Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Book Review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Book Title/Author: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher/Year
: St. Martin’s Griffin – September 10th 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Eleanor & Park, Attachments
Goodreads | Twitter |Amazon

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Cath and her twin sister, Wren, are HUGE fans of the Simon Snow book series — so much so that they even wrote fanfiction that is hugely popular, were super involved in forums, & have gone to every premiere. Wren hasn’t been as into it lately and Cath feels the distance but not entirely until Wren drops the bomb that she doesn’t want to be roommates with Cath when they go off to college together in the Fall. Without her sister by her side, Cath struggles to not isolate herself in a situation that is completely out of her comfort zone. She’s not as outgoing as Wren, struggles to open up and doesn’t adjust as well to the huge life changes happening — a new roommate, cute boys that seem to always be around, difficult professors, being away from her dad who isn’t always stable and has never been alone, etc. Cath isn’t sure she can do all of this without her sister by her side but she knows she is going to have to start learning who she is — apart from the things that made her feel secure before.

If I hadn’t already fallen head over heels with Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell I’m not sure I would have picked this up just because I’ve never been part of any sort of fandom or have even read one lick of fanfiction and so the premise didn’t really speak to me. I mean, you guys know I JUST started the Harry Potter series this week so I haven’t even been super involved growing up with any sort of series. I was SO scared I wasn’t going to connect to this one because of this but Rainbow Rowell certainly proved me wrong and wrote a story that I related to in so many ways that it honestly surprised me and I found myself devouring it.

Rowell weaves the fanfiction that Cath writes along with the story. It honestly took me a little bit to get used to but Rowell wrote it in a way that I realized I could skip it or skim it if I wanted. I opted for skimming so I’d get the sense of what she was writing about but didn’t take my time reading it like I did with the rest of the story. So don’t be afraid of this aspect if you aren’t into the fanfiction aspect! While I didn’t connect with the fandom/fanfiction life of it I totally connected with this passion that Cath had and related it to our little book blogging community in ways. Cath is so wrapped up in her fanfiction world and at times I see myself so immersed in our community.

Sure, a lot of this story has to do with Cath and her fanfiction writing and how she and her sister have bonded through this but it’s about way more than that — feeling your way through that weird transition between kidhood and adulthood, seeing people for who they are and not who you WANT them to be, first loves, sisterhood, independence and so much more.

Fangirl was just one of those books that was a delight to read and so, so funny. I loved Cath’s story and her journey — even though she was a tough one for me to warm up to at first. My first I LOVE YOU CATH moment was a certain Emergency Kanye Dance Party part. She’s flawed, kind of judgmental, not exactly comfortable in her own skin, holds people to wicked high standards, doesn’t like change, etc. Even though I don’t think I immediately would say Cath and I were super alike, I could feel in my core some of these same things manifested in my own self. I related so well concerning her struggles with her sister because I definitely had tension with my sister as we both changed and stopped being best friends because of these differences. I wanted to HATE Wren but I recognized that we are ONLY see Wren through Cath’s POV so it’s not the whole picture and I KNOW when I was having issues with my sister I definitely only painted a bad one. I also learned that I couldn’t expect my sister to uphold the same things I did — so I really UNDERSTOOD Cath but also saw the error of her ways. Her flaws and her journey to grapple with some of these things made me love her. Also I can’t say enough about some of the other characters. Reagan & Levi <33

I will say that I saw a Twitter exchange ( I can’t remember who) mention that they were turned off because of how little we saw of the fandom and the WHYS of it being so important to her and I didn’t think of it while I was reading but I actually really agree as much as I loved this book. I initially felt my disconnect with the whole fandom thing as why I didn’t SEE how it was so important in her life but really I do think, looking back, it wasn’t really explored as much. We just KNEW it was important but didn’t really at all feel why.

 

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was absolutely wonderful. It’s honestly hard to pin point what I loved about it but it was just THAT FEELING you get when you read something and can’t pull yourself out of it. That CONNECTION to the story and all the FEELS. What I do know is that Fangirl was delightfully funny and a great story that I fell in love with. I’m glad I didn’t get hung up on the fact that Cath’s story was so heavily rooted in fanfiction/fandom because it was about SO MUCH MORE. Reading the premise could have turned me off had I not known Rainbow Rowell’s books are MUST READS for me no matter what. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read Fangirl? Heard of it? What did you think? Did you feel similarly to me or different! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Did you connect with the fandom aspect?

four-half-stars

Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book Review (NO SPOILERS)

12842134Book Title/Author: Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Publisher/Year
: Dutton Juvenile – October 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: It’s a duology and Just One Day is book 1!
Other Books From Author:
Goodreads | Twitter |Amazon

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Just One Year starts out with Willem in the hospital and chronicles the next year after his infamous day with Allyson as he longs for her but also spends the year trying to find himself and what he is about. Yep, that’s all I’m giving you on what this book is about. Be prepared for great character growth and some special relationships that don’t even have to do with Allyson.

Honestly…how can I ever review a Gayle Forman book? The thought of it makes my palms sweaty and my stomach a little queasy because my words just feel paltry and unable to even give a glimpse of how special her books are. There is just something about her novels that always resonate in the depths of me that only a very, very select few can do consistently. Just One Year undoubtedly raised the bar of what I come to expect from companion novels — and really just books in general.

Right off the bat I was eager to dive into Just One Year. We KNOW where Just One Day leaves off (!!!) so I was chomping at the bit to see what Willem had been up to for that year and to make our way to the point in which Just One Day ends. On one hand I found myself wanting to fly through the book to get to THE PART but on the other hand I just felt deep down that I wanted to give Willem the proper time and attention and enjoy his journey because really we don’t KNOW Willem all that well from Just One Day and we all have a million questions about what happened to him.

Just One Year was just so COMPLETE for me. I felt like Willem was just this character that I knew but I didn’t really KNOW and experiencing his story gave so much more depth to Just One Day. It complemented it so perfectly without RELYING on it if that makes sense. Willem’s story is not what we see in Just One Day — it’s larger than that. The events of Just One Day are only a sliver of his life and I was so pleased at the masterful way Willem came to life and was given even more depth.

His story is heartbreaking and also heartwarming and I found myself relating to Willem in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Willem’s growth was so perfect and I just absolutely fell in love with him. I LOVED that Gayle Forman made him SO REAL. Sure, he thinks about Lulu/Allyson but he’s not sitting there vowing celibacy or putting his life on hold until he finds her. His life moves on but he can’t stop shaking that feeling of having changed and contemplating the person who planted that seed of change and he doesn’t know what to do with that.  I loved watching him grapple with all of it but my heart simultaneously felt weighty right along with his broken self. God, Gayle, how do you DO that? As much as I wanted him to obviously emerge like a rom com hero and not stop at anything to find her, I really wanted him to find himself and I’m so grateful for Gayle staying true to her characters and giving me a story that isn’t just hinged on a romance but on a real person with a real story and a real journey.

The term “waited with bated breath” was never so apt a description until I read Just One Year. Gayle so perfectly takes us on Willem’s journey (the travel bug in you will salivate) and simultaneously has you just waiting for the moment when they will be reunited. I found myself holding my breath thinking THIS COULD BE THE MOMENT a few times. There are some parallels of things that show up in both books and I was talking to my friend Ginger about how I kind of wished I reread JOD right before so I could have them perfectly aligned in my mind but she made me think about how FUN it was to be guessing and NOT knowing.

I know I’ll get asked if I liked Just One Day or Just One Year more and that’s impossible to say because they resonated with me for different reasons and took me on special journeys that truly did impact me. I can only say that I think at the time when I read Just One Day it impacted me enough to take some action in my life — it found me when I needed it.

 

Just One Year was flawless for me — everything I could have hoped for and more. Had all the amazing characteristics of a Gayle Forman novel — superb writing, thought provoking, depth in story & character development, heart and soul — and I loved Willem’s physical journey as well as his journey to find happiness, love (read: not just romance) and ultimately himself. If you are looking for a novel that truly doesn’t hinge itself on a romance, even though we know Allyson & Willem’s one day together was special & life altering, this will be so satisfying for you as it was for me. I don’t reread often but Just One Day and Just One Year are going to be stories I need to revisit again and again. I feel like I can never show enough gratitude to Gayle Forman for Just One Day and Just One Year — a most perfect duology that truly did impact me enough to actually change things about my life.

Just One Year Gayle Forman book review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this?? Are you DYING to read it??

five-stars

2nd Annual End Of Year Book Survey – 2011 Style!

Graphic created by THE AMAZING Ginger at G-Reads. Let’s give the girl a hand…she’s talented! THANK YOU G!!

As I mentioned in October I was going to bring back the End Of Year Book Survey that I created randomly last year. My silly little survey I created for myself to highlight what I read in 2011 suddenly grew when a bunch of others jumped in which was AWESOME and made my TBR list for 2011 grow exponentially…and really made it all more fun!

I know 2011 isn’t over yet but, as I said last year, this is the time I start reflecting on what I’ve read and start looking ahead because I NEVER get much reading done during December with the holidays and what not! I’ll be filling this out within the next day or so but I’ll be revising if I happen to read something absolutely earth shattering that would need to be on here!

