You Read What? Book Review: Eleanor & Park, Attachments & Fangirl

It’s all about Rainbow Rowell who’s books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in the last few months. Enjoy these compact reviews!

ELEANOR AND PARK

Eleanor & Park

Publisher:  Macmillan. Imprint: St. Martin’s Press. Date Published:  February 26th 2013. Format: Hardcover. Source: Bought. Number of Days It Took to Read: 1 week. The Writing Score: 4 out of 5. Recommendation: Must Read. Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable. Rating:  5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

Review:

This was a great read. I actually read it as part of a read-along with two other bloggers and it was fun to discuss the book as we were reading it. I wasn’t as emotionally moved as many people were when I discuss this book with them but it had a great story that included a real look into poverty as well as first love that I normally saw in high school but not so much in a lot of Young Adult books. Rowell’s greatest strength as a writer is making the little things – holding hands for example – into big milestones for her characters. Both Eleanor and Park grew throughout the book and gave unique perspectives into being teens in the 80s (or outside of them) as someone living in a dangerous home and being the only Asian in your school. It also has amazing geeky references like the X-Men that made me squeal in delight (I don’t use squeal lightly, folks). It’s a book I think everyone should read because of the issues it’s deals with and, as someone who wasn’t alive in the 80s, I can say that the time specific references to that decade didn’t take me out of the story. Despite Eleanor’s blasphemous comment against Batman, I believe this book is a real winner.

ATTACHMENTS

attachments

Publisher:  Penguin Group. Imprint: Dutton Adult. Date Published:   April 14th 2011. Format: Hardcover. Source: Bought. Number of Days It Took to Read: 3. The Writing Score: 4 out of 5. Recommendation: Must Read. Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable. Rating:  5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . “

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

Review:

Oh, Attachments. My love for you is eternal. When this blog first morphed into it’s book review format, most of the books I read was (and is) Young adult.  Not a big surprise since that’s what I read in high school. HOWEVER, I also read as much adult books in high school as YA which I can’t say the same for the last year and a half (give or take). So reading Attachments was like coming home again and what I especially love about it was that our main character, Lincoln, is at this place in his life where he should have a solid career and just have his life in some kind of order that resembles adulthood but he doesn’t. This causes his sister to fret over him and his mother to cuddle him while she still has him at home. I love Lincoln because he’s what a lot of college kids will probably become their first few years out of school or be terrified of becoming. Rowell wrote him as someone you could easily be friends with and you can’t help but worry about him and encourage him throughout the book. Despite the fact that we only get to know Beth and Jennifer though their email exchanges, Rowell uses this to create complex and 3 dimensional characters that we can’t help but fall in love with. The relationships feel authentic and the conflict is real but doesn’t feel like it’s overshadowing the characters. I just don’t know what else to say without descending into incomprehensible giddiness. If you enjoyed her Young Adult novels then you’ll like this book and vice versa.

FANGIRL

fangirl

Publisher:  Macmillan. Imprint: St. Martin’s Press. Date Published:  September 10th 2013. Format: Paperback ARC & Hardcover. Source: From the publisher for an honest review (more specifically from the BookExpo America this past May) and also a bought copy. Number of Days It Took to Read: 4. The Writing Score: 5 out of 5. Recommendation: Must Read. Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable. Rating:  5 out of 5.

Synopsis:

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

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?

Review:

I wrote a review/slash personal essay on The Toast so check that out. I think it’ll explain what thought a lot better than a straight review.

It’s Coming: Superhero Week 2014

Hey Guys,

This past May, I started the first annual Superhero Week to basically showcase superhero fiction which is still a pretty small subgenre in literature. I wanted to have meaningful discussions about the genre and the characters in it. It was awesome time and I had a blast putting it together. I’m a sucker for superheroes and I got amazing guest posts from fellow bloggers/superhero fans.

So why am I bringing up something that happened in the past?

Well, I wanted to announce two things on the blog officially:

  1. Superhero Week is happening again in 2014 and this year it’ll be focused on: SUPERVILLAINS!
  2. Superhero Week 2014: Supervillains will be from April 28th to May 2nd 2014.

I chose supervillains as the focus because it felt like a natural progression to focus on the other side of the superhero coin: the Antagonists. I’ve got some cool posts planned where we talk about who villains are, they’re roles in the superhero narratives, whether good and evil is as black and white as it seems and other fun stuff. My goal is to get you guys thinking and talking.

I chose that specific week because The Amazing Spider-Man is premiering on May 2nd, Captain America 2 would have been out a month already, Free Comic Book Day is on May 3rd and the Toronto Comics Art Festival is the following weekend (May 9-11). So leaving April and heading into May seemed to be a great time to do this.

I’m hoping to have great guest posts on Supervillains and will put out an open call for submissions in the next few months. I’m definitely going to have my 5 spotlight books again because that’s the whole point of the week, right? To showcase awesome superhero lit. I’m hoping to have some author interviews and create fun polls.

Lastly, I’m doing an entire post on Batman’s Rogue Gallery which many (including myself) have said has the best cast of villains in comics but also because 2014 marks the 75th year anniversary of Batman.

So look out for posts on any updates regarding Superhero Week 2014: Supervillains as well as my twitter: @ArdoOmer.

A. A. Omer

 

You Read What? Book Review: The Dream Thieves

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher:  Scholastic Press

Date Published:  September 17th 2013

Format: Hardcover

Source: From the publisher for an honest review

Synopsis:

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…

Number of Days It Took to Read: 1 and 1/2

Cover: 

The Dream Thieves

Gorgeous cover. Love the paint effect.

The Writing Score: 5 out of 5

Recommendation: Must Read

Memorable or Forgettable: Memorable

Rating:  5 out of 5

Review:

Yes Yes YES. I love this book sooooo much and I really just want to gush incoherently for the rest of this review but that wouldn’t be fair to those reading it. So enjoy the coherent review:

After I had finished and fallen head over heels in love with The Raven Boys, I couldn’t imagine how this story could possibly have a decent sequel let alone four books. This series was my first from the author, Maggie Stiefvater, and I realized that she was doing something amazing with it: she’s telling a story. There isn’t any real urgency the way you would come to expect with the dystopians floating around or the action-pack adventures in the Young Adult genre. Every other chapter isn’t plagued with “will they or won’t they”. You do have that nagging question of when Glendower will be revealed to us and those very small cliffhangers like the one at the end of Raven Boys where Ronan professes that Chainsaw was dreamt up but those just tend to drift off into the background. Instead, you want to hear more about the characters that inhabit this world. Blue and The Raven Boys. All participating in Gansey’s quest to find a slumbering King but for different reasons. 

I enjoyed this book because you have a cast of teenagers with a host of unique issues that they must deal with both within the realm of the real and mystical. If Stiefvater isn’t writing about love and it’s consequences then she’s writing about privilege, obsession, morality, life, death, identity and destiny. Escaping into a world is great but if the people that you’re sharing this world with aren’t authentic then it makes the experience fun but without the bone deep camaraderie that certain books evoke from you, it’s just one of the many summer reading flings.

I like to call this book the book of Ronan because despite the multiple points of views given, it’s very much a story that fleshes out his tough exterior and showcases one of the best character trajectories that I’ve seen in some time. This book came to me at a time when reading for fun was becoming increasingly difficult and my reading passport was looking pretty empty. So if I could say one thing about it, I’d say thank you for given me that love again for the 36 hours it took me to read it.

A. A. Omer

The opinions expressed here are mine and readers are welcome to disagree. In fact, I encourage it! I never believed in putting particular books or authors on some sort of universal pedestal but you’re free to put it on your individualized pedestal because I most certainly will.