Summary: 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.

Summary: 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. 

Summary: 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. 

Summary: 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.

Summary: 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.

Summary: 37 days after–62 days after

The events in these chapters show that a shift is beginning within Miles and his friends away from pure grief, anger, and confusion toward perspective and healing. When Miles bumps into Lara, he realizes how badly he has treated her and for the first time focuses on her grief instead of his. Though he does not feel prepared to reconcile with Lara just yet, his recognition is important because it shows Miles is becoming more mature and that future healing is possible. The boys’ trip to Coosa Liquors also marks an important turning point on their road to healing. For one, they are going to buy their own cigarettes just as they used to, indicating a return to normalcy. Another indication of healing is when Miles humorously ponders the liquor store clerk’s hairy mole. It shows Miles is able to take a break from his grief and once again find joy and levity in the small things in life. Finally, Miles’s description of Chip smiling as the wind blows through his window shows that Chip is also finding the joy in life again, and even looking hopefully toward the future.

This period also demonstrates that Miles is continuing to move past his own self-pity to become more mature. True to his name, Miles Halter is haltingly making progress on his coming-of-age journey, and his reconciliation with Lara is the strongest indication yet that he is growing up. Miles is learning that there is a difference between punishing oneself versus accepting responsibility and taking action to mend harm. His revealing quote that “I knew I wasn’t going to erase that anger, but we were talking” is proof-positive of this and that Miles is changing for the better. Miles’s behavior in these chapters also shows that he is learning what it truly means to be a good friend. Again, Takumi leads by example, prompting Miles to reconcile with Lara. Katie also shows what it means to be a good friend in her own way, by accepting Lara and Miles’s reconciliation while fiercely protecting Lara’s right to be angry. Takumi, Lara, and Katie are showing Miles that maturity and being a good friend sometimes means holding each other accountable.

Miles still struggles to find meaning in Alaska’s death, but the events of these chapters again mark the beginnings of a breakthrough. Miles’s thoughts on persistently feeling Alaska’s absence are important. He makes a distinction between Alaska’s body, which is “rotting underground in Vine Station,” and Alaska herself, who is “nowhere, nothing, POOF.” And yet Miles’s narrative shows that he and his friends still feel her presence everywhere. Miles does not recognize the contradiction here, but this is the beginning of the kind of processing that will be necessary in order for Miles to move forward. Dr. Hyde’s class again provides more opportunity for Miles to do this processing and find meaning in Alaska’s death. In learning about Buddha’s observation that “things fall apart,” Miles is also learning to accept Alaska’s death. Miles acknowledges that he must accept this but he still clings to his and Chip’s “investigation.” This shows that he is not quite ready to move on, but he is closer. Miles’s discovery of and insight about Alaska’s flower doodle is therefore another important moment. If he had discovered this earlier, it might have set off a new round of frenzied “investigations.” But here, Chip appears to have lost interest and Miles drops it, demonstrating that he and Chip are both finally ready to move on.