more lips,” she said, and I tried my best.

No one talked for a minute, and then Takumi asked, "Your dad blamed you?" "Well, not after that first moment. But yeah. How could he not?"

No one talked for a minute, and then Takumi asked, “Your dad blamed you?”

“Well, not after that first moment. But yeah. How could he not?”

"She got drunk," I told her. "The Colonel and I went to sleep, and I guess she drove off campus." And that became the standard lie.

“She got drunk,” I told her. “The Colonel and I went to sleep, and I guess she drove off campus.” And that became the standard lie.

"I'm fine, Mom. I think — if it's okay with you, I think I might stay here for Thanksgiving. A lot of my friends are staying" — lie — "and I have a lot of work to do" — double lie. "I had no idea how hard the classes would be, Mom" — truth.

“I’m fine, Mom. I think — if it’s okay with you, I think I might stay here for Thanksgiving. A lot of my friends are staying” — lie — “and I have a lot of work to do” — double lie. “I had no idea how hard the classes would be, Mom” — truth.

"Why didn't you ever tell me?" the Colonel asked, his voice soft. "It never came up." And then we stopped asking questions.

“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” the Colonel asked, his voice soft.

“It never came up.” And then we stopped asking questions.

I called her yesterday and asked her to cover for me, and she didn't even ask why. She just said, 'I sure trust you, son,' and hot damn she does.

I called her yesterday and asked her to cover for me, and she didn’t even ask why. She just said, ‘I sure trust you, son,’ and hot damn she does.

If she loved you so much, why did she leave you that night? And if you loved her so much, why'd you help her go? I was drunk. What's your excuse?

If she loved you so much, why did she leave you that night? And if you loved her so much, why’d you help her go? I was drunk. What’s your excuse?

I could hear the Colonel screaming, and I could feel hands on my back as I hunched forward, but I could only see her lying naked on a metal table, a small trickle of blood falling out of her half-teardrop nose, her green eyes open, staring off into the distance, her mouth turned up just enough to suggest the idea of a smile, and she had felt so warm against me, her mouth so soft and warm on mine.

I could hear the Colonel screaming, and I could feel hands on my back as I hunched forward, but I could only see her lying naked on a metal table, a small trickle of blood falling out of her half-teardrop nose, her green eyes open, staring off into the distance, her mouth turned up just enough to suggest the idea of a smile, and she had felt so warm against me, her mouth so soft and warm on mine.

"This is awful. This is not fun drunk." I got up and cleared the coffee table out of the way so the Colonel could walk the length of the room without hitting any obstacles, and said, "Okay, can you stand?" The Colonel pushed his arms into the foam of the couch and began to rise, but then fell backward onto the couch, lying on his back. "Spinning room," he observed. "Gonna puke."

“This is awful. This is not fun drunk.”

I got up and cleared the coffee table out of the way so the Colonel could walk the length of the room without hitting any obstacles, and said, “Okay, can you stand?”

The Colonel pushed his arms into the foam of the couch and began to rise, but then fell backward onto the couch, lying on his back. “Spinning room,” he observed. “Gonna puke.”

The final exam: What is the most important question human beings must answer? Choose your question wisely, and then examine how Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity attempt to answer it. "I hope that poor bastard lives the rest of the school year," the Colonel said as we jogged home through the rain, "because I'm sure starting to enjoy that class. What's your most important question?" After thirty seconds of running, I was already winded. "What happens... to us... when we die?"

The final exam: What is the most important question human beings must answer? Choose your question wisely, and then examine how Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity attempt to answer it.

“I hope that poor bastard lives the rest of the school year,” the Colonel said as we jogged home through the rain, “because I’m sure starting to enjoy that class. What’s your most important question?”

After thirty seconds of running, I was already winded. “What happens… to us… when we die?”

I spent that afternoon with Lara. We were very cutesy, even though we didn't know the first thing about each other and barely talked. But we made out. She grabbed my butt at one point, and I sort of jumped.

I spent that afternoon with Lara. We were very cutesy, even though we didn’t know the first thing about each other and barely talked. But we made out. She grabbed my butt at one point, and I sort of jumped.

I opened my mouth again but this time not to speak, and she reached up and put a finger to my lips and said, "Shh. Shh. Don't ruin it."

I opened my mouth again but this time not to speak, and she reached up and put a finger to my lips and said, “Shh. Shh. Don’t ruin it.”

I couldn't believe what I had done to him, his eyes glittering green like Alaska's but sunk deep into dark sockets, like a green-eyed, still-breathing ghost, and don't no don't don't die, Alaska. Don't die.

I couldn’t believe what I had done to him, his eyes glittering green like Alaska’s but sunk deep into dark sockets, like a green-eyed, still-breathing ghost, and don’t no don’t don’t die, Alaska. Don’t die.

We were kissing. Zero layers between us. Our tongues dancing back and forth in each other's mouth until there was no her mouth and my mouth but only our mouths intertwined.

We were kissing. Zero layers between us. Our tongues dancing back and forth in each other’s mouth until there was no her mouth and my mouth but only our mouths intertwined.

Afterward, I was embarrassed and nervous, and so, clearly, was Lara, who finally broke the silence by asking, "So, want to do some homework?"

Afterward, I was embarrassed and nervous, and so, clearly, was Lara, who finally broke the silence by asking, “So, want to do some homework?”

"I was just thinking — Why do you run head-on into a cop car with its lights on? and then I thought, Well, she hated authority figures." The Colonel laughed. "Hey, look at that. Pudge made a funny!"

“I was just thinking — Why do you run head-on into a cop car with its lights on? and then I thought, Well, she hated authority figures.”

The Colonel laughed. “Hey, look at that. Pudge made a funny!”

The day after my mom took me to the zoo where she liked the monkeys and I liked the bears, it was a Friday. I came home from school. She gave me a hug and told me to go do my homework in my room so I could watch TV later. I went into my room, and she sat down at the kitchen table, I guess, and then she screamed, and I ran out, and she had fallen over. She was lying on the floor, holding her head and jerking. And I freaked out. I should have called 911, but I just started screaming and crying until finally she stopped jerking, and I thought she had fallen asleep and that whatever had hurt didn't hurt anymore. So I just sat there on the floor with her until my dad got home an hour later.

The day after my mom took me to the zoo where she liked the monkeys and I liked the bears, it was a Friday. I came home from school. She gave me a hug and told me to go do my homework in my room so I could watch TV later. I went into my room, and she sat down at the kitchen table, I guess, and then she screamed, and I ran out, and she had fallen over. She was lying on the floor, holding her head and jerking. And I freaked out. I should have called 911, but I just started screaming and crying until finally she stopped jerking, and I thought she had fallen asleep and that whatever had hurt didn’t hurt anymore. So I just sat there on the floor with her until my dad got home an hour later.

Alaska displayed two of those warning signs. She had lost, although not recently, her mother. And her drinking, always pretty steady, had definitely increased in the last month of her life.

Alaska displayed two of those warning signs. She had lost, although not recently, her mother. And her drinking, always pretty steady, had definitely increased in the last month of her life.

You don't even care about her! All that matters is you and your precious f***ing fantasy that you and Alaska had this goddamned secret love affair and she was going to leave Jake for you and you'd live happily ever after. But she kissed a lot of guys, Pudge. And if she were here, we both know that she would still be Jake's girlfriend and that there'd be nothing but drama between the two of you — not love, not sex, just you pining after her and her like, 'You're cute, Pudge, but I love Jake.'

You don’t even care about her! All that matters is you and your precious f***ing fantasy that you and Alaska had this goddamned secret love affair and she was going to leave Jake for you and you’d live happily ever after. But she kissed a lot of guys, Pudge. And if she were here, we both know that she would still be Jake’s girlfriend and that there’d be nothing but drama between the two of you — not love, not sex, just you pining after her and her like, ‘You’re cute, Pudge, but I love Jake.’

"All I remember is that she had a lot of sex." "I know. She's my hero," Alaska said without a trace of irony.

“All I remember is that she had a lot of sex.”

“I know. She’s my hero,” Alaska said without a trace of irony.

I have a fake ID, but it sucks. So every time I go to the liquor store, I try to buy ten bottles of this, and some vodka for the Colonel. And so when it finally works, I'm covered for a semester. And then I give the Colonel his vodka, and he puts it wherever he puts it, and I take mine and bury it.

