THE SUNDAY REVIEW: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

4/5

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 3.12.38 PMSo, I’m really on the fence with Fangirl. I enjoyed reading it — hence the 4/5 — but once I put it down I felt a little…meh. I didn’t quite dislike it — I just doubt I’ll ever read it again.

I guess I’ll start with the things I liked. First, the relationship between the MC, Cath, and her twin sister, Wren. It’s the twins’ first year of college and Wren is ready to branch out and make some new friends, while anxiety-prone Cath feels left behind. Very realistic dynamic. I also liked Cath’s relationship with her father, who suffered from bipolar disorder (I’m assuming), and with her roommate Reagan.

But while I liked all the relationships, I’m not sure I liked Cath herself. She felt a bit… whiny, I guess. Nothing was ever her fault, she was always the victim, and she didn’t seem to change or grow that much over the course of the book. And while I love love love to see portrayals of mental illness in YA books, I have no sweet clue what Cath is supposed to be portraying. Generalized anxiety disorder? Social anxiety disorder? Avoidant personality disorder? If you know (maybe Rowell has clarified somewhere?) feel free to let me know in the comments.

Honestly, at the end of the day, I think this is just a classic case of It’s Not You, It’s Me. This is a great book, and I can totally understand why so many people love it. It’s just not for me. I found the Simon Snow snippets boring, I couldn’t really relate to Cath, and I think it ran about 10 or 20K too long. But this is just my opinion — if you’ve read it, feel free to sound off in the comments, and if you haven’t, pick up a copy and see what you think 🙂

Happy reading!

xo Elizabeth

 

WRITING WEDNESDAY: The Writer’s Holiday Wish List

After reading Ava Jae’s lovely holiday book recommendation list over on Writability (and putting a significant dent in my credit card buying most of them), I thought it would be fun to do the same! But, since most of the books I read this year have titles like Dubin’s Rapid Interpretation of ECGs or Principles and Practices of Infectious Diseases, I’ve had to branch out a little from only books. Instead, I’ve created a sort of holiday wish list for writers — awesome gifts that you can get your favourite writer friend 🙂

1. “WRITER” Bookends! So adorable, from Knob Creek Metal Arts.

2. Writing posters These are hundreds of these out there, but I especially love the one on the left, for some reason… 😉

3. Writing Dishware! Okay, I know that people probably won’t buy/use this. But it’s so adorable, I had to include it.

4. Moleskine Notebooks Does anyone else just sort of collect Moleskine notebooks, even though they do all their writing on a computer? No? Just me? Mmk.

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5. THIS T-SHIRT! Hahahah okay I know it’s kind of ugly, but come on. It’s hilarious.

6. Books! (duh) Here are just a few of my favorites.

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A light, fun read with a quirky male protagonist.

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An all-time fave!

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Everything Shane Koyczan does is AMAZING ❤

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A great read for the holidays, if you have several work-free days to fill 🙂

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I know everyone in the universe has already read this… but I hadn’t until last week, and it’s fantastic.

Hushed by Kelley York – a NA LGTB thriller. So creepy and awesome!!!

THE SUNDAY REVIEW: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

3/5

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Yes, it’s another Rainbow Rowell novel – what can I say? I was on a bit of a Kindle binge.

Attachments was Rowell’s first novel, and – thinking as a former query-sending writer – I can immediately see why her agent snapped it up. It has a really intriguing, salable premise. The main character, Lincoln, is a computer security guy who screens company e-mails. He gets to know Beth – the main female character – through the (private) e-mails she exchanges with her friend Jennifer. And then – spoiler alert! – there is love and feelings and things.

In terms of writing, Attachments is perhaps a little less impressive then Eleanor & Park (hence the 3/5). Some of the transitions between Beth and Lincoln’s chapters were a little clunky, and it read a bit slow at times. It also takes place in 1999/2000, which I think is an inherently un-romantic time (dial-up internet, ICQ, five-pound cell phones…it was like the awkward preteen years of modern technology).

And yet, overall, I did quite enjoy it – I may have even liked it a little more than Eleanor & Park. Maybe it’s because the characters are older, I’m not really sure. Either way, it was light and fun, and I would have no qualms recommending it to anyone looking for a decent Sunday-morning read.

xo Elizabeth

Next week: Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

THE SUNDAY REVIEW: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

4/5

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All right, so, I feel like I’m going to enrage die-hard Eleanor & Park fans by only giving this a 4/5, but I’m hoping you’ll all hear me out.

Honestly, I think this is an excellent book. It’s unique, it’s engaging, and its characters are believable. Eleanor, in particular, shines. She’s not always likeable (who is?) but she’s sympathetic and realistic. And I loved that she was fat. Not ‘curvy’, not ‘she thinks she’s fat but she’s really a goddess’, but actually overweight. If I had a teen daughter/son, I would force-feed them this book (“See, kids? It’s not only glittery vampires** who fall in love. Real-life people do it too.”)

So, why am I only giving it a 4/5? Well, mostly because I’m saving my 5/5s for books that I, personally, could not put down. Books that I stayed up till 3AM to finish, even though I had to work at 5AM the next day. I liked Eleanor & Park – and I can see why so many people love it – but I didn’t stay up till 3AM to finish it. And I think there’s one simple reason for that.

I’m old.

I mean, okay, I’m not actually old. I’m 25. But inside, I’m about 80. And – confession time – I’m kind of over teen romance. I know, I know – being a YA writer who’s bored of YA romance is kind of like being a soccer player who’s sick of running. But it’s true. Exchanging mixed tapes, giving long passionate speeches about why you love someone, using words like ‘endless’ and ‘eternity’… it’s all just a little much for me. I’ve been with my boyfriend – now fiancé – for several years now, and I’m of the old-fashioned opinion that real-life love is a lot less dramatic. It’s explaining why you’re annoyed, instead of being sulky and moody until they ask you what’s wrong. It’s driving them to work at 5AM even though it’s your only day to sleep in (and only complaining about it a little). It’s a million little boring things that would put my 16-year-old self to sleep.

So, at the end of the day, did I like Eleanor & Park? Yes. Would I recommend it? Definitely. Did I fall head over heels in love with it and want to make it a mixed tape? Well, no.

But maybe if I was 16.

xo Elizabeth

**Full disclosure: I have never actually read Twilight. But the vampires in that glittered or sparkled or something, didn’t they?