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Give It A Go: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Hi there!

Today is the last day of school! WHAT! WHAT!

With that said, it is a little odd that today I’m reviewing a book that is all about the start of school! OOPS!

BookTasty is generally a blog for Young Adult and Middle Grades fiction. Once in a while, however, I read a New Adult book.

If you’re not familiar with the New Adult genre, you should know that NA is, “typically, a novel is considered NA if it encompasses the transition between adolescence (a life stage often depicted in Young Adult fiction) and true adulthood. In NA, “protagonists generally fall between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six, though exceptions may apply. NA characters are often portrayed experiencing: college, living away from home for the first time, military deployment, apprenticeships, a first steady job, a first serious relationship, etc.” (NA Alley)

It’s not my favorite genre out there, since I prefer YA and MG, but I’d been hearing good things about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (and the cover is so perfect!) so I figured I’d give it a go!

———————

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

Fangirl by Rainbow RowellBut 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?

———————

At first, it was a little weird for me to be reading about characters who are in college! But even though it was totally different from my usual I think that Fangirl is a really good introduction to the NA genre because at it’s heart, Fangirl is a story about learning how to deal with change. All of Cath’s Simon Snow fandom obsession is simply a symbol of Cath’s inability to deal with change on a major scale. Ever since her mother unexpectedly left, Cath has been in a way stunted emotionally. She clings to what she knows as if she’d literally stop breathing if she let go, which is why Cath’s first year in college is so challenging for her.

As a main character Cath is lovable and heartbreaking at the same time. I really think Cath is someone I’d want as a friend, however, as someone who is pretty independent I did struggle with her at times. I got easily frustrated with how she was so uncertain and scared of doing things on her own, like figure out how to navigate the dorm dining hall (she didn’t eat a real meal for weeks). But once the cause of this fear of change began to be made known to me, it clicked somewhere in my mind and my heart started to hurt for Cath.

I think it was the same for Cath’s roommate Reagan (whom I totally love). Reagan becomes not only a good friend to Cath, but in the end, becomes a sort of older sister to her as well. They’re relationship is just so real and it’s the kind of thing that makes you think, “That. That right there is what friendship is all about.” Reagan comes alongside a hurting and fearful Cath, holds her hand, and helps her start climbing those difficult steps. And Levi. I adore Levi as a romantic interest for multiple reasons, but mostly because he owns up to mistakes and is an incredibly loyal friend to Cath. He sees her “crazy” and doesn’t run away, but instead encourages her, like Reagan does, to get out of the fog. There is a very sweet romance here.

What is also really cool about this book is the snippets we get from both the original Simon Snow books and from Cath’s Simon Snow fan fiction. It’s interesting to think of fiction within fiction and these snippets often mirrored what was going on in Cath’s life. We saw similarities between Cath’s struggles and Simon’s stories without it being too obvious that they’re mean to support one another.

In addition to being a book about change, Fangirl is also so much more. Rowell delivers a story that is deep and not superficial. Her characters are also figuring out family, love, friendships, sisterhood, mental illness and college. And although NA is not my preferred genre, I found that if more of it was as thoughtful as this book is, I’d probably enjoy it more. With that said, if you’re interested in reading NA, but don’t know were to start, I recommend Fangirl as a strong introduction to the genre.

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Griffin (September 10, 2013)

Format: Audiobook (Listening Library)

Length: 12 hours and 48 minutes

Narrator(s): Rebecca Lowman and Maxwell Caufield

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: New Adult (NA)

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Waiting on Wednesday: All Four Stars

Welcome back friends!

I am a middle school librarian, but reading YA is my fave.  So, sometimes I have to remind myself to read some middle grades books. It’s not that I don’t enjoy middle grades fiction, I do, I’m just naturally drawn to YA more. Well, when I heard about Tara Dairman’s All Four Stars I didn’t have to remind myself to read middle grades, I really wanted to read it! All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper–she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d’.

