This book was, what I’m going to call, a blind book. What I mean is, I went into this one, with no idea about the plot whatsoever. All I knew is it was a romance novel.
Apparently, I’ve decided to kick the year off with romance novels – don’t ask me why cause I don’t know!!! Regardless, I saw that this was a Book of the Month pick in 2018 and I added it to my TBR (because I’ve yet to be truly disappointed by a BoTM selection). Anyway, the point is, I added this to my TBR because of BoTM.
One day, I was browsing Libby to see if there were any books I would be interested in borrowing for downtime at work. Bam! This was at the top of my available books. So I borrowed it.
I was not prepared.
Laurie encounters the love of her life at a bus stop. But… she doesn’t even know his name. She memorizes his face and recounts his looks to her best friend, Sarah. So begins Lu and Sarah’s quest to find the man they’ve dubbed “bus boy”. The duo spends a literal year looking for this man. Sarah claims she has heard enough about bus boy that she’d be able to find him without Lu’s help. How wrong she is.
Thus begins the nearly decade long journey of Lu realizing and then finding her true love over and over again. It’s a roller coaster of emotional turmoil of the best sort. Is it a little soap-y? Totally. But I. Was. Here. For. It.
The entire time I was reading this book, I was laughing and crying and totally enjoying myself. That’s the mark of a good romance novel, in my opinion.
Here’s the thing though. I love a good smutty book. This was not that. It was totally cutesy and adorable and just quintessentially British. I couldn’t help but feel charmed while reading this. Overall a totally enjoyable read and I would recommend it to anyone doubting that home is not a place; it’s a person.
What if the best and worst of everything in your life happened on one specific day of the week? For Grayson and Charlotte, that’s exactly how Tuesdays are. Anything and everything happens to the pair on a Tuesday – aptly titling the novel.
Grayson Connors is the college football player. Likely to be the NFL’s number one draft pick after his graduation from Pitt, everything is looking great for him. There’s just one thing… he doesn’t date. Charlotte Taylor is the perfect student. Set up to go either to art or law school upon her graduation from Pitt, she’s just two courses shy of graduating on time. The only way to make up for her missing credits is to take on a tutoring gig. Her problem comes in the form of one soon-to-be NFL star.
This love story is really fast paced. Altering between past and present day, we get a glimpse into how quickly Charlotte and Grayson fall in love and just how quickly the tides can turn. Considered a second chance romance, Charlotte and Grayson’s love story definitely had my attention from the beginning.
While this is not my first Whitney G romance novel I have to say, it was MUCH tamer than I remember her other novels being. This one is a slow build and doesn’t have naughty scenes ever other page like a lot of Kindle books. While I found Grayson to be an egotistical ass most of the time, he grew on me. Charlotte did not really stand out to me much – I actually find that, as I reflect on these characters, that their personalities are more present that what I can remember of their looks. I actually think I can appreciate this more than if I only remembered how they looked…
What I personally found the most fascinating about this book is the concept of everything happening on one day of the week. I mean, even the main event of this book (a random seven year college reunion) happen on a freakin’ Tuesday. I get that this is a simple reason to be interested in a book, but it’s what kept pushing me through.
Ultimately, the twist about why the relationship fell apart was pretty surprising to me. In hindsight, it shouldn’t have been… but it was and I was thrilled to be wrong! Overall, this book kept me on my toes and consumed my thoughts.
In fact, I’ll be quite honest, I’d never even heard of Abbi Glines before I purchased this novel. I saw it, figured it would fulfill my Friday Night Lights needs, and we’d call it a day.
I was roped into something and I see no means of escape.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships. But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he’s battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.
Two years ago, Maggie Carleton’s life fell apart when her father murdered her mother. And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn’t spoken since. Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn’t draw Maggie back out. So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.
As West’s pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father—so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won’t tell anyone else.
West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn’t control. But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own—or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn’t ever let her go…
Let’s start with the issues (Spoilers Ahead!!)
