My Kyrosmagica Review of FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Goodreads Synopsis:

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?

My Review:

Well, somehow I’ve ended up writing a mega long review so stick with me, I hope you find it interesting and I’m not just wittering on. Why the long review? Rainbow Rowell is an awesome writer that’s why, so here goes:

For me Fan Girl really took off at the point when Levi kisses Cath. Why? Well because those kisses are just so delicious: And nobody had ever kissed Cath like this before. Only Abel had kissed her before, and that was like getting pushed squarely on the mouth and pushing back. 177

Levi’s kisses were all taking. Like he was drawing something out of her with soft little jabs of his chin.

Aren’t these great?  Don’t these kisses just want to make you smile?

What about characters?

Rainbow Rowell has this wonderful knack of creating great, believable characters, take Cath’s room mate Reagen:

Cath looked at Reagen. Even without her makeup and hair, the girl was terrifying. There was just no fear in her. No hesitation. Talking to Reagen was like standing in front of an oncoming train. 183

In just a few words Reagen is summed up to a tee. Classic. Whether her characters are male or female Rainbow Rowell manages to get them spot on, she doesn’t use complexities, she just goes about it in a simple but perfect way.

Levi makes everything look easy, even the act of standing up: You didn’t realize how much work everyone else put into holding themselves upright until you saw Levi leaning against a wall. He looked like he was leaning on something even when he wasn’t. He made standing look like vertical lying down. 187

Or Levi Smiling: : ” She (Cath) hated the way he passed out smiles to everyone he met like it didn’t cost him anything, like he’d never run out. He made everything look so easy….”187

Even if he’s kissing girls that he shouldn’t he still makes it looks easy, the devil! : “He made it looks so easy.”  192.

I liked how we see how potent a kiss can be!  Oh………

When Levi tells her it was not just a kiss: “Inside, her internal organs were grinding themselves into nervous pulp. Her intestines were gone. Her kidneys were disintegrating. Her stomach was wringing itself out, yanking on her trachea. “267

And how nice it is to make up:

She heard the beginning of a smile in his voice – a fetal smile – and it very nearly killed her. 268.

I loved the little touches of humour that Rainbow Rowell uses too:

She motioned for Cath to sit down, so Cath did. (Apparently, Professoe Piper could control Cath with simple hand gestures. Like the Dog whisperer. 260

If Levi were a dog, he’d be a golden retriever. If he were a game, he’d be Ping-Pong, incessant and bouncing and light. 308

When Levi sees Cath’s room at her dads: Levi says “No seriously. I feel like this room should be preserved so that people of the future know what it was like to be a teenage girl in the twenty-first century.” 321

This one’s a bit of a *****Spoiler***** so look away if you’d like:

After Reagen finds Cath and Levi asleep on the bed together. Cath talks to Reagon voicing her fears that going out with Levi “would be like interspecies dating.” He’s older. He smokes. And he drinks. And he’s probably had sex. I mean, he looks like he has.”183

What else did I like about Fan Girl?

Cath obviously, she’s such a great character. Well I liked the idea that not everyone is super confident, some of us are the exact opposite. Levi is the opposite of Cath. Levi is relaxed, more sure of himself whereas Cath is a bundle of uncertainty, and socialising and parties aren’t exactly an easy option for her. She’s happiest when she’s writing flash fiction, when she’s chatting to her fans on-line, rather than in person. I kind of relate to this! Sometimes on-line you can be somebody else, you can be this super confident person whereas in real life you might not measure up to your on-line persona! Huh, now you know the real me!

Cath’s twin Wren might be super confident but Cath isn’t. Rainbow Rowell tackles the issue of anxiety so well. It is such an important topic so many people are suffering with or have suffered from anxiety issues in the past.

I just love the following line in the book:

Cath talking to Reagen, “you’re not scared of anything. I’m scared of everything And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg.” 184

The other refreshing thing about Fan Girl is Levi’s looks, he’s not your typical male model, but nevertheless Cath finds him so sexy!

