Why, 10 Years Later, We're Still Looking For Alaska

A look at the enduring power of John Green's debut novel.

Once upon a time, in 2005, a writer named John Green -- who nobody at the time had ever heard of -- published his YA debut novel, a little book called "Looking for Alaska." Centered on protagonist Miles "Pudge" Halter, who goes to seek the "great perhaps" of a challenging life at boarding school, the story was a sleeper hit that won the prestigious Printz award and launched the writing career of its then-unknown author.

Needless to say, ten years and multiple bestseller lists/reprintings/screaming legions of "The Fault in Our Stars" fans later, John Green is a household name and among the most famous authors in the world, teen fiction or otherwise. But for all the tears shed over TFiOS, and all the excitement shared over the upcoming "Paper Towns" movie, it's the story of Pudge, the Colonel, Takumi, Lara, and the enigmatic titular Alaska Young that continues to capture our imaginations.

Today (January 13), Dutton is releasing a 10th anniversary edition of the book -- the actual anniversary is in March -- along with deleted scenes and a new introduction by Green. So 10 years later, here's why we're still obsessed with "Looking for Alaska."

1. There's still no movie, but many promises of one.

Part of the cachet of "Looking for Alaska": It's been in Hollywood's hands for nearly a decade now, yet despite many false starts, no movie has ever appeared. Frustrating? Well, yes. But on the other hand, it keeps the excitement alive -- and it means that we've had the pleasure of fantasy casting this film afresh every year since 2006.

2. It never stops being challenged for ridiculous reasons.

Uptight, censorious adults often raise a stink about "Looking for Alaska" because of the fabulously awkward scene in which Pudge and his ladyfriend realize, to their mutual embarrassment, that they have no idea how blowjobs work. Celebrating banned books: Important. Celebrating banned books with terribly authentic awkward teen sex in 'em: Delightful.

3. Alaska, the enigma.

Who is Alaska? A manic pixie dreamgirl? A boarding school-aged Cool Girl? There's no right answer -- Alaska is, above all, a mystery -- but the question continues to inspire debate and discussion. The fact that we're still talking about her after ten years just goes to show how compelling her story is.

4. And of course, it ushered in a new, golden era of prank couture.

Beginning in 2005 and ending never, campus troublemakers know that carrying off an epic prank requires one fine, foxy piece of headgear. Why? Because nobody can catch the motherf---ing fox, that's why.

Got your own memory of the first time you read "Looking for Alaska?" Let us know in the comments below.