Okay, straight out the gates, West is NOT like my man Big Tim Riggins (i.e. RIGGO!) as far as I can tell. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what West looks like. He’s, in my mind, a nondescript white boy. Taylor Kitsch could not play him in the straight to TV movie adaptation of this novel. HOWEVER, where Glines lacked in writing a character description, she certainly made up for it in character traits. West is an arrogant, sad boy. He’s really going through it in this novel and, to be frank, I’m not surprised with his measures of lashing out.
Where Glines lacked in character description for West, she made up for it in her development of our other protagonist. I can vividly picture Maggie in my mind. I actually liked her character a lot, which I found surprising. She’s strong and sweet and has been through hell and back, but still survived. I admire that in characters.
Here’s my biggest issue with this book. It’s kinda… instalovey.
I mean, West basically shoves his tongue down Maggie’s throat on their first encounter and, her being mute for the first quarter of the book, she doesn’t stop him. But from her perspective, she doesn’t want to. I get attraction, but this girl literally makes no move to consent – no gesture that she’s okay with their first (her VERY first) kiss whatsoever. I think this sends the wrong message to young readers – the target audience for this book.
On top of this, I cannot condone the first sex scene either. It’s not that I didn’t find it believable; again, I just don’t like the message it sends young girls. For me, it felt like Maggie and West hooking up in his truck was made okay by the fact that he was hurting. However, I will give this much to Glines; in this scene, Maggie actually does give her consent so I can’t hate too much.
So what did I like?
It was not a difficult read. Much like Colleen Hoover’s writing, I found this novel to be un-putdownable. I mean, I did put it down to like, fold laundry and stuff, but it was so interesting. I was invested in the characters and the plot. I liked it enough to stay up late on a Sunday night, KNOWING FULL WELL that Mondays are my nemesis to finish the book.
I also enjoyed the dual POV writing. I don’t normally go for this, but Glines made characters likable enough for me to feel invested in all parties. I wanted to know Maggie’s thoughts as much as I wanted to know what West was thinking. This was a pleasant surprise to me.
I also really liked the plot. It was refreshing to see tragedy dealt with in the manner in which Glines chose. I liked the fresh outtake on having a mute main character. While Tiffany Jackson’s Allegedly discusses the main character being mute, Glines actually shows us the awkwardness of a mute main character. That’s why I consider it fresh. Sure we get her thoughts, but before she actually starts speaking to West, you can feel the tension in the characters who try to communicate with Maggie.
I liked this book. In fact, I’d probably read more of this series (Field Party, this is Book 1). I’d absolutely pick up a Field Party novel on Nash or Brady so Ms. Glines, if you’re reading this… maybe… consider my proposition? 😀
It met my needs for a cutesy contemporary. I liked the writing, but my issues with the book are still weighing heavy on my mind… so…
Let’s take a different course of action this time! I loved the show Friday Night Lights. If you’ve watched it, leave me a comment telling me who your favorite character was. Mine is pretty obvious if you’ve read this post 😉
Or if you haven’t watched the show, leave me a comment telling me your favorite sport! (My favorite is hockey! I’m a Pittsburgh fan!)
I don’t doubt for a second you’ve heard of this book. Nor do I doubt you’ve watched the Netflix series. I’m here today to talk a little about both (mostly the book!).
For August, I decided to randomly generate my TBR. This is the book I was least looking forward to because there’s so much negativity surrounding the content.
There is a lot that I want to say in regards to this book, so let’s get down to it.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.
Hannah’s mental health is never really properly addressed and I have mixed feelings about this aspect of the novel. She never seeks help. Sorry, I can’t consider her going to the English teacher/guidance counselor as seeking help… Her parents never really question what’s going on with her. The mental health aspect of this book did not live up to what I hoped for.
Let me be clear about this. I am NOT saying Hannah NEEDED a diagnosis to justify her actions. The tapes were simply a glimpse into her thoughts that lead up to her actions. Honestly, the reviews stating Hannah had no reason to take her own life make me really angry because YOU, angry reviewers, can’t decide what makes the actions of another person worthy.
So I’m torn because I wish she would have brought her ideations to the attention of someone other than the English teacher/guidance counselor. That man did not have the proper training to intervene with a suicidal teenager. He did not have the proper credentials and that’s the part of this book that makes me so mad.
I understand Hannah was seeking help where she thought she could get help, but it also makes me question her relationship with her parents. My mother was always really perceptive of the mental health of her children, so I wonder what could possibly be more important (sorry, the mall going up wasn’t reason enough for me) than Hannah in her mother’s world.
Basically, I wanted there to be a message in this book that it’s okay to seek treatment and I was disappointed that it was lacking.
I’m going to come right out and say I enjoyed reading this format of story telling. I like the idea of hearing the story through the point of view of the person telling their story, while simultaneously reading another character’s POV. It was interesting and engaging.
The content is another story…
The Main Idea
Look, it’s really hard to do justice for a book that deals with such heavy topics. Am I doing okay so far? I think I am, but I’m also treading really carefully to not anger readers. This is hard.
I saw the main idea of this story not as Hannah’s taking of her own life. Instead, I saw the main idea as treating others with respect or at least being mindful of how we interact with other people. I didn’t like that this was almost a placing blame game, but it certainly has made me more mindful of the ways in which I speak to other people.
I don’t think the author’s main idea for this book centered around placing blame. In fact, I really believe his whole point was to make other people see that the way they treat people can affect them. You don’t get to decide you didn’t hurt someone. That’s what I think Jay Asher was trying to drive home. And I, for one, think he did a hell of a job doing it. I don’t think he could accomplish this without the seriousness that is suicide.
I’m not going to sit here and spout praises for this book. I liked the writing, but the content was disturbing. It’s not as deeply disturbing as the show (good God), but still, it’s there. I would not recommend this to everyone, in particular I wouldn’t recommend this to someone struggling with suicide ideation. Nor would I recommend it to someone who is struggling with depression without help. It’s hard to read, but at the same time, the writing is so goddam captivating I couldn’t stop reading.
One more thing.
I hated the ending. Like, what the fuck.
I thought I was going to have to gift this to the library, but I’m definitely keeping it.
I don’t always like to read books that are as heavy as this. I have a few in my collection though (trying to be a well-rounded home librarian). What are some books you liked that feature heavy content like this? I’m looking at The Way I Used to Be as my next hard to handle book, but I’m open to other options. Share your thoughts in the comments!
Traditionally, I would break my book reviews for a series down into individual reviews because I have thoughts about each book that are long enough in length to warrant individual reviews. In the case of the After series by Anna Todd, my thoughts were TOO MUCH to deep dive into reviews for each (so much so, I wanted to make a video about the series also). [Stay tuned for that shitshow]
In general, this series was probably not for me – but I read it anyway. I guess, if I had to categorize these books, they’d be under my “Love to Hate” category. The thing is, I devoured these books in a hate filled rage, but somehow still managed to enjoy myself while reading them. They’re infuriating, funny, and deeply disturbing all wrapped up in a pretty little “Romance” package.
Below, you can find my brief thoughts on each book in the series. Video will follow.
After (Book 1)
The first book in the After series captivated me. I don’t mean this in a good way. It’s full of manipulation, abuse, and serial rudeness. I kept reading it because, for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on, I was enraptured by the characters. Don’t get me wrong here, I didn’t like anyone in the book, but I was having so much fun laughing at them that I couldn’t stop reading.
I think part of what made this reading experience so fun is the prudishness of the main character. I read this book over the course of a weekend. It’s a pretty hefty book, too.