Levi’s not exactly a male model in fact Cath’s ex Abel is better looking:  Levi was thin and weedy, and his hair – well, his hair – but everything about him made Cath feel loose and immoral. 302

“Levi’s eyebrows were pornographic.” 302

Parents huh, they ain’t all perfect

Not every parent is there for you one hundred percent, some sadly are downright lacking, or stressed, or have all sorts of issues themselves. I’m so glad that Rainbow tackled this parent problem in both Cath’s dad (who is a sympathetic character – no more on that don’t want to spoil the book for you) and Cath’s mum (who is not an appealing character – not to me anyway!) :

Cath’s mum, Laura, bails as soon as she can when Cath’s twin Wren is brought into the hospital for overdrinking.

And then she walked away. Shoulders back, hips swaying. 339.

“I don’t belong here,” she said again. “I won’t intrude like this.” 339

What about the Simon Snow Fan Writing etc

It was ambitious to include these in and amongst the story, some within the chapters themselves and also at the end of chapters. There was a risk that these would possibly distract but on the whole Rainbow Rowell did a great job, and these served a purpose, incorporating these into the story gave you a picture of Cath’s obsession,  how she found it so much easier to be at ease with Levi, to relax, if she was reading her Simon Snow fan fic to him. Though, I have to admit I went back over and read them again after I’d finished reading the book taking them in greater detail a second time. So there’s a tip for you unless your brain cells are more fired up than mine which is more than likely I guess, I’m getting a bit more older in the tooth!

So would I recommend Fangirl? I reckon by now you’ll know the answer to that!

Yes, absolutely. Highly recommended, for readers of YA, Contemporary, Teen, Romance Fiction, Mental Health.

My rating:

4.5 stars.

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****Spoiler below, so look away if you need to! ****:

Fangirl’s last entry is the story Cath wrote as winner of the underclassmen prize. She wrote it even though it looked as if she wouldn’t. Levi’s encouragement spurred her on.  It’s an analogy of playing hard and seek with her sister, with the final line “Here I come, ready or not.” So in the end Fangirl has a positive message the geeky girl finally finds her confidence. Go girl!

Thanks for coming by and reading my review, really appreciate it. Please comment, I’d love to hear your opinions too,

Bye for now!

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica x

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My Kyrosmagica Review of Landline by Rainbow Rowell

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

My review:

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This is the third Rainbow Rowell book that I have read. My favourites up to now have been Eleanor and Park, and Attachments. I still have to delve into the wonders of Fan Girl, (I have heard so many good things about this  coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.)  So I must add it to my TBR list.
Of course  Landline was good, but it wasn’t my favourite Rainbow Rowell book. It didn’t quite have the quirkiness of the characters in Eleanor and Park, or the humour of Attachments. I’m not sure if the telephone landline really worked for me, at times it felt a little bit repetitive, the magic of the time travelling phone  didn’t quite match up to my expectations.

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There were a lot of aspects of the novel that I really enjoyed. At times the story line really touched my heart. Neal and Georgie’s marriage was on the rocks,  and by the end of the book I really felt  for these two characters and wanted them to work it out and be happy.  I enjoyed the role reversal, Neal stayed at home to look after the kids while Georgie went out to pursue her career. Neal was happy with the arrangement at the beginning but nevertheless problems began to show. Neal didn’t fit in to Georgie’s world and Georgie felt left out of the perfect family group of Neal and his kids. Cracks started to show when a wonderful opportunity came up for Georgie to work on a sitcom over Christmas.  She expected that Neil would  agree to have Christmas in Los Angeles instead of going to Omaha, but Neal surprised her by standing his ground. He took the children with him to Omaha, without Georgie. Georgie’s life started to fall apart. Neal made matters worse by ignoring her calls, and Georgie ended up back at her Mum’s house where she used the old yellow Landline in her room to call Neal. What she actually ended up finding is a way to connect with him in the past. Will this be an opportunity to rekindle the original spark of their love, or to set things right?  She started  to question the way that she treated Neal, and wondered  if she had been taking him for granted. She missed her children terribly, and feared that a life without them would be no life at all.  I thought it interesting how she went to live with her mother, behaving like a child herself in need of  the security of her family home. I enjoyed her relationship with her co-worker Seth, and  her family relationships with her mother, step father and sister. Oh and the pug dogs, and the washing machine were a cute touch. You will have to read Landline to see what I mean!  Rainbow Rowell’s strength in this novel is undoubtedly her ability to write about love, families and relationships in a very moving and honest way. Who knows what may have happened in life if you take another path and marry a different person? It is an interesting observation, with no real answers.

