Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on September 10th 2013
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
A few days ago my secret sister asked me if I had read Fangirl yet. She’d browsed my Goodreads profile, and found Rainbow Rowell’s other books marked read, but Fangirl painfully empty. And to my surprise (and growing horror), I realized she was right. Which just isn’t right, because Fangirl is EVERYTHING and means the world to me. I read Fangirl at precisely the right time. It was exactly the kind of read I needed at that time, relayed a beautiful message like a punch in the gut, and because of that it has secured a solid spot in my heart.
Now there’s literally TONS of great reviews out there, and I don’t think I have anything to say that hasn’t been said before. Therefore, this is going to be a slightly different review than what you’re used to seeing here on my blog. It’s going to be me telling you about why Fangirl had such a huge impact on me.
What was going on in my life?
When I read Fangirl I had just about finished high-school. My high-school diploma almost in my pocket, I’d gotten the green light from the university of my choice to start my dream study the next year, that sounds like I had it all figured out doesn’t it? Truth was: I was excited but also incredibly intimidated and more than a little scared for what was to come. I would have to move out, because traveling 1 hour and a half to university (and back) every single day just wouldn’t work out. So a strange city, where I didn’t know anyone. That’s bound to be scary for everyone, but internally I was freaking out BIG TIME.
What Fangirl did for me
So I did what I always do when I start freaking out: I read. I picked Fangirl and Cath’s socially awkward personality turned out to be exactly what I needed. She was just as geeky and passionate about books as I am and definitely more socially awkward than I am. And I know that it’s a piece of fiction, but I figured that if she could come out stronger then so could I. I also realized that there were a lot of others probably feeling the same way I did. No one likes change, that’s a given, but it’s also the only way we can challenge ourselves. Change can keep you on your toes, and LOTS of good things can come from it.
So I told myself to suck it up. That first day was nerve-wrecking, but I managed to open myself to the whole experience and now (almost one and a half year later) I am completely settled. I made some great new friends, joined a running association and am very very happy with how my life looks right now.
Sometimes you just need a little nudge in the right direction. Fangirl, without a doubt, was that nudge for me. It was the right read at exactly the right time. Cath’s beautiful and touching story was my wake-up call and for that reason alone Fangirl will always have a special place in my heart (it also helps that besides that the book is just 100% pure awesomeness).
So there you go, my slightly different than normal review of Fangirl. Now there’s just one thing left that I’d like to ask you:
Do YOU have a specific book that did what Fangirl did for me?
My True Love Gave To Me by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt de la Pena, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, Stephanie Perkins
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on October 9th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy & Magic
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.
*singsong voice* I am so incredibly late to the party, again. Around Christmas my twitter feed was exploding with people reading My True Love Gave To Me, and I wanted to read it as well. But a snowboarding trip was coming up, and I put it off, and then I didn’t read it. Insert sad face. And when I got back after a week in the French Alps, Christmas had passed and I decided not to purchase the book. Then a week later I was exchanging ‘late’ Christmas presents with a friends, and guess what my present was. A good amount of squealing and hugging was involved, because my friend just knows me SO well. And the past week I’ve been reading one short story every night.
Now first things first: The UK cover? So stunning! Every time I see it I feel the need to stroke the cover and whisper ‘my precious’. It’s just that beautiful and cute. I always worry that short stories don’t carry enough depth, which mostly has to do with their shortness since there’s not much time to go into details when you’re dealing with a story of about 30 pages long. But I’ve read a few short stories in 2014, all for my study, and I’ve found that I quite like them. My True Love Gave To Me was great. I enjoyed every single story, some more than others, but that’s to be expected.
So what I’m going to do in this review is talk a bit about my favourite stories. These are: Midnights by Rainbow Rowell, Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins, and The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor.
Midnights by Rainbow Rowell: Absolutely adorable! It’s about New Year’s kisses and it was cute and fluffy and just so incredibly ADORABLE. It flashes through a couple of years: how Mags and Noel met, how they grow closer as friends, and how Mags never gets that New Year’s kiss. I love how you see their friendship grow, and how realistic this cute tale is. It was perfection!
Angels in the Snow by Matt De La Pena: A story about family, knowing where your roots lie, and living in a strange city while being completely and utterly broke. It was a cute romance story packed with a little emotional punch. A cute story, a little sad, that warmed my heart.
It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins: Gosh this story! All the feels! North and Marigold are perfect characters, and even within 30 pages they managed to steal my heart. I haven’t read any of Stephanie’s work before, but if this is anything to go by then I am sold. It was adorable. My heart melted, I connected with the characters instantly, and I smiled my way through these 30 pages. I wish it would’ve gone on forever!
The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: I was a bit surprised when I figured out that there was fantasy thrown in the mix as well, somehow I’d only expected contemporaries. But this story was so enchanting and otherworldly. Beautiful writing and so creative! This story didn’t really bring on the Holiday spirit like the other stories, but it was written like a fairy-tale. Loved it!
From now on, My True Love Gave To Me will be my holiday read every year. The cuteness, the fluff, the holiday spirit, ALL the feels. I loved it. The different personalities, cultures, and sexualities. It’s a great collection of varying stories carrying the little bit of romance that add so perfectly to the Christmas feeling.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 26th 2013
One extraordinary love.
Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.
Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try
As I am incredibly behind in reading this book, this review probably won’t tell you anything you haven’t heard before. But because it was such an incredibly good read I can’t really help myself to at least write something about it and show you what I loved so much about this book.
The way it is written. Those metaphors! Gosh, the words just seemed to flow. With every word I read the story seemed to come alive. I was absolutely absorbed in the story from beginning to end.
The characters. They’re real and relatable. Eleanor, a ‘big’ girl with flaming red hair, and Park, a thin (half) Korean boy. The point of view switches every chapter or so and it makes that you can identify with Eleanor, the way she feels so insecure about herself and her body, but also with Park, the way he looks up to his dad and feels like he isn’t meeting his expectations. Both are flawed in their own ways and it makes the story unmistakably real. Beautiful.
The setting. It’s 1986! Lot’s of movie and music references. I love music from the 80’s, or really older music in general, which made the story even more appealing to me.
The ending. The ending was a tiny bit frustrating and maybe a bit mean, I’ll give you that much, but in other ways it was beautiful. I love that the reader gets to use their own imagination to decide what happened to Eleanor & Park. View Spoiler » Those three words on that postcard can be anything from I love you to Leave me alone to Stop writing me and so on « Hide Spoiler Everyone gets to give their own meaning to the ending and to me there’s an unmistakably beauty in that ability.
This book was absolutely beautiful. The story is adorable, but will wreck havoc on your feelings. All the feels! I’m in love with this story and the characters (and adore Rainbow Rowell for writing yet another beautiful book).