After We Collided (Book 2)
When I purchased After, I bought it individually. I didn’t think I’d hate enjoy the book so much, but when I ended up NEEDING more, I headed to Amazon and bought the rest of the series (read: NOT Before). In hindsight, I should’ve just bought this one and borrowed the other two books because this when I finished After We Collided, I was done.
I found this one slightly more annoying and slightly less enjoyable, but it was NOTHING compared to the last two books.
After We Fell (Book 3)
While After We Collided could have easily been IT for me (IT being THE END) I decided to further punish myself by reading the third book in the series. At this point, I was so sick of Hardin and Tessa’s back and forth bull shit, I almost gave up. 800 odd pages later I made it through and felt like I gained nothing from the experience other than Tessa’s dad is a fucking dirtbag. Oh, and Hardin has “anxiety” – I try not to judge, but his “anxiety” is covered through rudeness and breaking up with Tessa over the stupidest things.
I was done, but I persisted. It took me over a month to read this book (I actually blame THIS book for why I started reading three books at a time again).
After Ever Happy (Book 4)
After We Fell was a literal nightmare. As I read the first three books, I was annotating through tabs. By the time I reached this book, I flat out gave up. I just wanted to finish because I was sick of the same storyline over and over again. It still took me forever to get through this book (even though it’s the shortest one) and I can’t even explain the joy I felt when I finished.
The thing is, this could have been a good one BUT we literally sped through the rest of Hessa’s life together and I was mad as hell.
Literally, the author built up this entire backstory to speed us through the last book of the series. I hated this one for this fact.
Overall thoughts on the series
Honestly, I’m not mad that I wasted my time, I’m mad that I wasted my money. Alas, now I have to go watch the damn movie….
Did you read this series? Have you seen the movie? Let’s discuss some bullshit down in the comments.
You know whose writing I absolutely love? Riley Sager.
You know whose books I’ll always buy, before even reading the synopsis? Riley Sager.
You know who might very well be my favorite thriller author of all time? You guessed it.
RILEY FRICKIN SAGER.
This man honestly blows me away with his writing. He hooks me. Ropes me in even, and makes it damn near impossible to focus on anything else BUT HIS BOOKS when I have a crapload of school stuff I should be doing.
So yeah, I guess you can say I’m obsessed with this man’s work, but hey. If you love something, you love something.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.
As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly, disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.
Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s dark past and into the secrets kept within its walls. Her discovery that Ingrid is not the first apartment sitter to go missing at the Bartholomew pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.
Alfred Hitchcock meets American Horror Story
Let me shoot it to you straight for a second. This book was basically the equivalent of Alfred Hitchcock directing a season of AHS (pre-Coven, of course). It’s scary and disturbing and everything that I would expect in this season of AHS.
But seriously, it gives off really creepy vibes that I was living for while trying to solve the mystery of the Bartholomew.
Look, one of the main things I go into thrillers looking for is predictability. It was not difficult for me to figure out who was in on the secrets of the Bartholomew. What was hard for me to figure out was exactly what was going on in the building. I couldn’t figure it out and it was a definite surprise to me at the end.
Buuuttt I wish it had ended differently…
Yep. I didn’t like the end of this novel. There were some open storylines that I didn’t like and I definitely didn’t like the weird, boring turn of events AFTER Jules thought she figured out what was up at the Bartholomew. I wish Sager had stuck with what she thought because it would’ve been a much more thrilling closure to an otherwise interesting novel. I’m not mad, just disappointed. 😝
As usual, Sager developed lifelike and believable characters. Not only did he spend time developing Jules, it clearly shows he spent time developing characters who don’t dominate the story (i.e. Chloe). This is yet another reason I love his novels.
I would consider this book very character driven and I liked that. I also enjoyed not really getting physical descriptions of characters. It was much more interesting to see the characters through the eyes of Jules in what they were wearing, rather than build, skin-tone, and eye color (i.e. Leslie Evelyn and her Coach suits). I liked this aspect of the story a lot. And sure, there were some physical descriptions, they just didnt dominate the storyline.
