Best Book ‘o the Month

RTW: Best Book ‘o the Month

by sarahenni on February 1, 2012

Welcome to another Road Trip Wednesday, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs.

This week’s topic is:

What was the best book you read in January?

In addition to getting me out of my Game of Thrones writing rut, John Green’s newest kept me up until 2:30 AM reading, crying, and hugging my cat, teetering on the verge of an existential crisis. It made me feel ALL THE FEELINGS.


But it’s disingenuous of me to say that I just love the book. I do love the book. Certainly it would stand on its own, but what raises The Fault in Our Stars specifically and John Green generally is a community of YA readers called Nerdfighters. I met them, en masse, at Green’s Jan. 11 Washington, D.C. book tour stop. Through being a fan of John Green I got to see real teens (a crapload of them) find a connection to books, to a thirst for knowledge, to the desire to think about more than what MTV thinks they think (what), and most of all a connection to each other*.

John Green, by being a nice guy, an incredible author, and someone who does not ever talk down to teens, got a room filled up like this:

With teens who greeted an author like a rock star, sing along to songs about Quarks, and ask questions about feet and the meaning of life and get equally thoughtful answers. Teens who sit quietly and soak it up when someone talks to them like the intellectual-conversation-starved people they are, instead of just asking what college they’re going to.

The Fault in Our Stars was an incredible book. Amazing. Read-it-with-a-pencil-because-you’re-gonna-want-to-underline-stuff good. It flirted with too patently philosophical, but never crossed the line. I recommend it to humans who like thinking about humanity.

What awes me even more than John Green’s prose, though, is the opportunity he’s giving teens to find their like-minded peers. To celebrate life and all its complexities with them. If I’d had the Vlogbrothers in high school, I might’ve done some things differently. I would have met a lot more people I felt connected to, probably, and I would’ve felt less embarrassed to like the weird shit I liked like.

But you know what? I’m 26 now, and he’s still giving me that.

(A substantial portion of the DC Mafia, from right to left: Rick Lipman, Jessica BS, Cristin Terrill, Sara McClung, and Lindsey Roth Culli. Not pictured: Me and Sasha)

So The Fault in Our Stars gets my nod for best book I read in January. And John Green gets my thanks for making this month more incredible than it would have been without him.

What about you?? What was the best book you read in January? Did you get a pre-signed copy of TFiOS? Did it have a Hanklerfish?!

*And yet the boy to girl ratio was horrendous. Seriously, nerdboys, you need to come to events like this. Play the odds game, fellas.


RTW: Best Book o’ the Month

by sarahenni on October 26, 2011

Welcome to another Road Trip Wednesday, a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway posts a weekly writing- or reading-related question and anyone can answer it on their own blogs.

This Week’s Topic:

What was the best book you read in October?

I’ve wanted to read Ash for quite some time before I won Robin Talley’s awesome LGBT YA book set in the Read for Relief auction a while back. So I dove into the story only knowing that it was a retelling of the Cinderella story featuring a lesbian storyline. It was beautiful and otherworldly—Malinda Lo really captured the storytelling tone of a fairytale. What struck me most was the fact that Lo had created another world where sexual orientation seemed open to interpretation. This isn’t a coming out story, nor is it a story of a girl who feels the need to come to terms with being attracted to another woman. In the world of Lo’s characters, women choose to love men, or women (or fairies) without any social stigma. It was a story about discovery: of romantic feelings, of the truth in the stories that cultures tell themselves, of the cost and the necessity of individual freedom.

After I read it, Lo published this blog post and said she hadn’t read any YA lit before she wrote Ash. I think that may be part of the reason that Ash stands out so much—it’s different in tone, structure, and style than just about any YA I’ve read before. In a good way! I really enjoyed it, and I think you would, too!

What about you? What book has kept you up nights this month?