136 days before
Miles Halter, a high school student, plans to attend a boarding school, Culver Creek, for his junior year, and his parents throw him a going away party before he leaves. Although his parents insist that Miles invite all his “school friends,” only two acquaintances show up for the party. After the “friends” leave, Miles’s mother expresses concern that he wants to go to boarding school because he has no friends. Miles’s father asks Miles if he wants to go to Culver Creek just because that is where he himself went. Miles retrieves a biography of François Rabelais and quotes the poet to explain to his parents that his desire to go away for school is about “seeking the Great Perhaps.”
128 days before
Miles’s parents drop Miles off at his dorm at Culver Creek. After he says goodbye, he begins to unpack. His roommate, Chip Martin, arrives and they unpack together. Chip, having learned the names of the countries around the world over the summer, begins listing off the countries on the map Miles hung on the wall. Miles tells Chip that, similar to how Chip learns geography, he memorizes people’s final words. Chip has some things stored at the school since he attended last year, so Miles goes with him to retrieve them. Chip instructs Miles to call him “The Colonel” and he gives Miles the nickname “Pudge.”
Chip describes two distinct groups within the social structure of Culver Creek to Miles: regular boarders such as himself, and those he calls “Weekday Warriors” because they are rich kids that go home to their parents’ mansions every weekend. Chip invites Miles to come with him to his friend Alaska’s dorm to buy cigarettes from her. Miles is instantly smitten with Alaska, who he thinks is beautiful. After buying the cigarettes, Miles and Chip go out to the lake to smoke and Miles smokes for the first time. After Chip leaves to catch up with his girlfriend Sara, Alaska arrives. She asks Miles about his hobby of remembering people’s last words and tells him that the last words of Simón Bolívar were about escaping a labyrinth. Miles and Alaska question what that means. They joke around and Alaska tells Miles she is going to find him a girlfriend.
127 days before
When Miles asks Chip about Alaska the next day, Chip tells him that he does not know much about her home life and that Miles should not be so nosy. But he does tell Miles that Alaska has a boyfriend attending Vanderbilt University and that she is from a small town in Alabama called Vine Station. The Dean of Students (called “the Eagle” by some) stops by to welcome Miles and warn him to behave. At lunch, Chip introduces Miles to his friend Takumi and others. They talk about two people who were expelled the previous year—Marya and Paul—because someone ratted on them. As Miles learns, tattling on other students is considered unacceptable behavior at Culver Creek and those who do so are universally despised by the student body.
Later that night, as Miles sleeps, several boys come into his room and shake him awake. Chip tells Miles to go with them since Chip assumes they are throwing him into the lake as part of a traditional hazing for new students. However, when the boys get Miles to the lake, they tape his arms and legs together, tell him to not be friends with Chip, and throw him into the lake. Miles manages get out of the lake without drowning. He goes to Alaska’s dorm hoping she can explain what just happened, but she is indifferent. Livid, Miles goes back to his room. When Chip asks why he is so mad about a regular hazing, Miles explains that he was bound with tape and told not to be friends with Chip. Miles announces that he will tell the Eagle about it tomorrow, but Chip discourages him from doing so because that is not how students resolve grievances at Culver Creek. But Chip does promise Miles to get revenge for the actions of the other boys.
126 days before
Miles wakes up on his first day of classes to find Chip declaring war against whoever threw Miles in the lake, especially since Chip discovered they had also peed in his shoes. He urges Miles to point out anyone who was involved. Overwhelmed with his new classes, Miles is relieved to have religion class after lunch—because he expects it to be easy and because Alaska, Chip, and Takumi are in it as well. The teacher is Dr. Hyde, who the students call “the Old Man.” After Hyde enters the room, Miles finds out it will not be an easy class after all, but he is intrigued because he wonders if this class will help answer Alaska’s question about the nature of the labyrinth and the way out of it. Later that day, Alaska apologizes to Miles for not taking him seriously the night before because she didn’t realize that the pranksters had bound him before throwing him in the lake.
122 days before
After the last class of his first week at Culver Creek, Miles finds Chip in their room getting ready for a date with Sara, his girlfriend. Miles and Chip smoke in the steamy bathroom in the hopes that the steam will get the wrinkles out of Chip’s shirt as well as cover up the smoke from their cigarettes. Sara arrives at their dorm and argues with Chip, leading him to decide to not go out with her. Chip drinks vodka mixed with milk until he gets a call from Sara, who yells at him and says that the Weekday Warriors are angry because they believe that it was he who ratted out Paul and Marya, getting them expelled.