This story didn’t really disappoint me. I enjoyed the ride. Sure there were things I’d change, but it didn’t really take away from my enjoyment of the novel. I wouldn’t say I love it like I love The Last Time I Lied – I still think about this one every day – but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
It doesn’t quite live up to my expectations to get that 5 star, but it was still soooo good. Mr. Sager still sits firmly on his throne as King of Thrillers for me and I will continue to automatically buy every book he publishes.
What books are you most looking forward to in the remaining months of 2019? Have you read any really good thrillers this year?
I especially like books with non-straight narrators or characters, but the selling point for me was not that the main character was bi-sexual. The selling point was the setting.
An amusement park in summer? I can’t think of a more perfect summer reading option than a book set in summer at an amusement park.
I mean, I live pretty close to a pretty large chain amusement park (this is a thing right?) but I grew up near a local amusement park and my days at this park were always some of the best.
Reading this book was almost like vicariously living through a character to live out my high school dream of being able to work at my local amusement parks.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:
* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog. * Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after. * Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick. * And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.
Jennifer Dugan’s sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love–and themselves–in unexpected people and unforgettable places.
Elouise and Seeley
They have the best version of best friendship. I loved Seeley’s character. She’s much more than her wild colored hair and I just loved her sassy, sarcastic attitude.
Elouise was not always my favorite but in all fairness, most leading ladies never are my favorite. There’s always something about the leading ladies in YA novels that makes me want to shake them and say “LOOK BITCH!” Elouise is no exception. She’s incredibly dense, but so lovable. I was rooting for her the whole time, even though I was rooting against what she thought she wanted.
A teensy tiny bit of cliche
There’s a fake relationship in this novel.
If you’ve read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before you know how this goes.
I’ll leave it at that.
Bi Girls Date Girls for Boys Attention?
This is something I’ve read a lot of on Goodreads lately, especially in regards to this book. I don’t see it that way at all though. If Elouise fake-dated someone for the attention of her crush, don’t you think she’d be walking around in all her PDA glory for said attention? Or is that just me? Spoiler alert: that’s totally not the case.
I don’t get some of the internet critics so if you are one, can you enlighten me please?
You all know I love a good debut. This one was decent. Totally a cutesy summer story about love and friendship and it was exactly what I needed when I picked it up.
Overall, I wasn’t disappointed and if Jennifer Dugan writes another book I’d read it. She has a really sweet writing style that I can’t stop thinking about.
This was v cute (my goodreads review lol).
What’s your favorite childhood summertime memory? It doesn’t have to be childhood, but a favorite summertime memory in general.
My favorite summer memory involves a trip to San Diego to visit my bestie when I was about 24. We went to Disneyland on that trip and it was one of the best days of my life.
I fell into a reading slump at the end of my first term of library school. I was stressed about my portfolio – which I’ll be writing about later this week – and worried that I wasn’t good enough to make it through my remaining 5 terms.
This is the vicious cycle my anxiety takes me through. I’m anxious because of school and I’m anxious without school because I’m anxious about grades and new terms and meeting new professors and classmates. It’s endlessly draining.
So when I fall into a slump like this, I always find it best to turn to an author I know I love.
When I discovered Mr. Silvera’s writing, it was not through his debut novel – it was, in fact, through the much raved about They Both Die at the End. I saw it on sale, picked it up, and discovered a new favorite author.
Until recently, Silvera’s other two novels have been sitting on my TBR cart – patiently waiting for my cycle of anxiety to bring me back.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s extraordinary debut confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
Sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto is struggling to find happiness after a family tragedy leaves him reeling. He’s slowly remembering what happiness might feel like this summer with the support of his girlfriend Genevieve, but it’s his new best friend, Thomas, who really gets Aaron to open up about his past and confront his future.
