Before I get to the review, can we just talk about what I love about this author? I mean, is it awful that I'm excited for my daughter to reach an age that's old enough for me to push Rainbow Rowell's books at her. Wondering what I'm talking about? Never fear, I have a list!
Reasons why I love Rainbow Rowell
1. Female characters that are real. They're not perfect. She writes about the heavier girl, and the nerdy girl, and the girl that's painfully socially awkward. On a personal level, Thank you for Cath, Rainbow. You very nearly wrote me. Every nervous tummy ache Cath had, I've been there. Terrified to brave the world, choosing instead to hide in books locked away in her room. Social anxiety has always plagued me, and to read that written so well in your character, it hit close to my heart. So, thank you.
2. Male characters that walk the line of being Men, but without compromising patience and understanding. I'm sure we all love to read those Alpha's who take what they want. The Wrath's 'i'll take you down right here and have you on the sidewalk, and you won't stop me'. It's exciting, and it's a fantasy. In actuality there is something extra special about the man who will look at you and say, "You set the pace and I'll just love you and wait". And that's not a spoiler, because I've read 2 out of the 3 of Rainbow's books and they both had male characters like this. I want my daughter to fall in love with a man like that.
3. Her ability to write such DEEP Deep intense attraction without the characters touching. In both Eleanor & Park and Fangirl some of the scenes that had my heart in my throat contained nothing more than someone reaching out to play with a ribbon, or a sleeve. It's a connection that's forged emotionally, not physically. I ate that shit up.
He reached his fingers back and hooked them inside the cuff of her sweater. "But you still want to give me a chance, right? Not just me, this? Us?"
"Yeah," Cath said, like she was giving in.
"Good." He tugged on her sleeve and smiled down at their not-quite-touching hands. "It's okay if you're crazy," he said softly.
"You don't even know-"
"I don't have to know," he said, "I'm rooting for you."
4. There's no mad rush for the characters to fall in love. There's a really slow progression from friendship to more. You buy it. I've read quite a few YA romance's recently and none of them found this middle ground. Some were too full of angst, and some were too immediate. In addition to that, she didn't drag crap on for eeever. Things happen, and then they're confronted and cleared up in a believable way. Because there's more to her stories than teenage angst. I love it.
These are the reasons you should give this author a chance. I hope they sway you.
Now, onto Fangirl the book
This was the perfect balance of romance and adorable coming of age story. Cath was quirky and cute, and while I personally am not a fanfic reader, I am a huge fan of magic and fantasy. I know about being a fangirl, and I'm (as I said above) exceptionally shy to the same degree Cath is. I understood her.
Her father was so sweet and wonderful. Her sister, Wren, was hard to handle but never because it wasn't believable. The eye rolling was completely about her being a stupid girl, the way of plenty of real life stupid girls.
Cath's man, I just could eat him up. I loved him immediately, upon his first entrance into the book, and it grew larger and larger, by the end I was a full fledged ________ fan.
... see, they don't actually tell you in the blurb who that is, so I'm choosing not to tell you now.
He kept pulling back a little like he was going to say something; then his chin would jut forward again, back into hers.
God, his chin. She wanted to make an honest woman of his chin. She wanted to lock it down.
The last thing I want to mention: Who wants to read Cath's fanfic about Baz and Simon?? I want to read Cath's version more than I want to read GTL's version. (Who sees GTL and their brain goes 'Gym, Tan, Laundry? Me Me!) I want to read how she ends it! Baz and Simon grew on me allllmost as much as Cath and _____. Especially Baz.
Great book by a really awesome author.
"What if I promise not to touch you?"
"Cath laughed. "Now I have zero incentive to come."
"What if I promise to let you touch me first?"
"Are you kidding? I'm the untrustworthy person in this relationship. I'm all hands."
"I've seen no evidence of that, Cath."
"In my head, I'm all hands."
"I want to live in your head."