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Looking for Alaska is the new coming-of-age drama that perfectly captures first love.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Stan

If there’s one thing you never grow out of as an adult, it’s an interest in teenage stories.

It’s no industry secret that adult audiences are among the highest consumers of teen-focused books and TV shows. All because stories of first love, first heartbreak and trying to figure out who you are while feeling like the stakes of your life are so wildly high never really go out of style.

Stan’s mesmerising new teen drama Looking for Alaska is one such appealing show. It’s not just because it’s been expertly crafted by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the producing partnership behind hit shows like Gossip Girl and The O.C., and because it’s based on the beloved and best-selling novel of the same name by author John Green (The Fault in Our Stars).

Looking for Alaska walks the line between presenting its teenage protagonists as both old souls and unsure kids who have built their own little world in the remote boarding school they call home.

It’s a world filled with family-like ride-or-die friendships, unrequited love, brutal betrayal and a raging prank war between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.

Take a look at the trailer for Looking for Alaska, now streaming only on Stan.

The series kicks off with high-school student Miles (Charlie Plummer) being farewelled by his parents at a going-away party none of his former classmates bothered to attend before he sets off for boarding school at Culver Creek Preparatory High School in Alabama.

Even though Miles is somewhat of a loner, once he arrives at Culver he is immediately taken into a tight-knit little gang made up of his new roommate Chip “The Colonel” Martin (Denny Love), Takumi Hikohito (Jay Lee) and Alaska Young (Kristine Froseth), a charismatic girl who supplies her friends with contraband cigarettes and alcohol but is also hiding a deep lingering pain.

Miles instantly becomes beguiled by Alaska, thinking that he’s falling in love with her, but she continually keeps him at arm’s length and instead attempts to set him up with another one of their classmates, the sweet Lara (Sofia Vassilieva).

Looking for Alaska is a series that takes a dreamlike yet realistic look at how falling in love for the first time can touch your life as a teenager. Unlike other TV shows that portray coming-of-age stories, the relationships in this one don’t feel as if they’ve been pulled from a more adult narrative.

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Instead, they are sweetly earnest, at times overly dramatic and in one case never quite steers away from being unrequited, it’s a perfect time capsule of teenage life playing out on screen.

There’s always a bit of danger when adapting a well-known novel, especially a teen-based one. You never know if its heart and deep nuances will translate to the screen, but Looking for Alaska has not only adapted the source material in a way that will appeal to adult audiences, it’s also enriched it.

This is due to the series’ decision to ditch Miles as the narrator as he was in the novel, and the choice not to just focus on his inner struggle with a new environment to push the story along. This creative choice also allows the character of Alaska Young to no longer be just an unattainable love interest, a manic pixie dream girl who fuels Miles’ own story without telling her own.

Instead, Alaska (yes, there’s an interesting back story to her name which I won’t spoil for you here) is free to tell and live her own tale, and even though she initially feels like just a wickedly funny and clever teenage girl who excels at leading her friends into prank wars, her life is really not so shiny.

Adding an extra gritty edge to the series is the fact that it is anchored in both the lead-up to and aftermath of a horrible tragedy that takes place in the opening scene.

It’s an event that adds a slow-burn mystery element to the series, and the true devastating consequences of the first episode are not fully released until the final acts of the series.

Just like the novel, the Looking for Alaska TV series is set in 2005, giving it a unique edge of nostalgia compared to more modern shows and allowing for the themes of the show to be more universal.

Without a heavy reliance on mobile phones, and no real mention of being hooked too deeply into social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, the story of Miles and Alaska exists in a dream-like time capsule, especially since it’s set to a soundtrack of nostalgic hits (can you believe the early ’00s are that far away?) and era-perfect fashion choices.

In a market flooded with reality franchises and overly gratuitous crime offerings, the beautifully crafted world of Looking for Alaska feels a bit like a safe harbour if you’re looking for a series brimming with sharp wit and heart.

Looking for Alaska will not exactly have you longing to return to your high-school days, but it will strike a chord with adults and teenagers alike by fleshing out exactly why this moment in time matters so much.

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Stan

Every episode of brand new series Looking for Alaska is now streaming – only on Stan. Start your 30-day free trial now.

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