110 days before
Because he spends so much time studying, Miles finds that his classes aren’t as difficult as he’d worried they would be. As he listens in religion class, he stares out the window and thinks about the Buddhist belief that all things are interconnected. When the Old Man sees Miles staring out the window, he tells him to leave his class. In solidarity with Miles, Alaska stands up and yells at the Old Man, and the two leave the classroom together. Alaska decides that they should look for four-leaf clovers, but Miles ends up looking more at Alaska than he does looking for four-leaf clovers. When Chip and Takumi join them after class finishes, Alaska walks away, disappointed that Takumi and Chip did not leave class in solidarity as well. Miles, Chip, and Takumi follow her to the “smoking hole” where the four of them smoke and talk about getting revenge on the Weekday Warriors. Alaska finishes her cigarette quickly. When Miles asks her why she smokes so fast, she tells him that she does not smoke to enjoy it, she smokes to die.
109 days before
The next night, Chip insists that he and Miles go to the basketball game even though Miles doesn’t like sports. As they sit on the bleachers at the game, one of the Weekday Warriors that tossed Miles in the lake sits with them and asks for a truce, saying that he says he thinks they are even. Chip and Miles refuse. As the basketball game progresses, Chip begins leading increasingly more derogatory chants against the opposing team. He is eventually thrown out of the game, extending his streak of being thrown out to 37 consecutive games.
108 days before
The next day, the Old Man asks Miles to stay after class. He asks Miles if he enjoys the class and tells him he needs to be present with whatever is in front of him. Miles agrees with the Old Man.
101 days before
Miles notices the weather beginning to cool on the first day of October. In class, Alaska invites him to study at McDonald’s over lunch. Alaska drives, taking Miles, a sophomore named Lara, and some other friends. Alaska intentionally fills the car so that Lara has to sit on Miles’s lap. While at McDonald’s, Alaska talks to another student about smoking cigarettes versus smoking marijuana. Alaska defends her cigarette habit by saying she may die young, but at least she will die smart.
100 days before
The next day, when Miles asks Alaska about her name, she sits close to him and grabs his hands to tell him the story. Her father wanted to name her Mary Frances Young, but her hippie mother wanted to name her Harmony Springs Young. Her parents made her legal name Mary, but they let her pick her own name when she turned seven. She picked the name Alaska, which comes from an Aleut word meaning “that which the sea breaks against.” Also, the state of Alaska is far from her hometown—and she wants to be far from her hometown as well.
Alaska confides that she wants to teach disabled children when she is older. Feeling close to her, Miles leans in to kiss Alaska, but Alaska pulls away and complains about dreaming of the future. She calls looking to the future a kind of nostalgia because it is a way for people to escape the present. She also compares dreaming about the future to Bolívar’s “escaping the labyrinth” statement and says she isn’t going to imagine the future—but instead just live it. When Miles responds that he does not get her, Alaska replies that the point is that he will never understand her.
99 days before
Miles, Alaska, Chip, and Takumi go to the lake to smoke on Sunday. The Eagle finds them smoking. They are told to report to the Jury, a student body disciplinary system, the next day.
98 days before
Miles, Alaska, Chip, and Takumi report to the Jury, which consists of twelve students who determine punishments for non-expulsion offenses. Alaska and Miles arrive early and Miles asks Alaska if she is nervous. She says she is because it is her seventh time being caught smoking and she is worried about upsetting her father. Miles asks if she is worried because her father will be upset because her mother smokes and Alaska simply replies that her mother used to smoke. Takumi and Chip arrive, and Chip tells Miles not to say anything. Chip and Alaska take the blame for smoking and Takumi makes it clear that neither he nor Miles smoked. Chip and Alaska are given ten work hours doing dishes in the cafeteria and Miles and Takumi are only given a warning. Miles asks why Chip and Alaska protected him and Takumi, but no one explains.
