Wednesday, February 6, 2013

RTW: Best Book of January

Road Trip Wednesday is a 'Blog Carnival' where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing or reading related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hope from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic :)

This week's question is talking about the best book of January.

To be honest with you, it's a hard one to answer! I've read some really fabulous books lately. I read On the Jellicoe Road, which is an old one by Melina Marchetta which although I found it a bit hard to get into I ended up really loving it. I finally read The Book Thief which despite being hugely depressing was a great book, and of course Please Ignore Vera Dietz which was very well done. 

The best book though? Well I have a tie. My absolute favourite was The Fault in our Stars. I have since told everyone to read this book. My FH, my mum, both my sisters, my auntie and a number of my friends have all gotten stuck into this book and loved it just as much.

.Front Cover

It's written by John Green and is narrated by Hazel Lancaster, a sixteen-year-old cancer patient who's life changes dramatically when she meets fellow cancer sufferer Augustus "Gus" Waters. The story follows Hazel, as she fights with cancer and her parents while navigating this mysterious new relationship with Gus.

The story is beautifully and honestly told, it's funny, it's heartbreaking and it's most certainly a memorable read. I'd highly recommend this one.

The second book that I would recommend is JK Rowling's new book, The Casual Vacancy.

Now, this book has been subject to huge debate. It's not Harry Potter. Absolutely not. There is no ounce of a magical world within these pages at all. So if you see JK Rowling and expect Harry Potter, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. 

It is true this book does take a long time to set the scene. It's a little slow and very busy body, but I feel all of this is quite interesting. Seeing the different characters, the different voices of the novels and really getting inside their heads - the meek, the power hungry, the nasty, the manipulative, the scared... they're all there. I remember mentioning to my FH while I read this that it was interesting getting inside each characters head because you could quite clearly relate those characters to people in your own life.

The book is very well written. The climax near the end comes out of no where and is so completely surprising and heart breaking. I really found the book very real and relatable.

It is a black comedy, and some of it is pretty dark. It's not YA, I should mention that, but the other thing is that it's very British. The humour is British and that is perhaps why some have disliked it so much. It's certainly not for everyone but I do urge people to give it a try. I was very hesitant to read it after seeing a number of negative reviews but my friend pushed me into it and I'm so glad she did. It was worth it. 

If you've read either of these books I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on them? Otherwise, what was your best January book? 


  1. I reviewed both of these books on my blog last year. As I recall, I gave a shout-out to TFiOS, but did not give it book of the month for reasons that led to quite a long and gently controversial discussion in the comments. :)

    As for THE CASUAL VACANCY, I had some issues with this book, some of which I detail in my review, but on the whole it felt as if it is a book that came more out of JKR's frustration with a particular socio-political situation in the UK, not so much because this is a genre of story with which she feels comfortable. In fact, there were times I thought it was a little preachy--especially with her characterization/stereotyping of people she would consider her ideological opponents. JKR is a talented writer, so this book was never going to be bad, but I really don't think this is her genre. She seems far more comfortable in the MG/YA world.

    But that's just what I think. :)

    1. I agree with you that this probably isn't her genre, and it's true the book may have come out of her frustrations, however I still thought it was well written and it became a story I really enjoyed reading :)

  2. I haven't read The Casual Vacancy yet, since I've been waiting to get it from the library. (I've read so many mixed reviews, I decided I might want to read it first before I commit to buying it.)

    But I loved The Fault in Our Stars when I read it last year, and I'm probably going to end up re-reading it this year.

    1. I think that's a good idea - try before buy! It's definitely one that not everyone seems to love so I certainly wouldn't commit to buying it without reading it - it's so expensive too!