As Thomas and Aaron get closer, Aaron discovers things about himself that threaten to shatter his newfound contentment. A revolutionary memory-alteration procedure, courtesy of the Leteo Institute, might be the way to straighten himself out. But what if it means forgetting who he truly is?
Delayed Flight = More Time to Read
This was one of two books I took on my weekend trip to DC to visit my bestie, her daughter, and her dog. The night I left, my flight was severely delayed. The flight was only two hours, but I was stuck at the airport for an extra hour while I waited for my flight to depart. Weather always takes its toll on my plans when I’m flying, haha.
I decided to make the most of this though. Knowing I wouldn’t get much reading done on the plane because the delay reset my departure for close to sunset in inclement weather, I sat my butt down by my gate and read about 75 pages in one sitting.
Yinz… I was hooked.
You all know I love a good character description, but the thing I love most about Mr. Silvera’s writing is I don’t need to know what the characters look like to feel connected to them. Immediately, I felt a connection to Aaron that I can’t really explain. He’s just so damn likeable.
Even the characters you’re not meant to like (i.e. Brendan, Me-Crazy) are so well developed. The book is really character driven and I love that about Silvera’s writing. The plot is important, but all of his characters drive the plot along so well.
The Tough Stuff
Look, reading books that deal with suicide and depression are really hard for me – I’m sure they are for most people. But when I got to the third part of this book, I had to take a break from reading before I full on wept in front of a full plane of people. This book is heartbreakingly devastating and I couldn’t bring myself to stop reading for very long. Even through the tough parts of this book, I kept wanting a happy ending for Aaron, Gen, and Thomas.
I’m not even exaggerating when I say it was devastating. This seems to be a running theme in Silvera’s writing.
A Mandatory Read
Yes, you read that right. I’m just going to come right out and say it – if I were teaching English today, I would make this book mandatory for sophomores to read. I don’t care if it’s curriculum or not – THIS WOULD be on my summer reading list for my students.
The thing about this is, I don’t care WHO or WHAT you are, this book teaches about acceptance. Not just of people who are different than you, but it teaches you the importance of accepting yourself for WHO YOU ARE and that is something I see a lack of in a lot of YA I’ve read.
But Did I Cry
No. It was close though. Had I been in the comfort of my own home, I would have straight up bawled my eyes out. I don’t think it’s socially acceptable to sob into a paperback on a plane quite yet.
This was another great contemporary. I’m so happy to have finally read it and I can’t wait for the day I can discuss it with my children.
When’s the last time you flew somewhere? Are you as unlucky as me when it comes to flights being delayed? Which of Adam Silvera’s books is your favorite? Leave me a comment so we can chat!
There’s just something about Rainbow Rowell’s writing that makes me so happy. I loved Eleanor and Park (can’t believe we’re getting a movie) and that in itself prompted me to pick up more works from the author.
Fangirl was not high on my list of Rowell books to read though. Fanfiction really isn’t my thing – I’ve read one fanfiction series and cringed hard – so I wasn’t really tempted to pick this up.
But I found a copy of Fangirl for a really good price at Half Price Books and thought “why not?” I couldn’t find any other Rainbow Rowell books while shopping, so I grabbed a copy of this and put it on the backburner for months.
And then I read (and disliked) The Spectacular Now and knew I needed to pick something that would quickly engross me. Fangirl had been sitting in my book cart since I purchased it and something about the cover called out to me.
I finally read it.
Synopsis (from Goodreads)
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?
Levi + Cath
Since Cath’s relationships seem to be a forerunner of this novel, I wanted to talk about Cath and Levi first. From the moment we’re introduced to him, I suspected he would be a love interest. It was not an unexpected surprise that they ended up together to me.
Honestly, I felt like Levi was the perfect love interest for Cath from the moment we met him. He’s sweet and funny and so supportive of Cath. That she would believe he was dating her roommate was really funny to me because I thought it was so obvious he cared for Cath. I really, genuinely, loved Levi.