I have a fake ID, but it sucks. So every time I go to the liquor store, I try to buy ten bottles of this, and some vodka for the Colonel. And so when it finally works, I’m covered for a semester. And then I give the Colonel his vodka, and he puts it wherever he puts it, and I take mine and bury it.

"Well, my gut wants to know," Lara said, and only then did I realize […] — I may have kissed her, but I really didn't have a monopoly on Alaska; the Colonel and I weren't the only ones who cared about her, and weren't alone in trying to figure out how she died and why.

“Well, my gut wants to know,” Lara said, and only then did I realize […] — I may have kissed her, but I really didn’t have a monopoly on Alaska; the Colonel and I weren’t the only ones who cared about her, and weren’t alone in trying to figure out how she died and why.

This isn't milk. It's five parts milk and one part vodka. I call it ambrosia. Drink of the gods. You can barely smell the vodka in the milk, so the Eagle can't catch me unless he actually takes a sip. The downside is that it tastes like sour milk and rubbing alcohol.

This isn’t milk. It’s five parts milk and one part vodka. I call it ambrosia. Drink of the gods. You can barely smell the vodka in the milk, so the Eagle can’t catch me unless he actually takes a sip. The downside is that it tastes like sour milk and rubbing alcohol.

I know it was y'all. Don't ever do anything like that again. But, Lord, 'subverting the patriarchal paradigm' — it's like she wrote the speech.

I know it was y’all. Don’t ever do anything like that again. But, Lord, ‘subverting the patriarchal paradigm’ — it’s like she wrote the speech.

The Eagle looked at me. He was crying, noiselessly. Tears just rolled from his eyes to his chin and then fell onto his corduroy pants. He stared at me, but it was not the Look of Doom. His eyes blinking the tears down his face, the Eagle looked, for all the world, sorry.

The Eagle looked at me. He was crying, noiselessly. Tears just rolled from his eyes to his chin and then fell onto his corduroy pants. He stared at me, but it was not the Look of Doom. His eyes blinking the tears down his face, the Eagle looked, for all the world, sorry.

Her funeral Sunday. I wondered if the Colonel would get back by then, where he was. He had to come back for the funeral, because I could not go alone, and going with anyone other than the Colonel would amount to alone.

Her funeral Sunday. I wondered if the Colonel would get back by then, where he was. He had to come back for the funeral, because I could not go alone, and going with anyone other than the Colonel would amount to alone.

The nice thing about the constant threat of expulsion at Culver Creek is that it lends excitement to every moment of illicit pleasure. The bad thing, of course, is that there is always the possibility of actual expulsion.

The nice thing about the constant threat of expulsion at Culver Creek is that it lends excitement to every moment of illicit pleasure. The bad thing, of course, is that there is always the possibility of actual expulsion.

When the firecrackers finished, I heard, "STOP OR I'LL CALL THE POLICE!" And though the voice was distant, I could feel his Look of Doom bearing down on me. […] The Colonel warned us about the police threat, told us not to worry. The Eagle didn't like to bring the police to campus. Bad publicity.

When the firecrackers finished, I heard, “STOP OR I’LL CALL THE POLICE!” And though the voice was distant, I could feel his Look of Doom bearing down on me. […]

The Colonel warned us about the police threat, told us not to worry. The Eagle didn’t like to bring the police to campus. Bad publicity.

"How drunk was she?" I asked. "Like, did they test her?" "Yeah. Her BAL was point twenty-four. That's drunk, certainly. That's a powerful drunk."

“How drunk was she?” I asked. “Like, did they test her?”

“Yeah. Her BAL was point twenty-four. That’s drunk, certainly. That’s a powerful drunk.”

She and the Colonel had been celebrating a lot the past couple days, and I didn't feel up to climbing Strawberry Hill, so I sat and munched on pretzels while Alaska and the Colonel drank wine from paper cups with flowers on them.

She and the Colonel had been celebrating a lot the past couple days, and I didn’t feel up to climbing Strawberry Hill, so I sat and munched on pretzels while Alaska and the Colonel drank wine from paper cups with flowers on them.

I’d never been born again with the baptism and weeping and all that, but it couldn't feel much better than being born again as a guy with no known past. I thought of the people I'd read about — John F. Kennedy, James Joyce, Humphrey Bogart — who went to boarding school, and their adventures — Kennedy, for example, loved pranks. I thought of the Great Perhaps and the things that might happen and the people I might meet and who my roommate might be.

