Monday, December 22, 2014

Fangirl | Book Review

Title: Fangirl 
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Series: N/A
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 434 (Hardcover)
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.20/5
My Rating: 4/5

Cath and Wren are identical twins. They do everything together, that is, until they went to college. Wren decides she wants to become independent - meet boys, go to parties, get drunk - all activities Cath doesn't enjoy. Cath is shy, has social anxiety, and writes fan fiction. Without Wren, she's lost. Completely out of her comfort zone, she doesn't know if she'll be able to survive college on her own.

This was such a fun and relatable book! I love Rowell's characterization and how she describes people. Instead of saying something like "he was tall and lanky" she writes something unusual and abstract but still makes complete sense. As strange as this sounds, when I like a book I physically feel something in my chest (what, I don't know), and this book did the trick.

The main reason I enjoyed this book so much was because of the relatability. Cath suffers with social anxiety, something I experience as well. There were many moments in the book where I was Cath. She said things I've said and did things I've done in order to get out of social situations. While her reluctance to do anything social was a bit more extreme compared to me (she did everything she possibly could to make herself exempt from social situations whereas I at least try occasionally to be social), the relatability was immense.

Now while I did enjoy this book a lot, I had quite a few quams with it:

1. The characters. I felt all the characters, minus Cath, lacked dimension and, well, character. All of the characters (Levi, Nick, Laura, Reagan, etc.) did have their own unique personalities, however, they could have been fleshed out more. A few of the characters, especially Nick and Laura, seemed to be there only to add a little bit of conflict. They didn't really further the plot or help instigate character development. Also, Levi. He's the "perfect" guy. What could be wrong with him? That's precisely the problem. No person in real life is that perfect. People are flawed, broken, or at least have problems of some sort not revolving around the love of their life. Levi's perfectness didn't do it for me. I would have preferred a more rounded, flawed, character.

2. The length. The book was too long. I mean, a 400 page contemporary? Some of the plot lines felt stretched and could have been scratched out completely.

3. The fan fiction. While an avid reader and lover of fan fiction, the Simon Snow excerpts and fan fiction just didn't cut it for me. When I read a fan fiction, I have already created a strong connection with the characters and want to know more about them. Not having read the fictional Simon Snow series, I couldn't do that. I didn't feel anything for the characters so the excerpts and fics bored me to the point where I didn't even read them after a while.

4. The ending. It wasn't satisfying to me. It felt too abrupt and cheesy. It left quite a few loose ends, for example, what happens with Laura and with Carry On?

Despite the many problems I had with it, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, quirky, and a good read overall. I don't think everyone would enjoy it but I definitely recommend at least trying Fangirl out before giving judgement. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just Listen Book Review


Recently I've been on a contemporary romance kick and wanted to share my thoughts on a book I just read.

Just Listen follows Annabel Green, the "perfect" girl. She struggles to keep her life intact with modeling, a fallout with her best friend, and her sister's eating disorder. She retreats into herself and becomes isolated, that is, until she meet Owen. She learns to be honest and speak up for herself as she fights to be more confident.

This was such a fun and interesting read! I love how Sarah Dessen isn't afraid to address heavier issues such as rape/sexual assault, eating disorders, bullying, etc. I was definitely not expecting the book to be something like this. My favorite part about this book was the honesty. Dessen didn't skimp out on the character development and no one just suddenly become "fixed". She took a lot of time to make sure the growth was reasonable and made sense. The characters were so complex and wonderful. No one was just a stereotype, they all had their own specific personalities and character growth. Overall, this was a great read and I highly recommend it.

Until Next Time,

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Summer I Turned Pretty Book Review

Belly has spent every summer at Cousins with her mom and her brother, and with her mom's best friend and her two sons, Jeremiah and Conrad. Belly has been in love with Conrad since she was ten, but this summer things change. The boys finally start to notice her, but she becomes conflicted on who she loves and what she wants.

This was such a fun and quick read! I really enjoyed how this book was organized. It shows Belly's past summers and her present one. I felt I got to know Belly so much better through those glimpses of the past. I was expecting this to be a stereotypical, fluffly contemporary, but it was so much more. While there is the typical angst and miscommunication in the novel, there are also some deeper undertones that lead toward a bigger picture. The characters were also wonderful. They were flawed and made so human. Belly was very relatable. She was kind, smart, immature and just plain silly sometimes. Jenny Han captured what a teenager is like perfectly. Reading, I thought I knew the characters but towards the end I realized how complex they all really are. I cannot wait to read the next one!