Isn’t that the most adorable cover?! I love it! All Four Stars sounds like such a unique middle grade read too, I mean it’s not often you see a middle grade’s character writing foodie reviews. I have some foodie students who would totally be into this one!

All Four Stars will be released on July 10!

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Melissa de la Cruz

Hi there!

Want to know where you can see 50 totally awesome YA authors in one place?

At YALL Fest in Charleston, SC on Saturday November 9th! I’ll be there to see authors like Shannon Hale, Rae Carson, Kami Garcia, Heather Brewer and a bunch more including the star of today’s author interview, Melissa de la Cruz!

Melissa de la CruzMelissa de la Cruz is the author of the Blue Bloods series, The Witches of East End and a ton of other books that I didn’t know were written by her (seriously check out her goodreads page!) Additionally, a TV adaptation of her book The Witches of East End debuts Sunday on Lifetime…pretty stinkin’ cool!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Fear. Sometimes rage. I find that to truly focus I need to feel panic, and then suddenly everything in my manuscript becomes clear. I work best under duress, which is something my editors have learned and they’re quite good at instilling fear in me. J I appreciate that! I also work well with many distractions, I think it’s because I had a day job for nine years and had to write my books in the middle of doing my real work.

Describe your book in 5 words

Post-apocalyptic. Zombie. Dragon. Pirate. Fantasy.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

The first, definitely.

Best writing tip you ever received?

To introduce the love interest in the first 30 pages, not that specifically but learning that there was CRAFTING involved in writing a novel, not just voice.

What one young adult novel you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?

Harry Potter. Because! I don’t think I have to explain.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

1. I was a child model.

2. My favorite One Direction guy was Harry, but now it is Louis.

3. I have a Maltese named Mimi. She is not named for Mimi Force, our kid named her.

4. I learned to drive at 34.

5. I like savory treats better than sweet.

Where’s your favorite place to write?

In a cubicle, surrounded by softly ringing phones and people murmuring. Sadly this is no longer possible for me.

What are you working on now?

My new series THE RING AND THE CROWN coming next spring from Disney-Hyperion.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

YA Fantasy and Paranormal. My favorite genre to read is “literary” fiction, but I would have to say I really enjoy bestsellers just as much, I like popular fiction, no matter what genre, I like to read what a lot of people are reading and take the pulse of the culture. But for my own taste, I love smart angry women writers like Lionel Shriver and Kate Christensen.  Also cookbook memoirs.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

When we’ve sold it!

Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz The Witches of East End by Melissa de la Cruz

Yay! Melissa de la Cruz is a One Direction fan! I just went on an overnight field trip with 47 6th grade girls and we spent a surprising (or maybe not so surprising) about of cabin time paging through teen magazines and discussing the attractive merits of each member of the group. I think my favorite is Liam. I am also 30.

Well, if you’re a fan of Melissa de la Cruz you should come to YALL Fest and see her! I’ll be there with my copy of Blue Bloods ready to be signed!

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Kami Garcia

Well hello again!

Welcome back and happy Monday!

It’s time to spotlight another awesome YA author who will be making an appearance at YALL Fest in November!

Today’s interview is with Kami Garcia, co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series and Unbreakable which will release on October 1 and is part of her first solo series. I really enjoyed Beautiful Creatures and the Kami Garciamovie was really fun (My Husband even liked it!) so I’m definitely looking forward to having a chance to meet Kami Garcia in November! So, let’s learn a little more about her!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

I need three things: my laptop, my headphones, and Diet Coke.

Describe your book in 5 words

Paranormal. Ghost-hunting. Intense. Romance. Secret Societies.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

1. I don’t know how to ride a bike. 2. I used to be an artist (a painter). 3. I won’t fly without my huge charm necklace that I believe will keep the plane from crashing. 4. I believe in ghosts. 5. Every time I write a book, I worry that everyone will hate it.

What are you working on now?