89 days before
Alaska spends time in Miles and Chip’s room and announces to Miles that they have found a girlfriend for him. She asks Miles what he thinks of Lara. Chip makes comments about Lara’s breasts and Alaska yells at him for objectifying women. Alaska tells Miles that Lara thinks he is cute. Alaska makes plans to arrange a group date involving herself and her boyfriend Jake, Chip and Sara, Miles and Lara, and Takumi.
87 days before
Jake arrives from Vanderbilt for the group date of the three couples and Takumi. Miles watches Jake and Alaska interact with jealousy. When the seven go to the Culver Creek basketball game, Alaska keeps Miles from sitting next to Lara. Chip continues his tradition of disturbing the peace at the basketball game and makes a lewd joke about the girlfriend of one of the opposing team’s players, nicknamed The Beast. To avoid The Beast’s wrath, Miles and Takumi try to escape the gym. But as Miles is heading out of the gym, The Beast throws a basketball that hits Miles, causing his head to smack the floor. Miles gets up and runs outside, but he feels dizzy and thinks he has a concussion. When Lara joins Miles outside, he vomits on her jeans. Miles spends the rest of their date at the hospital with Lara and Takumi, where he is diagnosed with a concussion. Later, back in the dorm, Chip informs Miles that he broke up with Sara.
84 days before
A rainstorm comes and Miles continues with his classes and his studying. Chip spends more time in their room drinking his milk and vodka mixture because he is melancholy about his breakup with Sara. Miles has not talked to Alaska or Lara since the disastrous date. Miles asks Alaska if something is wrong when he sees her, but she refuses to answer because she is not in the mood to answer questions.
76 days before
In religion class, Chip tells Miles that he is now over Sara because he remembers how awful they could be to each other. When the Old Man comes in, he gives the class information about their upcoming final paper. Each student must write about “the most important question that humanity must answer,” and then examine how the major religions of the world attempt to answer that question. After class, Miles and Chip hurry through the rain to get back to their dorm when they see Alaska running toward them. Furious, Alaska yells that the Weekday Warriors have flooded her room by redirecting the rain gutter into it. Chip promises they will get revenge.
67 days before
The rain finally stops. While Miles studies outside, Takumi appears and suggests that they go for a walk. When they are in the woods and smoking, Takumi tells Miles that it was Alaska who ratted out Marya and Paul. Takumi explains that he knows this because Alaska admitted that the Eagle caught her sneaking out. Takumi deduced that Alaska was the only person who could have known that Marya and Paul were drinking and having sex in her room, and that she ratted on them to the Eagle to avoid punishment for her transgression of sneaking out.
Takumi tells Miles that Chip doesn’t know that Alaska ratted on Marya and Paul. He also explains to Miles that Chip and Alaska will probably include them in the prank they are planning as revenge for the flooding of Alaska’s room. Takumi warns Miles that he cannot snitch if they get caught like Alaska did. He says that Chip and Alaska protected him and Miles when they got caught smoking to set an example of the way they should protect their friends if they are caught.
58 days before
Miles wakes up in his room to the sound of Alaska playing one of his video games. Chip has left to continue sleeping in Alaska’s room. Alaska tells Miles that she knows that Takumi told him about her ratting out Marya and Paul. Alaska sits on the bed next to Miles and he thinks of the number of layers of clothing and bedding that separate them. Alaska tries to convince Miles to stay at school over Thanksgiving break instead of going home so she has someone to spend time with over the break. Miles agrees and calls his parents, gaining their approval.
When Chip learns that Miles intends to stay over break, he informs Miles that—as flirty as Alaska may be—she’s not going to be in a relationship with him. Miles realizes that Chip is right. Miles calls his parents to let them know that he has changed his mind, but he learns that they made travel plans since he wouldn’t be home. Miles confirms his plans to stay at school with Alaska and she tells him they get to spend the time at school together. Alaska says this is a relief to her because her home is full of ghosts.
52 days before
When Miles’s school friends go home for Thanksgiving break, he and Alaska have the campus almost entirely to themselves. Alaska takes Miles to the soccer field and directs him to dig, leading Miles to strawberry wine she had buried. Although Miles is nervous about drinking and breaking campus rules, he and Alaska drink the wine as she reads a Kurt Vonnegut novel. Miles thinks about telling her he loves her, but Alaska interrupts his thoughts by bringing up the Simón Bolívar quote about the labyrinth. She tells Miles that the labyrinth is not about living or dying, but rather about getting out of suffering. She tells him that suffering is universal and it is the one thing all religions are worried about.
