In terms of reading, I think Feburary 2013 will best be remembered as the month I discovered the amazing, hilarious, and deeply feelsy work of John Green. I’ve been hearing about Green’s writing for quite some time, but finally pulled the trigger on his newest work, The Fault in Our Stars, as my first book of the month… and followed it up quickly with Looking for Alaska. I’ll say more about those books below, but this has been one of the more enjoyable Booket Lists I’ve been able to put together so far.

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

Fault in Our Stars cover

The Fault in Our Stars stars Hazel Grace, a terminally ill girl trying to cope with life in the midst of dying, which becomes especially interesting when she meets Augustus Waters. And while that sounds depressing, it’s not just a book about cancer. It’s a book about love, infinity, storytelling, and what it means to remember someone. I particularly love the fixation that Hazel has with the obtuse ending of a favorite book, and the quest she and Augustus take to figure out how the book ends by going to meet the author. Like most things in life, the book is equal parts laughter and sorrow, and stands as one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in some time. Green is a fantastic writer, so I’ll leave you with a couple of quotes:

“I told Augustus the broad outline of my miracle: diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer when I was thirteen. (I didn’t tell him that the diagnosis came three months after I got my first period. Like: Congratulations! You’re a woman. Now die.)”


And now for the feels, which Green is a master of:

“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”


The Walking Dead, Volume 3, by Robert Kirkman

Walking Dead volume 3

The third volume of Kirkman’s Walking Dead is by far the darkest entry yet of the series. Even though the show has gone to some pretty gruesome places, nothing you see on AMC comes close to broaching the subject material of the comics, which involve child murder, sex, mutual suicide and beheadings. While I think the writing sometimes suffers from too much telling (people sit around and expound over and over again about how much society has changed), I can’t help but cringe and marvel simultaneously about how daring it is.

Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars by Nick James

Skyship Academy cover

Jesse Fisher is a Skyship Academy student, a floating school that hovers over a world ravaged by chemical warfare. The Shippers are stuck in a war with the corrupt government of the Surface, who live in specially designed cities that keep out the heat, as well as Fringers, those who aren’t affiliated with either party. The war is fought over Pearls, unique sources of energy that fall from space and manage to power entire cities.

Skyship Academy is a fun book with a pretty intriguing hook — its two main characters, Jesse and Cassius, are on opposing sides of a conflict and gradually get drawn together on a rather explosive collision course. While it’s got all the stuff that I love in a book — a great setting, memorable characters, nice action sequences and freaking skyships — it suffers from some logic and pacing problems as the story goes on. Just as things start to pick up, the book turns into an on-foot journey in the last fourth, separating Cassius and Jesse right when it feels like they should be stuck with each other for good. There’s also some strange POV stuff going on, as part of the book is told in first person from Jesse’s perspective, while Cassius’s sections are third person limited. All in all, Skyship Academy was good enough for me to hunger for a sequel, and I’d definitely recommend it for anyone that wants some nice, light reading.

Did I mention it also has skyships?

Looking for Alaska, by John Green

Looking for Alaska

After I loved The Fault in Our Stars so much, I went straight for John Green’s other beloved book, Looking for Alaska, which focuses on Miles “Pudge” Halter, who leaves his life in Florida for an adventure to find his “Great Perhaps” at a boarding school in Alabama. There, the last-words obsessed high schooler meets the lovely young Alaska, who he thinks might be part of his Great Perhaps, and his boring life transforms to something more chaotic. I’ll go ahead and say that while this book might not be as great of a read technically as The Fault in Our Stars, it might have catapulted into a spot designated as one of my favorite books of all time. It sounds cliche, but this is a book about grief, dying, and learning to live with our mistakes and the mistakes of other. Again, Green weaves a masterful story that captures all that boarding school drama that always seems to hit me just right, if Mrs. Rowling’s work is any indication.

And a quote:

“Thomas Edison’s last words were ‘It’s very beautiful over there’. I don’t know where there is, but I believe it’s somewhere, and I hope it’s beautiful.”



So there’s the Booket List for February, which is a bit shorter than others since it’s a shorter month. Or that’s my excuse, anyway. I was hoping to finish the (so far excellent) Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern in time, but it’ll have to be pushed to March, along with Behemoth, Howl’s Moving Castle and a couple of other surprises.

Have any of you read these books? What other books should I add to the list? Go!

Tags: , , ,