I am working on the second book in the Legion Series, the sequel to Unbreakable. Like Unbreakable, the sequel is very intense and has plenty of paranormal elements. But I think it’s even more romantic and surprising than the first book.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

My favorite genre to write is definitely urban fantasy/paranormal romance. I love to read paranormal, but I am also a huge fan of horror, crime fiction, high fantasy, and science fiction.

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia  Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I think it’s pretty refreshing to hear someone admit that they’re nervous about putting their work out there for the public to see. It makes sense that authors would worry about everyone hating that piece of art that they poured their time and heart into. It seems like a very vulnerable thing to do and I like that she shared that.

If you’re a YA book lover like me and are in the area, you should come to this year’s YALL Fest in Charleston, SC on Saturday November 9th. I’ll be there and we can fangirl over the authors, like Kami Garcia together!

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Ransom Riggs

Hi there!

Want to hear something awesome and scary all at once? Sure you do!

Tomorrow I’m going on an overnight school field trip with about 50 6th graders! AHHHH!

I know…things will most likely be interesting but in my entire 7 years of education I’ve never Ransom Riggschaperoned an overnight field trip so I’m super excited to see what it’s like!

Today we’re celebrating the upcoming YALL Fest in Charleston on November 9th! Around here we celebrate YALL Fest with an author interview! YAY!  Today’s author is Ransom Riggs (I just love his name), author of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! So let’s learn some things about “Mr. Awesome Name Ransom Riggs“!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?

Silence. My noise-cancelling headphones have become almost essential.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?

The first. I rewrite and rewrite it a million times. The last comes easy.

Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.

I’m six foot four. I lived on a working farm until I was five. I used to know how to cook Indian food but now I’ve forgotten. I love documentaries. One day I will conquer the moon.

Miss PEregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs What are you working on now?

A novel for Little, Brown the plot of which is SECRET! (Sort of, for now. But I’m really excited about it.)

 What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

Oh, definitely YA to write in. I read everything, lots of YA, lots of adult, nonfiction of all sorts. I even read poetry when I’m feeling ambitious. I think it’s crucial to have lots of different influences. If you only read in the genre you write in, your writing will sound like everything else that’s already out there.

If you don’t have plans to go to this year’s YALL Fest to see Ransom Riggs and 50 other amazing Young Adult authors than you should. It sounds like its going to be very cool!

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YALL Fest Author Interview: Rainbow Rowell

Happy Monday everyone!

I had a fun weekend at my church’s Women’s Retreat in Asheville!  The mountains were gorgeous even though it did rain all day Saturday. It’s just nice being so close to the mountains.

Rainbow RowellWe’re getting closer and closer to YALL Fest on November 9th! I haven’t been to Charleston yet either, so this will be a weekend of firsts for me!

Today’s we interview Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl! I haven’t read either books yet, but I do actually own both and am planning to get them in before YALL Fest. I continue to hear nothing but positive reviews for both books so I’m definitely looking forward to reading them.

So, let’s learn a little more about Rainbow Rowell!

What one thing do you need to have when you write?
Lip balm.

Describe your book in 5 words.
FANGIRL
Earnest, snowy, swoony, minty, bookish.

What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
THE FIRST! The whole first page is a nightmare. I want people to just skip it. And I always end up rewriting it.

Best writing tip you ever received?

“Just finish your book.”

What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt. I think it would have made me feel less alone.

Where’s your favorite place to write?
At coffee shops. In giant overstuffed chairs.

What are you working on now?

I’m revising my adult novel, Landline, which comes out in spring 2014, and playing with a romantic/political/tragicomic fantasy.

What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

I write mostly contemporary. I read mostly fantasy.

At what point in the development of an idea do you know that it will become a full-length novel?

All of my ideas are full-length novels. I have a hard time narrowing my scope.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell   Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Aren’t the covers to her books so pretty and fun? What you should now do is read Fangirl and Eleanor & Park.  I’m going to do the exact thing just in time for YALL Fest!