My rating:

Overall I enjoyed Landline, and I would give it 3.75 stars.

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My favourite quotes:

“You don’t know when you’re twenty-three.
You don’t know what it really means to crawl into someone else’s life and stay there. You can’t see all the ways you’re going to get tangled, how you’re going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten – in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems.
She didn’t know at twenty-three.”

“Nobody’s lives just fit together. Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen – because you love each other.”

“Having kids sent a tornado through your marriage, then made you happy for the devastation. Even if you could rebuild everything just the way it was before, you’d never want to.”

“That’s what Georgie did to him. She pulled the blood to the surface of his skin. She acted on him. Tidally. She made him feel like things were happening. Like life was happening – and even if he was miserable sometimes, he wasn’t going to sleep through it.”

“Georgie, “he said. “I love you. I love you more than I hate everything else. We’ll make our own enough  – will you marry me?”

They are just such so perceptive, wonderfully thoughtful observations about love, marriage, and having kids.

I would recommend Landline to readers of Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit, and Adult Fiction.

http://rainbowrowell.com/

Have you read Landline? Do leave a comment below I’d love to hear from you.

Bye for now,

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Marje @ Kyrosmagica xx

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My Review of Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

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I am so glad that I joined in the Booksplosion read-along on Goodreads. I really enjoyed reading Attachments and have rated it 4 stars.

I am rating books in a new way under three sub headings, BOOKS, CRYSTALS, MAGIC, a bit of fun!

BOOK: QUALITY OF WRITING

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This is my first Rainbow Rowell book and judging by this I will definitely want to pick up another of her books. I love Lincoln’s character. He appears to me to be like an adult Peter Pan. Still living at home after years of studying, he is stuck in a dead end job. He has a vulnerability about him which makes his transgressions acceptable. He has been hurt before and this is reflected in his choice of work, (which involves a fair amount of solitude working the night shift in a bizarre IT job scouring emails for undesirable flagged references), and in his relationships, (to begin with he only interacts with his sister, his mum and his D&D friends.)

So you can’t help but forgive him that he is reading Beth’s and Jennifer’s emails intruding on their private exchange of friendly banter, because you realise that he is like a big cuddly bear with a warm heart. This is his way of falling in love again, at a distance, so he won’t get hurt. The more he reads their wonderful emails the more he comes alive, and his confidence grows.

The characters are well crafted, and believable. I especially liked Beth, Jennifer, Lincoln’s mum and Doris.

Beth and Jennifer’s warm, caring, relationship comes across beautifully via their unguarded emails.

CRYSTALS: IS THE READ LIGHT HEARTED OR DARK/DEEP?

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This is my lightness rating. Is the book light-hearted or will it leave you in floods of tears? For me, it was definitely a light-hearted read. I found the short chapters drew me into the novel, making me want to turn the page to see what happened next. This is the perfect book for lovers of romance, who enjoy a well written story with interesting characters and observations.

MAGIC: DID I LIKE THE ENDING, WAS IT MAGICAL?

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****BEWARE SPOILERS BELOW *****

Did the ending satisfy or was it a let down? Before I embark on this I just want to touch upon the food references in the book which were really amusing, and therefore it seems appropriate to add them under my magic section! Lincoln’s mother lovingly cooks copious amounts of food, but he is unable to eat it all and shares his food with Doris, an older lady at work. Doris becomes his way to escape his mother’s overbearing love. He willingly shares half of the food, because he wants to grow up, get a life, be an adult. At first, Lincoln’s mother is upset but when she realises how much Doris enjoys her food, she accepts the situation, and Lincoln is now able to move on with his life and become an adult, and find love again. I found this so relatable as my Malaysian mother is a wonderful cook and always makes lots of tasty food!

There seems to be differing opinions on Goodreads about the conclusion, some people found the ending cheesy. But in my opinion the ending works because Lincoln has been hurt, and is longing for love, and falls in love with Beth without even seeing her, via the medium of her emails to her friend. He means no harm, and is guilty about intruding into Beth’s privacy. He is a nice guy. Beth sees Lincoln, is attracted to him, but doesn’t really know him, yet she senses that he has a big enough heart for her. They are suited because they are both equally eccentric as each other and so is the ending! I loved it.

Find out more about Rainbow Rowell at http://www.rainbowrowell.com.

 

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