51 days before
Alaska yells at Miles’s door to wake him up and they sneak into the unoccupied rooms of the Weekday Warriors. Alaska encourages Miles to look through the rooms to discover what these guys love in order to figure out the best way to prank them. Alaska determines that they love their hair and contemplates how they can acquire industrial-strength blue dye.
49 days before
On Monday, the first real day of the Thanksgiving break, Miles and Alaska decide to look for porn in the unoccupied dorm rooms. They mostly find magazines, but when they find a video, they go to the school TV room. While they watch the video, Alaska tells Miles her thoughts about sex and complains about the objectification of women. Alaska suddenly gets tired and falls asleep. Miles puts his hand on her back and thinks about being close to her in a non-sexual way.
47 days before
On the day before Thanksgiving, Miles joins Alaska in her room as she melts candles to make a wax volcano. After a morning of melting candles, Miles asks Alaska to drive him to McDonald’s for lunch. As they are walking to Alaska’s car, Chip drives up and invites the two to come home with him for Thanksgiving. Chip tells them that his mother told him to invite them and apologizes if the fact that they live in a small trailer makes them uncomfortable. Alaska responds that she is poor too. Miles is surprised that the trailer is actually so small that Chip has to sleep in a tent outside. Alaska and Miles stay the night and share the bed inside. Once again, Miles is aware of the few layers between them as they sleep.
46 days before
On Thanksgiving Day, Miles appreciates Chip’s mother’s cooking and thinks that the food is the best of any Thanksgiving he has ever had. They go around the table and each of them says what they are thankful for. Miles is thankful for friends on Thanksgiving. Alaska is thankful for her best Thanksgiving in a decade. Chip is thankful for his mother and his intelligence. Chip’s mother is thankful for both Chip and her practical needs being met. Miles falls asleep, content, on the ride back to the school.
44 days before
Miles rides with Alaska to the liquor store where she buys cigarettes, wine, and vodka. On the way back, they tell each other knock-knock jokes. Later that evening, Alaska shocks Miles by showing up at his room sobbing and asking why she screws up everything. She sits with him on the couch and puts herself in his arms. Confused, Miles asks Alaska if she does things—such as exposing Marya and Paul—because she is scared. Alaska says being scared is no excuse. When Miles asks if she is scared because she doesn’t want to go home, she replies that she has no home. Miles tries to comfort her and tells her everything is okay. Alaska responds by telling Miles that he loves the bold adventurous version of her, but not the sullen version of her.
Everyone at Culver Creek, including Miles and Alaska, go home for Christmas break. Miles receives “grown-up gifts” like a nice watch and a new wallet. He spends most of the three-week break studying. His parents feel guilty about not spending Thanksgiving with him and apologize repeatedly. He goes back to school thankful that he has a family.
8 days before
On the first day back from Christmas break, Miles and Alaska sit on the couch in the boys’ room while Chip plays video games. Alaska begins talking about having a pre-prank as well as a regular prank to get back at the Weekday Warriors. Alaska and Chip explain to Miles that a pre-prank will make the other boys not expect the actual prank. They tell him the three of them along with Takumi and Lara will meet at a barn on campus that weekend to pull off the prank. Chip and Alaska talk about their plans but they don’t give Miles any details, which Miles resents.
4 days before
Chip and Alaska plan the prank, but Chip will only tell Miles that the prank is to be called “Barn Night” and that he should pack for a couple days. While they are planning, Miles uses the time to study for his exams and write his religion paper. For the paper, Miles writes that religions talk about the afterlife because people cannot bear to believe that there is nothing after death.
3 days before
On the Friday after finals, Miles packs his bag for the Barn Night prank. Chip convinces the Eagle that Miles and Takumi are going to his home over the weekend as a cover for their absence from the campus. They meet with Alaska and Lara at the barn to go over the three-part prank, which will include lighting fireworks to distract the Eagle, putting blue dye in the Weekday Warriors’ hair products, and sneaking onto the Eagle’s computer to send out fake bad grade reports to the Weekday Warriors’ parents.