Cath + Wren
Ugh. Twins? Cool. Named Cather and Wren – WHY?
I didn’t mind the twin thing. Honestly, Cath and Wren might be my favorite twins since the Weasleys. I did mind that Wren was an absolute jerk to Cath for a large portion of the book. I get it, but I’m still mad about it.
Mental Health, Writing Relationships, and More!
As a young woman who has struggled with anxiety her whole life, it made me happy to read a book that centers around mental health – particularly mental health in college aged students. Mainly my anxiety started to manifest when I went away to college – change is especially difficult when managing my anxiety so reading about Cath and her issues with her mental health made her feel incredibly real to me.
Also, what the heck was the deal with Nick? I’m so confused about his character. He was developed and not important enough to get more about him, but I’m curious about why he is the way he is.
Regan was probably my favorite in how she dealt with Cath. Sometimes we all need an abrasive friend to get us out of our shells (Ryan, if you’re reading, you’re that friend!). I loved the dynamic between these two because the friendship seemed so unlikely – in the very best way.
Rainbow Rowell certainly is one of my favorite writers. Something about the way she writes helps the characters feel so real. She leaves me wanting more from the characters and I feel sad when her books are over and I know there’s no sequel. Honestly, I feel like as long as she publishes books, I’ll be over here devouring them. Her writing is so dang compelling to me.
In essence, I loved this. It was sweet, smart, and engaging. Relatable on a level I didn’t expect. Honestly, I am Cath, Cath is me.
I didn’t even mind the snippets of fanfiction…
What’s your favorite Rainbow Rowell book? How about your favorite character from Rowell’s work? Let me know in a comment.
So far my favorite has been Eleanor and Park with Park as my favorite character. Cath is a close second!
Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told. There is.
She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead. She should.
She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance. She will now.
Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.
Retribution has arrived.
Where the hell was Noah?
Hodkin lead us to believe for 95% of the final installment of Mara’s chapter that Noah was dead. I didn’t believe it, and (SPOILER) I was right, but seriously. Where the hell was he? She never really explains to us where he was the whole time – and maybe I’m mad out of turn and that’s the whole point of The Shaw Confessions – but seriously if that’s the case how is him being missing for Mara’s last book going to be drawn out into another trilogy?
I’m mad because I actually like Noah and I wanted to get more of his character to really hone my opinion of him! I get that this was necessary, but like, let a girl know WHAT he is doing while he is missing and HOW he ended up being missing in the first place. Like who took him? Does he remember anything?
Weird boning scenes
The sexual relationship between Noah and Mara built up over two books (Books 1 and 2 obviously) and then she finds him and we get a weird, weird bunch of scenes where they’re describing their encounter through colors. I hated it. It was just super weird.
Also, Daniel was in the house with their inconsiderate selves. Rude.
It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t a thrilling conclusion. I wasn’t even that busy while reading this and I still took more than a week to finish this. I was bored for most of it because my favorite character was MIA for most of the book. I like Mara, but she wasn’t as interesting to me as Noah. It was just really hard for me to get through this one. Ultimately, I would read more by Michelle Hodkin though because the concept behind this story is actually something that interests me.
On another note, I liked the flashbacks Mara had. They were almost more interesting than Mara running around trying to kill people with her mind. It was interesting to read about her grandmother, but I am still a little confused. Was Mara’s grandmother’s name actually Mara or is this just her chosen name? If her name wasn’t actually Mara isn’t it weird that Mara’s name became Mara? I don’t know what this was all about, but some ‘splaining would be great!
This was my least favorite in the trilogy. A SHOCKING TWIST. I liked this, but it wasn’t a good enough ending for Mara (despite my weird love/hate relationship with the character).
How do you feel about Noah? I understand he’s not perfect, but I honestly think he’s great. Maybe not the best boyfriend material, but I’d definitely befriend him. Leave me a comment letting me know what you think about Noah (or just the Mara Dyer trilogy in general).