This week Victoria Shayne shares more of her love of YA with a Rainbow Rowell double review special!
“I’m just really active in the fandom.”
“What the fuck is ‘the fandom’?”
Okay, show of hands, who reads fanfic? I figured as much. When you grow up with the Internet like most of us (“us” being Young Adults or New Adults—to keep it kosher), it’s all too easy to run into fanfiction when you search up your favorite series. My thirteen year old cousin is obsessed with The Hobbit fanfic—and I know she’ll kill me for sharing this fun-fact with you.
But that just leads me into Fangirl; Cather Avery is a freshman at college and the girl is in the fandom. If you don’t know what “the fandom” means then you’ve a) never been mega-supper obsessed with a book/movie/TV series, b) you actually have a life and probably prefer real life to fictional ones. Don’t believe me on how serious it is to be a book nerd? Check out Fangirl.
Along the way we grow attached to Cath because we can most definitely relate to her love of Simon Snow (a Harry Potter parallel of sorts) and the craze that comes with being in the fandom. But it’s more than that. It’s her introverted personality, her love for her manic father, her dependence on her twin sister, her snarky defensive retorts, and, above all, it’s her growth throughout the novel that really grabs us by the heartstrings.
A truly gripping plot that any college freshman can connect with (aside from the fanfic). Though I wouldn’t call this a light read, (as it has 400+ pages and covers some serious subject-matter) I would classify it as a wonderful Summer and/or Spring read considering a main theme is growth and “starting something new.”
Eleanor & Park
“He tried to remember how this had happened—how she
went from someone he’d never met to the only one who mattered.”
This review is perhaps the hardest I’ve ever had the pleasure of writing . . . I want to give the novel the praise it so rightly deserves, but let’s be realistic—I can’t. It’s simply impossible to write an adequate review of Eleanor & Park. The novel is too powerful, too relatable, too . . . extraordinary for me to put into words. But you can bet your ass that I’m going to try.
Do you remember your first love? I don’t mean the helpless crush you had in high school, I mean the first time you met someone who set your world on fire, who you owe every single tear you shed, who you thought you’d never be able to live without? Yes, that first love. It was awkward and new and terrifying. Eleanor & Park takes you every step of the way, giving you happy—and sometimes very sad—flashbacks to your first love.
The setting is 1986, Omaha, Nebraska and Park has the school bus seat all to himself . . . until the new girl desperately needs a place to sit because she different and weird and the mean kids at the back of the bus are calling her all kinds of cruel names. And Park . . . well, Park scoots over so there’s room for her. This is how it happened. Neither one of them ever thought they could find someone like the other—they were a match but it scared Eleanor and it made Park crazy. Eleanor found solace and Park became himself. Eleanor who wasn’t sweet and Park who wanted to wear eyeliner.
Eleanor & Park grabs you by the feels almost instantly and never lets go. A remarkable story about two misfits who never saw it coming and never wanted it to end.