Miles and Takumi are given the task of setting off a series of fireworks in planned locations. They start with an ignition near the Eagle’s house, and again at set times as they lead the Eagle deeper into the woods. They make it through the woods despite Miles getting bit by a swan. When they arrive back at the barn, they find Lara there. Chip and Alaska arrive shortly afterward. Chip is angry that Alaska had sent fake grade reports to more students than planned. He worries that this will make it easier for them to be caught, but Alaska assures him it will be fine. Miles observes that Alaska appears to be more bitter than the rest of them.
2 days before
Miles, Alaska, Chip, Takumi, and Lara wake up in the barn and spend the day there hiding out since they are all supposed to be off campus. As the day progresses, they begin drinking. Alaska makes up a drinking game where they take turns telling stories about the best and worst days of their lives. The best storyteller doesn’t take a drink.
The game is fairly lighthearted until Alaska tells the story of her worst day. Her best day was January 9, 1997. She was eight years old and went with her mother to the zoo. Her worst day was the following day, when her mother collapsed from a brain aneurysm and Alaska did not call for help because she thought her mother was sleeping. Then her father came home and blamed her for her mother’s death. After that revelation, they continue drinking and joking until they are sick. Miles lies down in his sleeping bag next to Lara and they begin holding hands and kissing. Miles asks Lara if she wants to be his girlfriend and she says that she does.
1 day before
Miles, Alaska, Chip, Takumi, and Lara wake up in the barn hungover and get ready to go back to their dorms to complete the fictional story of all five of them being away for the weekend. They check in with the Eagle to show him that they have returned and then go to their rooms to sleep off their hangovers.
The Last Day
Kevin, one of the Weekday Warriors with blue hair due to their prank, visits Chip and Miles’s dorm to ask for a truce. Chip declines the offer. Miles spends the afternoon with Lara and they make out since they find that they don’t have much to talk about. Lara initiates a discussion about sex, and after some unsuccessful efforts to engage in a specific sexual act, they realize that neither of them possesses the experience or knowledge required for it. Perplexed, they decide to consult with Alaska, and after getting her advice they go back to Lara’s room and try again—this time successfully. Afterward they are embarrassed and decide to study, but Miles changes his mind and leaves.
Miles spends the evening with Chip and Alaska in her room. Chip and Alaska drink but Miles abstains. Miles asks Alaska about her white tulips and she informs him it is her anniversary with Jake. Alaska outdrinks Chip and eventually asks Miles to play truth or dare. Chip, tired, watches as they play. Alaska dares Miles to hook up with her and they make out. Alaska tells Miles she is tired and wants to sleep. Before she falls asleep on the bed, she tells him what they were doing is to be continued. Miles tells her he loves her, but she is already asleep. Later that night, Alaska leaves the room then quickly comes back in. Her frantic return wakes up Miles and Chip, and she yells that she forgot something and she has to leave. Confused about what Alaska forgot and aware that she is drunk, Miles and Chip set off fireworks to distract the Eagle from seeing or hearing Alaska drive away. Afterward, Miles and Chip go back to their room and sleep.
The day after
The Eagle wakes Miles and Chip up and tells them they need to go to the gym because something terrible has happened. Chip guesses that the Old Man died and the staff is going to deliver the news to the student body. In the gym, the Old Man appears but Miles cannot find Alaska. The Eagle announces that Alaska was killed in a car accident the night before. Miles denies that Alaska died, insisting that she is playing a prank, but the Eagle confirms that she is dead. The Eagle tells Miles that she drove into a police cruiser without swerving, probably because she was very intoxicated. Miles thinks about him and Chip helping her leave even though they knew she was drunk, and he feels responsible for her death. Chip sobs and yells that he is sorry. Miles reflects that their heated moment will not be continued and that he will never know her last words.
2 days after
Miles calls his parents to tell them about his friend’s death. They sympathize with him and ask if he want to come home, but he tells them he wants to be at school. Miles returns to his room and finds Chip memorizing country capitals. Chip, visibly upset, grabs his almanac and tells Miles he is going for a walk. Friends, including Lara, come by to check on Miles, but Miles wants to be alone. Miles has a nightmare about Alaska and wakes up wishing Chip would return from his walk.
4 days after
Chip finally returns from his walk, informing Miles that he walked 42 miles before getting too cold and walking back. He does not want to sleep because he has nightmares about Alaska and has begun to forget what she looked like. Miles pulls out a yearbook to remind Chip what Alaska looked like, and they recall her moodiness. Chip confides in Miles that he did not try to stop Alaska from leaving on the night of the accident because he did not want to deal with her drama. Miles reflects that he let her drive away drunk simply because she asked him to.
