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Rainbow Rowell - An Author to Check Out this Year - Article by Kathleen, Teen Blogger


Rainbow Rowell-phRainbow Rowell is a name that’s been making the rounds in both critic and book lover circles everywhere. Her first novel, Attachments (which this blogger confesses, with a heavy heart, she has not actually read) was released in 2011. Following that, she wrote two young adult fiction novels, both of which were released in 2013: Eleanor and Park and Fangirl. (Both of which, this blogger has had the pleasure of reading.)

Eleanor and Park tells the story of—you guessed it—Eleanor and Park, two young misfits who manage to find love with each other, despite their seemingly incompatible lives. Meet Park, a sixteen-year-old half-Korean boy with a father who thinks he’s not manly enough and a mother who has high standards for him. Then, meet Eleanor, a girl who, on the surface, seems to be an oddball who can never quite do her hair right and who, as a result, immediately finds herself tormented by the other kids at school. All the while, Eleanor is also facing her own struggles at home. Initially, Eleanor and Park appear to have little in common, however, after inconspicuously reading comic books together, they begin to have conversations and before they know it, they stumble into the kind of teenage love that you feel will last forever. What makes this story different, though, is that the characters are forced to face the limitations of their love, instead of seeing it as lasting forever. 

Fangirl tells the story of—you once again guessed it, clever reader—a fangirl named Cath(er.) She has become one of the fans in the Simon Snow fandom (which, for those who have never been involved in fandom, is an honour bestowed upon very few.) She is the author of an epic, long Simon Snow fanfiction that some fans have come to regard as better than the original books themselves.

Attachments - book coverEleanor and Park-book coverFangirl-book coverCath is heading to college, along with her twin sister, Wren. Wren is at a different stage of life than Cath, having already moved on from fandom long before heading to college. Cath is unwilling to move on and let go.

While at college, Cath finds herself struggling with Wren’s reckless behaviour and with her mother’s sudden reappearance in her life. And, she begins to face the fact that she can’t hold on to fandom forever and that she has to step outside of her comfort zone.

Fangirl is a book full of sharp humour. It manages to make fandoms, which have been looked down upon by the 'real world' in the past, more understandable and allows people to see the way a work of fiction can truly touch a person.

Both of these books fall under YA [Editor's note: Young Adult/Teen], but Rowell’s writing is mature and honest enough that older readers will enjoy her books as well. She is a rare writer who doesn’t sound like an adult trying their best to imitate teenagers, but rather, she is able to make the voices of her characters seem genuine and true to their ages. A common problem in YA books is making the kids overly intelligent and knowledgeable, but Rowell’s characters are realistically intelligent and nothing they say takes you out of the story and makes you think, "this sounds more like Rainbow Rowell talking than Eleanor and Park."

These books are both high in demand right now, but you can put them on hold at your local library. (There are several copies, fortunately, given their popularity.) If you’re only going to be reading one book this year, a book by Rainbow Rowell would be a good one to check out. This is one of those few times when I would encourage you to follow the leader. Or, in this case, follow the book reviewer.

Kathleen

Teen Blogger

 

 

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