So feel to fill this out whenever you feel like it…whether that’s today or in January! Feel free to link up with Mr. Linky and share your End of Year Books Survey and visit others on the list!

1. Best Book You Read In 2011? 

Honestly, I hate myself for asking this question. HOW do you pick a favorite!? So I’m cheating and picking more than one! 

YA contemporary- Sloppy Firsts (although it’s in the bookstores in the adult section), Lola and the Boy Next Door, Where She Went
Dystopian- FEVER!!!!!
YA paranormal/supernatural: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Adult Fiction: The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen, The Lover’s Dictionary

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

I was SO excited for the sequel to Vixen by Jillian Larkin. Don’t get me wrong, Ingenue was GOOD, but I was a bit disappointed because I expected to LOVE IT WAY MORE. I’ll still be reading the next one but yeah..just wasn’t as IN LOVE as I thought I’d be. 

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

 Raw Blue by Kirsty Eager! I really didn’t know what to expect with this one. I wanted to help out a fellow blogger who was setting up a tour and WOW…this was quite the little gem!

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

I gushed and pushed the following books like nobody’s biz…Sloppy Firsts, Anna/Lola and If I Stay/Where She Went. 

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

The Jessica Darling series obviously (I still need to finish!) but I was really really happy with A Need So Beautiful and Shade as I’m not a HUGE paranormal/supernatural fangirl. I am picky but these really stood out!

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Megan McCafferty ( I had heard SO much about her and FINALLY read her with Sloppy Firsts and Bumped…AND MET HER!!), Beth Kephart, Rebecca Rasmussen and Stephanie Perkins. I read Anna in the first week of January 2011 because Steph Su made me buy it despite how much I didn’t want to…and I FELL IN LOVE.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

 I’ve never really read much fantasy that wasn’t paranormal/supernaturally kind of stuff. I read Silver Phoenix and I LOVED it! I will be trying to read more fantasy in 2012! Any recs??

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

 While Mara and I have a complicated relationship…I COULD NOT PUT THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER DOWN!!  Also, Fever by Lauren DeStefano!!

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

 WHERE SHE WENT!! I was dying for this one after If I Stay and my dear friend Kristi sent me the extra ARC she had and I was SOOO happy!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?



11. Most memorable character in 2011? 

 Hands down Jessica Darling. Let’s be honest here.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
Fever by Lauren DeStefano

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011? 

 In terms of emotionally (as this year I didn’t seem to read anything that was extremely provocative for some reason), I think Moonglass by Jessi Kirby or Where She Went by Gayle Forman. Obviously the grief issue resonates deeply.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read? 

 Sloppy Firsts. I’ve had people telling me to read this book since before I started blogging. I even made my sister buy it because so many people recommended it…but I never picked it up. STUPID MOVE, Jamie. Jessica Darling = Teen Jamie

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011? 

From The Lover’s Dictionary:


these words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convoy. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.”
From Where She Went by Gayle Forman
“I look at her there in the shadows of the shut-down city, her hair falling onto her face, and I can see her trying to figure out if I’ve lost it. And I have to fight the urge to take her by the shoulders and slam her against a shuttered building until we feel the vibrations ringing through both of us. Because I suddenly want to hear her bones rattle. I want to feel the softness of her flesh give, to hear her gasp as my hip bone jams into her. I want to yank her head back until her neck is exposed. I want to rip my hands through her hair until her breath is labored. I want to make her cry and then lick up the tears. And then I want to take my mouth to hers, to devour her alive, to transmit all the things she can’t understand.”  
From Delirium by Lauren Oliver
“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”  

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012? 

 The Lover’s Dictionary (I feel like there is still more beauty to glean from this one!) or Anna & The French Kiss (it makes me uber happy)

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Delirium ( THE END!!), Fever (OMG SO MANY PARTS!), Mara Dyer (THE END!) and Shade (SO MANY PARTS! And I totally blew up Jen from Makeshift Bookmark’s phone!)

 Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011? 

 Oh goodness…SO many this year…BUT probably Rather Be Reading — Estelle and Magan are pretty recent additions to the blogging world and there blog is seriously one of my faves of all time now — great reviews, great personality, and a beauteous design! Helps that I also have sooo much in common with them!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010? 

 Lola and the Boy Next Door. There are only a few reviews that are insanely, incoherently nothing but fangirly gushing. This is one of them. It’s my favorite because I had so much fun writing it and letting myself forget about writing a proper review. Sometimes the crazy fangirl just can’t be contained!