6 days after
Miles, Chip, Takumi, and Lara drive together to Alaska’s funeral in her hometown, Vine Station. They take back roads to avoid the spot on the highway where Alaska died. Miles reflects on the pain he feels from loving someone and having to live on after that person dies. They enter the funeral home and meet Alaska’s father. Miles mourns that he will not see Alaska again because the casket is closed. He feels remorse for causing her father pain by helping her drive away when she shouldn’t have been behind the wheel. Both Chip and Miles kneel by her casket to apologize to her and again Miles tells her he loves her.
7 days after
Miles refuses to eat and Chip goes to the cafeteria without him. When Chip returns, he reports that the Eagle ate with him and asked if he and Miles were responsible for setting off the fireworks that helped Alaska sneak away. Chip assures Miles that he did not confess. Chip also reports that Alaska’s aunt plans to clean out Alaska’s room so they should go through her room now in case there is anything there that they want to keep as a memento of her.
Miles enjoys that the smell of Alaska is still in the room as he looks for The General in the Labyrinth, the book with the Simón Bolívar quote. After Chip finds the book, Miles finds a note Alaska left inside of it. She wrote, “Straight and fast” in the book margins as her answer to the question “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?” As they read the quote, the boys begin to question why Alaska did not swerve to avoid the police car. Chip doubts Alaska was so drunk she could not swerve. Chip wrestles with anger that Alaska may have killed herself, but Miles feels that, either way, they are responsible for Alaska’s death.
8 days after
Culver Creek classes resume and the Old Man explains that he understands that the content of his religion class has likely become personal because of Alaska’s death. He writes Alaska’s question from the previous semester about escaping the labyrinth of suffering on the board and asks the class how they feel. Chip quietly vents his anger to Miles that other people are mourning Alaska when Chip does not think they actually cared about her when she was alive.
9 days after
Chip stays in the dorm and plays video games instead of going to class. When Miles returns, Chip tells him that he has a theory about Alaska killing herself. He theorizes that Alaska left the room after making out with Miles, got into a fight with Jake about cheating on him, drove off campus to meet Jake to apologize, and ultimately saw crashing into the police car as an end to the labyrinth of suffering. Miles refuses to believe that Alaska would do that and tells Chip that he does not want to find out what actually happened.
13 days after
Miles and Chip walk to the police department to learn more about how Alaska died. They interview the officer who saw the crash. He informs them that Alaska ran into the cruiser that had its lights and sirens going without slowing down or swerving. After the officer explains that when he arrived at her car she was already dead, Miles gives up hope that he will ever know Alaska’s last words. The officer also tells them that he regrets not moving his cruiser because then she might not have hit it. He informs them that her blood alcohol level was 0.24, and that white tulips were scattered throughout the car. Chip leaves more convinced that Alaska killed herself. Miles still wants to stop investigating but agrees to help Chip.
14 days after
Chip and Miles research warning signs for suicide and find that Alaska only exhibited two of the thirteen possible warning signs they found. They argue about Alaska’s intent, acknowledging the oddity of choosing to drive six miles off campus to kill herself. Miles admits the reason he does not want to investigate whether Alaska killed herself is because it makes him hate her. Miles resents the thought that, if Alaska did kill herself, he and Chip are accomplices, not just part of an accident. While they talk, a student enters their room to inform them that she had a mystical encounter with Alaska. After she leaves, the boys complain again about the fake mourners at the school.
20 days after
Chip informs Miles that he plans to call Jake to determine if something happened between him and Alaska to set her off. Miles refuses to talk to Jake, and Chip grabs him by the sweater as he yells at him, saying that Miles’s obsession with his fantasy of Alaska and the love affair he wanted to have with her is what’s making him avoid finding out what really happened. Chip lets him go. Miles grabs the cigarettes and warns Chip to back off. Later, Miles runs to the smoking hole and throws a chair in anger. He reflects that Chip is right, and he wishes that Alaska chose to stay with him that night instead of leaving. Miles spends time thinking about Alaska before returning to the dorm. Once back, Chip and Miles apologize to each other and Chip decides to postpone calling Jake.
