Miles Halter is a high school junior who is tired of living his life under the radar. Fascinated by famous last words, Miles convinces his parents to enroll him in an elite boarding school in order to search for what Francois Rabelais called "The Great Perhaps" in his own final words.
Once at Culver Creek, he is invited into a close circle of friends by his roommate, Chip, a practical joker who insists on being called "the Colonel." He immediately falls for smart, sexy, and moody Alaska Young. She already has a boyfriend, but hooks Miles up with his first girlfriend.
When tragedy strikes, Miles and his friends must re-examine their lives and friendships as they try to find a way to move forward. Green uses the backdrop of a classroom assignment and a caring but crusty teacher to show how Miles and his friends come to terms with tragedy and each find closure.
The characters are well-realized and multi-dimensional. It is easy to care about them. Introspective readers will especially relate to Miles' emotional journey. Excellent novel, highly recommended for teen (and adult) readers.