3. Best discussion you had on your blog? 

 Oh goodness. I have had so many great discussions on my blog. And honestly…it has nothing to do with my writing/discussional skills and more to do with my amazing READERS!! I’d say either my discussion about commenting on book blogs or my letter to my younger blogging self that I did recently. Really just check out my list of discussions and you’ll find some really great ones in the comments! Lots of healthy debating in some!

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?


I really need to take note of these just for the purposes of this survey BUT recently April from Good Books and Good Wine had a great post about monetizing your blog and whether or not it is a book blogger taboo. ALSO, I remember way back in the beginning of the year Andye from Reading Teen had a great discussion about Sex in YA.

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

 I again went to a lot of amazing signings and met fave authors (GAYLE FORMAN!!) and amazing bloggers this year! However, BEA was hands down the best thing that happened to me this year. And folks, I’ll be honest…it wasn’t because of all the books. It was all the moments hanging out with some of my best blogging friends. It was the way it seemed like we’ve known each other all for years and could die laughing about the silliest things. BEA might just be the BEST memory of 2011. Honestly.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

 Aside from BEA, I’d say that the best moment in 2011 as far as my blog goes is reaching 1000 followers. Follower count isn’t too important..however..I was really secretly giddy because I don’t do a lot of giveaways or anything like that (not saying these are bad…I just really haven’t participated in much like that). It felt nice that all the heart and soul that I poured into this blog showed in that people actually read this thing?! Honestly…I had a little teary eyed moment (which Will LAUGHED at) but I was honestly so amazed that people comment and read what I write and CARE to some degree. The conversations that happen here are most important to me but still…it was kinda cool to see that number…to be honest. I’m lame. I know. ALSO MY 1 YEAR BLOGOVERSARY!!

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

 As far as views, this one about when to post ARCS gets a LOT of views. As far as comments…my blogoversary video got the most followed by the discussion about comments I mentioned above.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

 I had so much fun writing up my Fictional Wedding and had hoped that it would have gotten more love! Also, my review of Fever!! I was so excited about talking about it and wanted others to be toooo. I know..it was too early but I HAD TO. I had to give those who haven’t read Wither PLENTY OF TIME to get their asses in gear! 😛

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

 AUDIOBOOKS!!! And also, related to that, the Overdrive program with my library in which I can BORROW audiobooks! YAY. Win, Jamie, win!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I read WAY less than I planned and failed with my challenges. I blame it on wedding planning. Or that I suck at goals and challenges. Better luck next year!

Looking Ahead…


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

HARRY POTTER! You guys really might disown me if it doesn’t happen in 2012, yes? Also, JANE EYRE! I really wanted to read it this year.



2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

 ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER!! Give to me Stephanie Perkins. Make my brain explode!


3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?

 Reading — This year I read way more YA than I ever have. Which is great…but I’m an eclectic reader by nature and want to read more adult fiction and especially classics in 2012. I need more balance next year.

Blogging — I hope to just continue to read and review honestly and make solid connections with my readers. I also hope to MAYBE get a blurb in a book?  Like that would be really cool…although my reviews don’t really translate into blurb-worthy lol

Anywhooo..2011 was EPIC as far as reading and blogging what not. Definitely expanded my reading horizons a lot and had good times all around on the blog, Twitter and ESPECIALLY anytime I went to an event!


It’s BAAAAACK!!

Many of you participated in the End of 2010 Book Survey that I did last year and it was AMAZING. I found so many new blogs and my TBR list grew exponentially because I just HAD to add new books that were stand out’s for people that year.It was so fun to take a look back at our reading year in 2010!

It was so much fun that I’m for SURE bringing it back next year…with a better graphic (I had no skillz last year so it looks BAD. Not that this current one is skilled lol), a few more questions and some redefined ones and way more fun! I’m going to post the survey in its entirety on December 1 with Mr. Linky again. Last year I posted this WAY to early but this year I’d like to wait until December.

I’d like your feedback if you participated last year (or even if you didn’t but read through people’s surveys) as I go about reworking the survey for this year. I’m keeping many of the same questions, reworking some and getting rid of a couple and replacing them with new ones. I still want to keep it around the same length as it was last year but maybe an addition of 3-5 questions.

– Please let me know any awesome category ideas that I may have not thought of.
– A BIG source of discussion was the Worst Book of 2011 category. I realize I may not have been entirely sensitive (as I will still pretty new!) that it might be uncomfortable to announce that sort of thing with the way authors and bloggers interact. I didn’t have a problem with this particular question but I know MANY did and that’s totally understandable. What I’d like to know is would you like to: reword it to something less harsh or just scrap it and keep it all positive?
– Any other feedback would be great!
– Also, spread the word!! It was a huge surprise how many bloggers (and Youtube vloggers!) did it last year!

So, be watching this blog on December 1 for when the survey goes live! 🙂

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