21 days after
The Old Man discusses heaven and hell in class, and Miles thinks about the afterlife. He cannot imagine Alaska anywhere but dead, and thinks heaven is a made-up place. Takumi invites Miles to McDonald’s after class, where they discuss the fact that neither of them is doing well and that they miss Alaska. Takumi mentions that Miles seems to be avoiding Lara and asks if Miles and she are still dating. Miles answers that he does not think so. Takumi begins to say something else but changes his mind. He acknowledges that grief sucks.
27 days after
Chip announces to Miles that they need alcohol and the Eagle’s breathalyzer as they play video games in their dorm. When they ask Takumi for alcohol, he demands to be included in whatever is going on because he is tired of Chip and Miles being secretive. Chip promises to tell Takumi everything starting the next day. Miles and Chip leave to get the breathalyzer. Miles distracts the Eagle by telling him his worries about Chip not attending class. Meanwhile, Chip sneaks into the Eagle’s house and steals the breathalyzer.
When Chip and Miles return to their dorm, Chip drinks the alcohol that they got from Takumi in an attempt to match the 0.24 blood alcohol level Alaska had when she crashed. While Chip drinks, the Eagle enters the dorm. Miles distracts the Eagle from noticing the drinking by smoking a cigarette and having Chip pretend to cry. The Eagle requires Miles to report to the Jury the next day. Chip appreciates Miles taking the blame and he continues drinking until the breathalyzer reads 0.24. Chip determines that based on his ability to react, Alaska would have been aware enough to at least swerve around the police car, but he also observes that she could have fallen asleep.
28 days after
In class, Miles wonders about the significance of the tulips the police found in Alaska’s car. Miles returns to his room to find Chip describing the night of Alaska’s death to Takumi, except for the part about Alaska and Miles kissing. The three of them speculate why Alaska left that night. When Chip decides to call Jake, Takumi and Miles ask him not to share any unnecessary details from the call with them.
29 days after
Chip calls Jake to ask about the night Alaska died. Miles and Takumi smoke while they wait for Chip to get off the phone. Chip pranks them by making them think the Eagle is entering the room to bust them for smoking. Chip then reports that Alaska and Jake did not fight and that they had called each other to celebrate their anniversary. Alaska told him she was doodling before suddenly exclaiming that she needed to leave and would talk to him later. Miles confesses to Takumi that he kissed Alaska and she had told him that their kissing would be continued. They speculate that her planning to be with both Jake and Miles in the future means that she probably did not intend to kill herself.
37 days after
Miles literally runs into Lara and he tells her he is sorry. His apology is the first thing he has said to her in a month and he feels bad about it. However, since he is still torn over wanting Alaska, he does not care enough to keep talking to Lara after he apologizes.
45 days after
Miles and Takumi find out that they both did poorly on a math test—since they didn’t have Alaska’s help studying for it. Joking about their bad grades, they drive to the liquor store with Chip to buy cigarettes. Miles has no problem buying cigarettes despite his age.
46 days after
Takumi convinces Miles to talk to Lara by pointing out that he is being unkind to her and that Alaska would not have approved. Miles goes to Lara’s dorm room to apologize and she forgives him. He tells her everything they know about Alaska’s death, except for the fact that he and Alaska had made out before she left on her ill-fated trip. Miles, Chip, Takumi, and Lara then go to the smoking hole. They talk about Alaska and conclude that they have reached a dead end in their quest to figure out what Alaska was thinking the night she died.
51 days after
Miles thinks about a story he read for religion class about Buddhism. In it, the character reached enlightenment with one moment of realization. Miles wonders if the same thing will happen to him. Additionally, Miles learns that everything that was once together will fall apart one day. He, just like Alaska, will cease to exist one day, and then at some point in the future no one will even know that they existed. Miles realizes that the reality of Alaska is slipping away from him and decides that he wants to keep investigating to figure out if she loved him.
62 days after
Miles wakes up late and decides to call his parents. While his mother talks, he notices daisies doodled next to the payphone. Miles thinks it must have been what Alaska was doodling when she was on the phone with Jake so he hangs up and excitedly shows Chip his discovery. Miles suggests that she doodled the flower, which reminded her of whatever she had forgotten. Chip acknowledges that his theory could be true, but they still don’t know what she remembered.
