Review: Fangirl By Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: September 10, 2013

Source: eArc via NetGalley

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Summary

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?

Review

There is just so much to say about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I loved every second of this book and was unable to put it down. It is difficult to even find a place to start with this review because the book is near perfection.

Cather and Wren (I love this, their mother did not know they were going to be twins, so she had only picked the name Catherine) are starting their first year of college. Wren decides that she does not want to live with Cather (who goes by Cath) and wants nothing to do with the fan fiction they used to write together. Cath is, rightfully, hurt by this and starts school my keeping to herself and rarely leaving her room.

Eventually Cath starts a writing project with a classmate in her advanced fiction class. This project, and the attention of Levi who is her roommates boyfriend, start to open Cath up. She begins to try to reach out. Wren begins to party and drink to excess. Both girls really represent what a lot of young people go through with their first taste of freedom in college. The struggle to find where you belong and who you are feels very authentic here.  

The greatest part of Fangirl (and trust me, much of it is great) are the relationships. Rowell does such a good job with each character and the interactions. The dialogue is snappy and often hilarious. The relationship between Levi and Cath is outstanding. They are adorable, but hit some snags early on. The relationship just feels so real and I loved pretty much any part of the book that they both are in. There is just such an overwhelming need to root for them. To hope they can work it out.

Cath and Wren have a father who has mental health issues. The way it is handled by Rowell is both informative and heartfelt. The love that Cath and Wren have for their father, who was their sole caregiver after their mother left, is very heartfelt. Of course this relationship, and the loss of their mother, is used to illustrate why Cath and Wren both throw themselves into the world of fan fiction. Escapism at its best and even better than just reading a book, you can be the one to control the world.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is both beautifully written and wonderfully insightful coming-of-age story. The romance will give you butterflies and the dialogue will often have you laughing. The creativity of using excerpts of fan fiction (with the inclusion of passages from the actual book) are such a great touch. Fangirl is a wonderful book and one in which I highly recommend.

I was given a free eARC of Fangirl but all thoughts are my own.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

 

Review: Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Title: Twerp

Author: Mark Goldblatt

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 28, 2013

Source: Netgalley

Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary

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Summary

It’s not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . .

Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade–blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he’s still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can’t bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

Review

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt lets the reader read the journals of the sixth grader Julian Twerski. His English teacher offers him the option of keeping the journals and writing about the incident that caused him to be suspended. Using the journal as a writing device is just brilliant. It lets the reader see into Julian’s life. It leads us to the incident that they are ultimately supposed to be about but not before the reader is ready to know what it is. To learn about his hopes and fears. Julian is so smart and funny but has the same problem many 12-year-old boys do. He doesn’t really understand girls. He sometimes makes bad decisions that backfire in horrible ways.

In each chapter, Julian tells a story of something that happens in his life. He talks about writing a love letter for a friend. Of course, this goes all wrong and the girl thinks he wrote it. Julian is unsure what to do in this situation and ends up going to his sister for advice. Julian worries constantly about no longer being the fastest kid in school. This is so important to him and it builds up to a final showdown at the Track and Field Day. Julian, as an adult, would likely look back on these two events and realize they are not all that important in the scheme of things. Yet, at twelve they are huge events and it feels real that they effect him the way that they do.

Eventually, we find out what Julian did to be suspended. It is ultimately shocking because by this point, we have gotten to know Julian. We know that he is a sweet kid that obviously made a huge mistake. It makes the story that much more difficult to read knowing that he is not just a bad kid. That he should have known better.

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt is a touching coming-of-age story that will transport you to 1969. It is well-written and an enjoyable read. I would highly recommend it to young readers (especially boys) because it is engaging and teaches a powerful lesson. Take charge, be yourself, and speak up when you know something is wrong before it is too late.

I was provided an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

Release Day Reads for May 7, 2013

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The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year….

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

Dead Ever After (Sookie Stackhouse #13) by Charlene Harris

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart…

Sookie Stackhouse finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howard

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on–most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits–that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

 

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.

Reboot (Reboot #1) by Amy Tintera

Reboot by Amy Tintera

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

Icons (Icons #1) by Margaret Stohl

Icons by Margaret Stohl

Your heart beats only with their permission.

Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol’s family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn’t know it was fighting.
Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside — safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can’t avoid.

She’s different. She survived. Why?

When Dol and her best friend, Ro, are captured and taken to the Embassy, off the coast of the sprawling metropolis once known as the City of Angels, they find only more questions. While Ro and fellow hostage Tima rage against their captors, Dol finds herself drawn to Lucas, the Ambassador’s privileged son. But the four teens are more alike than they might think, and the timing of their meeting isn’t a coincidence. It’s a conspiracy.

Within the Icon’s reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions — which they’ve always thought to be their greatest weaknesses — may actually be their greatest strengths.

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . .

Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger

Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger

Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven.
So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to bring her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child—an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body. The raven girl feels imprisoned by her arms and legs and covets wings and the ability to fly. Betwixt and between, she reluctantly grows into a young woman, until one day she meets an unorthodox doctor who is willing to change her.

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

That is, until Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily’s friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction…and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.

Under the scorching summer sun, the unexpected truth of Budgie and Nick’s marriage bubbles to the surface, and as a cataclysmic hurricane barrels unseen up the Atlantic and into New England, Lily and Nick must confront an emotional cyclone of their own, which will change their worlds forever.

So many great books this week! Not sure if my wallet can take it but I plan on purchasing The 5th Wave and Dead Ever After this week. I will have reviews for Zenn Scarlett and Nantucket Blue this week.

What book are you most excited about?

 

Cover images and summaries from goodreads.

Release Day Reads

Is there anything better than brand new books to add to your stacks?

Release Day Reads

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley

Title: Amity & Sorrow

Author: Peggy Riley

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Publication Date: April 16, 2013

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Summary

A mother and her daughters drive for days without sleep until they crash their car in rural Oklahoma. The mother, Amaranth, is desperate to get away from someone she’s convinced will follow them wherever they go–her husband. The girls, Amity and Sorrow, can’t imagine what the world holds outside their father’s polygamous compound. Rescue comes in the unlikely form of Bradley, a farmer grieving the loss of his wife. At first unwelcoming to these strange, prayerful women, Bradley’s abiding tolerance gets the best of him, and they become a new kind of family. An unforgettable story of belief and redemption, AMITY & SORROW is about the influence of community and learning to stand on your own.

Amity & Sorrow by Peggy Riley came on my radar when I received an invite to read it via Netgalley a few days ago. From the haunting yet powerful cover to a main part of the plot being fleeing from a cult compound, Amity & Sorrow is exactly the kind of fiction I would enjoy.

 

Cover image and summary taken from goodreads.