Rainbow Rowell deserves her very own post. She rocks, her blog is cool, and I love that she writes all her stories taking place in or around Omaha. I have secretly always wanted to go there since the counting crows sang about it. If you have ever talked on a landline, made a mix tape for someone you love, or wondered if anyone would love you for who you really are, you will love Rainbow Rowell. Honestly if you have any ounce of heart you will find one of her books moving, touching, and worth every minute. If you don’t, I am sorry you are not my people.
I am so impressed with her because she writes powerful characters in every book, but they are all different, wonderful, and unique. There are books that I have loved and then waited impatiently for their next novel, but when it finally came it was a dud, forced, or contrived or uninspired. Now, to give grace to those authors, some writers have only one great book in them, and that is fine. Some authors write inspired by an event in their lives and when they try to write outside of that realm, it just doesn’t work. This is precisely why I find her so impressive. Each novel has her stamp, is written from her heart and has a large piece of her, but each character is new, fresh, and like finding a kindred friend.
Here is a link to her blog: http://rainbowrowell.com/blog/
Here are my thoughts on all her books. I binge read for a couple weekends, it was time well spent.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
I breathed an audible sigh of contentment upon finishing Eleanor and Park. Rainbow Rowell can write a teenage love story like no other. The backdrop of the 80’s is captured with perfect clarity through every character. My nostalgia for the 80’s runs deep, and this book made me swoon. Eleanor is new to school and has to navigate high school being chubby, odd, poor, and with the weight of the world on her shoulders. Park is different, intuitive, and battling through his own adolescence through music and comic books. Eleanor ends up sitting in his seat on the school bus, the first of her many social landmines she has to tip toe through at her new school. Eleanor and Park come from very different worlds, but find each other at the best moment in time. Their bridge of friendship begins over mix tapes and comic books. Eleanor’s struggles are serious and hard to read at times, but Rowell never moves to gritty or disturbing, just gut wrenchingly honest. If you ever got teased in gym class, dodged a bully in the halls, or just didn’t fit in, you will relate to these very well written characters. The love story is sweet, written with the sharpest most engaging dialogue I have read in quite a while. Few can capture the essence of someone through their words as clearly as Rainbow Rowell can. This is a teenage love story for all ages. If you are into that thing.
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Eleanor & Park
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl was a slower starter, but did not disappoint. I had never read fan fiction, and did not really know what it was. After some internet education I can appreciate its place in the reading world. The characters in Fangirl are once again fantastic, and written only as Rowell can. The story begins with twins Cath and Wren leaving their single parent father behind and going to college. They are both intense followers of a series of fiction books for children/pre-teens full of magic and spells. (Think Harry Potter parallel) They write fan ficiton online continuing the stories, which is interlaced into the novel. This book brought up so many reminiscent feelings of college, exciting new beginnings, but holding onto old comforts. I felt a kinship with Cath and her heartfelt loyalty to her family, her online fan fiction followers, and to her true self. Cath is not willing to change for anyone, but at some point that begins to hinder her. She has to choose where to bend and open up for the sake of her heart. I loved the setting of a part rural, part city college campus in Omaha. The two men in Cath’s life, Nick and Levi open her up to new experiences, some turn painful, but some are the sweetest bits of nectar you get to taste in life. By the end, I was attached to the characters and was sad to read the last page. If I ever chose to write fan-fiction, I think I might start with Fangirl.
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Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The protagonist of this story has the best name of anyone you will ever encounter, Georgie McCool. Her marriage is shaky, her career is hopefully finally taking off, and then comes Christmas. Georgie has to work and chooses not to go visit extended family with her husband and daughters. She is left disconnected, alone, with only a landline to feebly attempt to contact her husband. I loved the way this book sort of traveled through time and space while Georgie tries to understand where her relationship has been and where it is going. She relives their life together in her mind, analyzing, reliving, and knowing truly how much she has to lose. Rainbow Rowell is a master at snappy dialogue, inner turmoil, and books that make you feel deeply with the characters. You will miss the way the book made you feel when the last page comes to an end.
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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
This was one of the first reviews I wrote, so I didn’t change it at all even thought it is redundant. It is sentimental to me.
If you have not yet discovered the delightful Rainbow Rowell, you are in for a treat. This is a novel told primarily through company emails. Rowell is a master at quick, smart dialogue. The lives of a night internet security worker, and daytime employees connect through secret email reading without meeting face to face. Lincoln, the main character is hired at night to ensure the employees are following standard procedures. He reads through emails and checks on employees computer activity. Situations get awkward when Lincoln starts to fall for a woman through her email prose. The voices in the novel are witty, crass, and unbelievably awesome. You will adore the banter between the characters and the odd love story that unfolds. I wish there were more books like hers. Wonderful, wonderful read.
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Attachments: A Novel