I’d never been born again with the baptism and weeping and all that, but it couldn’t feel much better than being born again as a guy with no known past. I thought of the people I’d read about — John F. Kennedy, James Joyce, Humphrey Bogart — who went to boarding school, and their adventures — Kennedy, for example, loved pranks. I thought of the Great Perhaps and the things that might happen and the people I might meet and who my roommate might be.

But this is the seventh time I've been caught smoking. I just don't want — whatever. I don't want to upset my dad.

But this is the seventh time I’ve been caught smoking. I just don’t want — whatever. I don’t want to upset my dad.

"Is this why you want to leave, Miles?" Mom asked. I mulled it over for a while, careful not to look at her. "Uh, no," I said. "Well, why then?" she asked. This was not the first time she had posed the question. Mom was not particularly keen on letting me go to boarding school and had made no secret of it.

“Is this why you want to leave, Miles?” Mom asked.

I mulled it over for a while, careful not to look at her. “Uh, no,” I said.

“Well, why then?” she asked. This was not the first time she had posed the question. Mom was not particularly keen on letting me go to boarding school and had made no secret of it.

Front Three: The Progress Reports: We're going to hack into the faculty computer network and use their grading database to send out letters to Kevin et al.'s families saying that they are failing some of their classes.

Front Three: The Progress Reports: We’re going to hack into the faculty computer network and use their grading database to send out letters to Kevin et al.’s families saying that they are failing some of their classes.

I sat in the back of the hatchback on the drive home — and that is how I thought of it: home — and fell asleep to the highway's monotonous lullaby.

I sat in the back of the hatchback on the drive home — and that is how I thought of it: home — and fell asleep to the highway’s monotonous lullaby.

Takumi shook his head, his hands pushing aside leaves to dig into the still-wet dirt beneath. “I just don’t get why she’d be so afraid of getting expelled. I’d hate to get expelled, but you have to take your lumps. I don’t get it.” “Well, she obviously doesn’t like home.” “True. She only goes home over Christmas and the summer, when Jake is there. But whatever. I don’t like home, either.”

Takumi shook his head, his hands pushing aside leaves to dig into the still-wet dirt beneath. “I just don’t get why she’d be so afraid of getting expelled. I’d hate to get expelled, but you have to take your lumps. I don’t get it.”

“Well, she obviously doesn’t like home.”

“True. She only goes home over Christmas and the summer, when Jake is there. But whatever. I don’t like home, either.”

The Colonel gave an obligatory laugh, then asked, "Want a smoke?" I had never smoked a cigarette, but when in Rome… "Is it safe here?"

The Colonel gave an obligatory laugh, then asked, “Want a smoke?” I had never smoked a cigarette, but when in Rome…

“Is it safe here?”

"Maybe you just need to tell us all why you told on Marya. Were you scared of going home or something?" She pulled away from me and gave me a Look of Doom that would have made the Eagle proud, and I felt like she hated me or hated my question or both, and then she looked away, out the window, toward the soccer field, and said, "There's no home."

“Maybe you just need to tell us all why you told on Marya. Were you scared of going home or something?”

She pulled away from me and gave me a Look of Doom that would have made the Eagle proud, and I felt like she hated me or hated my question or both, and then she looked away, out the window, toward the soccer field, and said, “There’s no home.”

It was the central moment of Alaska’s life. When she cried and told me that she fucked everything up, I knew what she meant now. And when she said she failed everyone, I know whom she meant. It was the everything and the everyone of her life.

It was the central moment of Alaska’s life. When she cried and told me that she fucked everything up, I knew what she meant now. And when she said she failed everyone, I know whom she meant. It was the everything and the everyone of her life.

I wish I could say I was in it for the thrill of learning, but mostly I was in it for the thrill of getting into a worthwhile college.

I wish I could say I was in it for the thrill of learning, but mostly I was in it for the thrill of getting into a worthwhile college.

Her underwear, her jeans, the comforter, my corduroys and my boxers between us I thought. Five layers, and yet I felt it, the nervous warmth of touching.

Her underwear, her jeans, the comforter, my corduroys and my boxers between us I thought. Five layers, and yet I felt it, the nervous warmth of touching.