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

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Book Title/Author: Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Publisher/Year
: Dutton Juvenile – January 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Yes — Just One Year is out Fall 2013
Other Books From Author: If I Stay, Where She Went, Sister’s in Sanity, You Can’t Get There from Here: A Year on the Fringes of a Shrinking World

Amazon| Goodreads | @gayleforman

I received this from Penguin who was generous enough to provide me with a review copy in an exchange for an honest review. As always, this did this not sway my opinions in any way. Pinky promise!

 

As part of her graduation present, Allyson Healy and her best friend are spending a few weeks on tour in Europe. By taking one little risk, she ends up meeting Willem, an actor in a fun, underground Shakespeare troupe, who intrigues her with his free spirit and passion. By saying yes and taking a chance on spontaneity as Lulu, her more adventurous self, she finds herself having a life-changing day in Paris with Willem — who she discovers has disappeared without a goodbye. She returns home heartbroken and with questions about what that day meant and becomes determined to figure out who she is and escape the predictable little box she feels trapped in.

Oh Lord. Gayle Forman. You know my insane love for her books If I Stay & Where She Went so naturally this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2013. I tried to approach reading Just One Day as if it was written by somebody else because, you know, it’s hard not to fangirl automatically for your favorite author. But, alas, I could not do that because the things that make a Gayle Forman book, well, a Gayle Forman book, just crept up as I was reading. It’s the little pitter patters in my heart she is able to create or the fact that by the next page she is able to slice and dice my heart and makes it hurt so real.

Exhibit A:

It’s the amazing characters that you just want to spend more time with and care so much about (and oh my goodness — the minor characters are fab — Dee, Giant, etc). It’s the ability to make me feel every emotion so vividly. So, suffice it to say, this book was nothing short of amazing! I can’t say whether or not I liked it more/less than If I Stay/Where She Went because they make me feel something entirely different for different reasons but it is 100% what makes Gayle’s books my favorites. THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITES EVER!!

This story was amazing — one of the best stories of self discovery that I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I just relished in the details and the little moments that happened throughout their day and could relate as someone with an adventurous spirit. The day just sounded perfect and I think that’s what made a certain part even more excruciating.  The spark between those two was something special and magical to me. Willem, like Adam in If I Stay/Where She Went says the simplest of things that just make my heart melt.

Exhibit B (Oh my heart !)

And yes, the travel was delightful, the romance was super swoony but I really enjoyed watching Allyson figure out her way to being the self that incorporated the parts of “Lulu” that she loved after she returned from Paris. I LOVED that this wasn’t a quick transformation — it was little pieces and Gayle Forman used the utmost even pacing — and it wasn’t about finding herself for the sake of the boy though he made a lasting impression on her & still held answers for her. It was one single day, of doing something extraordinary, that helped her eyes be open to what COULD be — that she wasn’t okay with just being content and doing what was always expected. It was some of the best introspection I’ve read it a while and her journey of self discovery was one that hit home for me — a lot of things that have been weighing heavy on me lately were things that Allyson was thinking through. I have to be honest when I say it’s the type of novel that made me want to be a little more bold and say yes more often. It made me realize I’d made some right decisions that I was scared were wrong. So I really felt invested in Allyson’s journey because I really felt it — as I’m sure it will resonate with most readers in a way. I just know that personally these are some similar things I’ve been dealing with and talking about with my husband.

And the ending! Oh the ending! The Mayans better not be right because I NEED to read Just One Year!

 


Just One Day was one of the best books I’ve read this year and has even more secured Gayle Forman as one of my all time favorite authors. Just One Day made me feel a multitude of feelings — in the same way If I Stay/Where She Went made me! It’s everything I wanted and hoped for the moment I heard about this book — the travel was to die for, the adventures stirred up an insatiable want for my own adventure, the romance just made my heart pitter patter yet simultaneous burst out of my chest and Allyson’s story of self-discovery was honestly one I just really needed to read right now. Introspective and full of feelings, Just One Day will no doubt be another win for those previously familiar with her work and will take hostage those who’ve never had the pleasure of reading a Gayle Forman novel. Prepare your hearts, friends.

 

For Fans Of: Gayle Forman (obviously), amazing character development, feeling ALL OF THE FEELINGS, traveling stories, books with older protags (college aged what uppp), books that must might make you think, straight up amazing contemporary YA

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it (I’m sure you have!!)? What did you think if you have read it? Did you feel all of the feelings???

five-stars
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...