2013 was the year of Rainbow Rowell. She was endorsed by John Green in the New York Times Book Review, this quote from Eleanor & Park is blowing up Pinterest boards everywhere, and a high school library here in Minnesota caused a controversy when they tried to ban E&P (the book and I are on nickname basis) from their shelves for its "227 uses of of profanity or using the Lord's name in vain." (Fun fact: Michele Bachman graduated from that high school. This explains a lot, right?)
I jumped on the Rainbow Rowell bandwagon as soon as I could. Eleanor & Park was one of my favorite books of last year, and while it's too soon to tell whether Fangirl will make it to 2014's list, I definitely enjoyed it.
(But I have to say I found myself missing Eleanor and Park and their school bus relationship.)
The gist: Cath, a snarky introvert and writer of the internet's most popular Simon Snow fan fiction, goes away to college and learns that maybe - just maybe -- there's more to life than Simon Snow.
Simon Snow is clearly supposed to be Harry Potter, and as the one singular person in the world who just couldn't get into Harry Potter, I thought I would maybe not be into this book. And while there were excerpts from Cath's fanfic that I didn't really pay attention to, you don't need to be a Harry Potter fan in any way to really get Cath. And if you are a fan, well, you'll probably like it even more.
One thing that annoyed me about this book: the "intimate" scenes. Cath is into... biting chins? I didn't get it.
1. There's this part in Fangirl, this totally insignificant question asked by one of the main characters, that comes out of nowhere and changes everything about the world these characters live in. It was so clever and unexpected and completely unimportant, but I think it might have been my favorite part.
2. I learned something super important from this book: an aerie is an eagle's nest. Doesn't the world of teen underwear just make SO much more sense now? (Confession: I say "teen" underwear but 80% of my underwear is from Aerie.)
3. Another thing I loved -- and am stealing -- was Cath and her twin sister's way of dealing with stress. One of them hops on the bed and pulls an imaginary lever, yelling "EMERGENCY KANYE PARTY". The other twin runs to the laptop, pulls up a Kanye playlist, and they dance their cares away. What a genius idea.
4. This is the fourth book I've listened to narrated by Rebecca Lowman, and I think she does these Rainbow Rowell characters perfectly. I saw on Twitter yesterday that she'll be narrating Rowell's upcoming book Landlines too.
Up next: Young adult fiction is so hot right now. Here's what I want to read: