Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (review) // college, fanfiction, and the #nerdlife

16068905From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & ParkA 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?

Fangirl has been on my TBR for eons, and I’m sure I had been avoiding it due to my dislike for Eleanor And Park (one of the few books I had DNF’d and never picked back up). Fortunately, I came to my senses and grabbed Fangirl after years of hesitation, and for the most part, it payed off.

Rowell introduced all the characters so nonchalantly yet all of them made a strong enough impression to not fade into the background like some side characters tend to do. Cath was a great protagonist — likable, realistic, but also flawed and pretty annoying at parts. Her struggle with anxiety and adjusting to a new environment was so subtly expressed. I also adored the relationship between Cath, Wren, and their father. So full of love and concern but also realistic enough to depict all of their disagreements and ups and downs. The supporting characters — Levi, Reagan, Nick, etc. took some time to warm up to (some I still haven’t warmed up to), because they acted like plot devices at times simply to further Cath’s character development, but I did enjoy their presence in the story.

I loved where the story was going the first half. It was very carefully yet strongly plotted, and the themes of growing up and finding your identity were very, very relatable. I’m heading off to college this fall so exploring the atmosphere of a dorm room, dining halls, and overall college craziness was quite a visceral yet unpredictable experience, one I enjoyed actually. I loved the relationship between Levi and Cath at this point, and the tension between Cath and Wren was practically palpable. Cath’s dedication toward the Simon Snow fandom and her fanfiction was also nicely expressed, and I loved reading about her struggle to balance it with her duties as a college student and future fiction-writer.

Unfortunately, the plot totally fell off for me when the second half began. Cath’s relationship with her family, her writing journey, and her struggle with creating and maintaining certain relationships were all equally explored. And don’t get me wrong, it was all well done, but I didn’t find it as interesting as the first half. Levi and Cath’s relationship was a large reason for this; it felt a little blase and didn’t really seem to bring out anything particularly surprising in Cath. I called it out from the start and the progression of their romance was rather predictable and unchallenged.

My opinions on the second half didn’t stop me from enjoying the essence of Fangirl, however. It didn’t go the way I wanted it to go in the end, but everyone can relate to the themes of growing up and breaking out of that shell. In this case, the shell is the #nerdlife. Which we can all totally relate to, right? Haha, but I would definitely recommend this to any young person out there, Rainbow Rowell fans or not.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks for reading, guys! What did you think of this review? Have you read Fangirl? Let me know in the comments 🙂

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Books, Reviews, YA Fiction

WWW Wednesday #14

WWW Wednesday (2)WWW Wednesday is a weekly event where you share (1) What you’re currently reading, (2) What you recently finished reading, and (3) What you think you’ll read next. Originally hosted Taking On A World Of Words.

Hey guys! I didn’t do a WWW Wednesday last week, because, er… I hadn’t made any progress in my reading. Well, that’s definitely all fixed now. Let’s get into this post!

What are you currently reading?

23272028The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

I’ve been meaning to read this for the longest time and so far, so good! I’m already liking the chemistry between Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes, let’s hope the murder mystery is just as great.

What have you recently finished reading?

16068905From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & ParkA 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?

I have pretty mixed feelings about this book as a whole, but I did love the first half of the novel even if the second half was underwhelming. Cath was a very relatable, flawed character and the coming-of-age themes were very realistically incorporated (until the latter half, we’ll get to that later). You guys can look out for my review coming soon!

And…

25486998Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

It’s been eons since I’ve read another Kasie West book, and this was a very light, fluffy, easy read. Unfortunately, it didn’t contain much depth at all (which I expected) but made for a good distraction.

What will you be reading next?

8755776The New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments continues—and so do the thrills and danger for Jace, Clary, and Simon.

What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

I had planned on catching up on this series, but I’d forgotten about finishing TMI after re-reading The Infernal Devices. Understandable, one does need a good amount of recovery time after the epilogue of Clockwork Princess, but it’s time to get back to the OG crew!

Thanks for viewing, guys! What are you guys currently reading and what do you plan on reading next? Leave me a comment below! 🙂

Books, New Releases, YA Fiction

Anticipated releases: April 2018

What’s up, guys? I can freely admit I’ve been a terrible person in March, I only posted one review other than the usual WWW Wednesdays, but I promise I’ll try harder in April. It’s safe to say that with these exciting new releases, there will never be a dull moment in my reading schedule.

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Release date: April 10th, 2018

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite a while! I’ve seen some comparisons to Six Of Crows on Goodreads, and I can definitely see that, but I won’t let it affect my judgment on it (mostly because Six Of Crows is a masterpiece that will probably never be matched).

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Release date: April 10th, 2018

The New York Times Bestselling duo behind Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily return with twins out to throw the party of a lifetime–or at least the best party of high school!

Siblings Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing parties for their friends–and now they’ve prepared their final blowout, just before graduation.

The rules are simple: each twin gets to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn’t know who’s coming until the partiers show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right, as well…in rather surprising ways.

I have problems with pretentious, know-it-all John Green-esque characters, and judging by the Goodreads reviews, this book happens to have … just that. But, but! I’m still holding out for this one because I happened to like a previous Cohn-Levithan collaboration, The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily. Plus, stories that take place in one night are quite intriguing, in movies or books or anything.

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35883428Release date: April 17th, 2018

1780. Albany, New York.

As the war for American Independence carries on, two newlyweds are settling into their new adventure: marriage. But the honeymoon’s over, and Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler are learning firsthand just how tricky wedded life can be. Alex is still General George Washington’s right-hand man and his attention these days is nothing if not divided–much like the colonies’ interests as the end of the Revolution draws near. Alex & Eliza’s relationship is tested further by lingering jealousies and family drama.

Alex and Eliza was such a sweet story that ended so succinctly that I almost feel as though a sequel is unnecessary. But I’ll be damned if I don’t come back for more Alex and Eliza. Honestly, I’m scared for my babies! They’re going to be separated for most of this novel and that broken heart on the cover isn’t doing me any favors.

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31180248Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Words can’t express how hyped I am for this release! I loved Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (even though I still haven’t seen the movie yet… don’t hate me!) and while Leah wasn’t totally on my radar before, I so want to know more about her.

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Thanks for viewing, guys! What April releases are you most hyped for? Let me know in the comments below 🙂