Just as it was the first one he wrote, the first John Green book I ever read was Looking for Alaska, and I know that his books that followed never quite truly captured the magic that I sensed while reading this one. Amongst the assigned books for school that I traipsed though but never truly felt anything for, it was a book that really made me excited about reading. Alaska Young was one of the first characters I genuinely identified with as a teenager. I felt the restlessness that she did, and the question “how do we get of of this labyrinth of suffering?” was a question that I turned over and over in my head. Other than death, which is the fate that ultimately befalls Alaska, how do we get out?
After the announcement of Becca Thomas being signed on as the directer for the Looking for Alaska film, poor John Green has been bombarded by fans with casting suggestions, despite having no say in the matter. An hour ago he tweeted:
So, to take the pressure off Mr Green I hereby submit my thoughts for who should be cast as Alaska Young in the Looking for Alaska film.
“In the dark beside me, she smelled of sweat and sunshine and vanilla”
Alaska is described as petite and curvy, loud and riotous, but is complicated. The walls of her room are lined with books that she hasn’t read yet. She is an enigma to the main character, as he spends the first half of the book trying to figure out this girl in front of him, and then the second half trying to figure out her death.
“I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was hurricane.”
I would love to see a non-white actress playing Alaska. the book never specifies the race of Alaska, and I am sick of readers defaulting to white. In fact the hashtag #WOCforAlaskaYoung seems to have taken over twitter.
I want to see an actual teenager playing a teenager in the film. Sassy, and aware of the real issues of the world Amandala Stenberg would be the perfect Alaska. From Hunger Games fame, she is only sixteen, has a tumblr, and recently asked the question, “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?” Amandala also created a film on black culture and it’s appropriation in the media and culture:
She cares about the shit that matters and is absolutely ardent, I can’t think of a better Alaska.
“Sometimes I don’t get you,’ I said.
She didn’t even glance at me. She just smiled toward the television and said, ‘You never get me. That’s the whole point.”