69 days after
Chip and Miles decide they should do a prank in honor of Alaska. Chip tells him that Alaska had planned a prank that was so good that they decided to save it for their senior prank. Chip tells Miles it is called “Subverting the Patriarchal Paradigm,” and that it is worthy of her memory.
83 days after
Chip returns from spring break with detailed plans for executing the “Subverting the Patriarchal Paradigm” prank. Chip reviews the plan with Miles, Takumi, and Lara.
84 days after
Miles calls his father to get his help in executing the prank. He asks his father to pretend to be Dr. William Morse, a psychology professor and expert on adolescent sexuality. Miles is trying to arrange to have the fictional Dr. William Morse be the speaker for an annual school-wide Speaker Day. Miles’s father agrees to the plan. Later, Miles and Longwell Chase, the student body president, arrange for the Eagle to call Miles’s father, who is posing as the fictional psychologist. After the call, the Eagle approves the speaker, unaware that Dr. William Morse is not real.
102 days after
With the help of other juniors at school, Chip and Miles execute the next part of the plan by hiring a male stripper to appear on Speaker Day. They write out a speech for the stripper to memorize. On Speaker Day, the stripper arrives, is paid, and memorizes his speech. He enters the gym with Miles, posing as the fictional Dr. William Morse. The Eagle introduces the performer to the student body and he begins to deliver the speech Chip and Miles prepared for him. Lara stands and interrupts him, tells him to stop talking and take off his clothes. The stripper, pretending to be nervous, tells the student body that it is important to subvert the patriarchal paradigm. On cue, Takumi plays a song on the loudspeakers, the performer dedicates his performance to Alaska, and he tears off his clothes to begin dancing in leather briefs.
The Eagle quickly puts an end to the music and dancing, but everyone is amused by the situation. Rather than take credit it for it, the junior class tells everyone it was Alaska’s prank. Later that night, the Eagle stops by Chip and Miles’s dorm to warn them never to pull a stunt like that again, as well as to acknowledge his amusement since the prank was clearly Alaska’s idea.
114 days after
Takumi enters Miles’s room while he studies and asks him if he remembers January 10th. Miles remembers January 10th because that was the day Alaska died. Takumi points out that not only was it the day that Alaska died, it was the day after the anniversary of Alaska’s favorite memory with her mother. Chip and Miles are shocked as they recall Alaska telling the story of going to the zoo with her mother on January 9, 1997. They realize that Alaska’s doodles of flowers likely reminded her of her mother’s death, and she must have remembered that she had not visited the grave with white flowers like she usually did. Although they will never know what she thought in her final moments, the three friends realize they now understand the reason she left and why her car was filled with flowers.
118 days after
Chip, Miles, Takumi, and Lara give up searching for information about Alaska’s death after they understand why she probably left that night. Miles appreciates that it gives him a new capacity to discover the Great Perhaps. Chip and Miles decide that what they need for closure is to drive through the accident site like Alaska would have. They borrow Takumi’s car and drive the route she drove, speeding up as she must have through the point where the accident would have taken place. They get out of the car and cry and hug. They do not care that they may look lame, just relieved to be alive.
119 days after
Chip, Miles, Takumi, and Lara study for finals together. They miss Alaska and do not talk much.
120 days after
In religion class, the Old Man assigns the final paper. The question to answer for this paper is in response to Alaska’s paper from the first semester. Students have to answer how they, personally, will get out of the labyrinth of suffering. Chip and Miles discuss the topic back in their dorm and Chip admits that he briefly forgot about Alaska. He tells Miles that, even though he agrees that the only way out of the labyrinth is straight and fast, he picks the labyrinth over escaping.
136 days after
Takumi finishes his exams early and leaves school without personally saying goodbye. He leaves Chip and Miles a letter, explaining that he saw Alaska the night that she died. She told him that night that she was upset about her mother’s death and, like Chip and Miles, he let her drive away even though she was drunk. He apologizes for letting her leave, too, and apologizes for not telling them the whole truth sooner. Miles runs from the room, upset, but he quickly returns and decides that it is time to write his final paper for religion class. He writes that, despite the pain from losing Alaska, he still believes in the Great Perhaps. He states that, since matter cannot be created or destroyed, Alaska must exist in some form, and he hopes it is somewhere beautiful.