#OHTHEFEELS | The Art of Holding On and Letting Go by Kristin Bartley Lenz

I used to devour YA Contemporary novels, but the older I become, the harder I am to impress by this once beloved genre. I’ve really struggled over the course of my five years of book blogging to read and enjoy YA Contemporary novels, and at one point, I would have been more than happy to avoid the genre entirely. But, I have to admit, this has been a redeeming year; I’ve read a handful of excellent Contemporaries, and I read another novel that just might be making it into my top ten books this year– the Art of Holding On and Letting Go by Kristin Bartley Lenz. Beautifully written and atmospheric, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go is an equally intense and introspective novel about love and loss and finding one’s home in this world. (P.S. There are some spoilers below this line, so read at your own risk).


the art of holding on and letting go book coverThe Art of Holding on and Letting Go by Kristin Bartley Lenz

Released: September 12, 2016
Publisher: Elephant Rock Books
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★★★★☆

Competitive climber Cara Jenkins feels most at home high off the ground, clinging to a rock wall by her fingertips. She’s enjoyed a roaming life with her mountaineering parents, making the natural world her jungle gym, the writings of Annie Dillard and Henry David Thoreau her textbooks. But when tragedy strikes on an Ecuadoran mountaintop, Cara’s nomadic lifestyle comes to an abrupt halt.

Starting over at her grandparents’ home in suburban Detroit, Cara embarks on a year of discovery, uncovering unknown strengths, friendships, and first love. Cara’s journey illustrates the transformative power of nature, love and loss, and discovering that home can be far from where you started.


I was hooked right away

The novel opens a world away from my own– not just because main character, Cara Jenkins, is in Ecuador, where Lenz captures the sights and sounds and smells so well– but also because the story opens amid a junior rock climbing competition. I had no idea such events even existed.

The tension is palpable as Cara mentally prepares for her climb. She’s trying to block out the fact that her famous, mountaineering family is ascending one of the most treacherous peeks in South America instead of supporting her at the competition. She’s also trying not to feel overwhelmed next to friends (who are also her competitors), who are using the event as a publicity stunt to gain fame and sponsors. She just wants to escape for a moment with her thermos of hot tea to think about rock wall she is about to climb.

Then, once Cara’s world was knocked off-kilter during the competition, there was no going back for me.

#OHTHEFEELS

This book dealt with some pretty complex ideas, which I didn’t expect. I mean, it’s been several weeks since I finished reading The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, and I still do not know how I feel about Cara’s parents shipping her to the suburbs of Detroit, while they remain abroad to grieve the loss of Uncle Max. My immediate reaction was that Cara’s parents were selfish! Selfish that they would force Cara away from home for the sake of normalcy. Selfish for making Cara deal with the grief and loss all on her own. Selfish for making her worry about their safety as they cope in the only way they know how– by climbing even more dangerous mountains. I couldn’t help but think, “How could they just abandon her like that?!”

But I know…I know it is not that simple. Everyone copes with loss in their own ways, and Lenz explores that idea throughout The Art of Holding On and Letting Go.

I found myself invested in all of the characters

Lenz writes a rich cast of characters, and I found myself rooting for all of them. Like goth girl, Kaitlyn, who was one of the first to welcome Cara to school (even though goth girls are supposed to be mean and intimidating [or at least that’s what everyone thought of me back in the day] and even though she has a deformed hand that tends to make ignorant people uncomfortable). Or, like punk kid, Nick, who is a really sensitive young man and is determined to see Cara climb again and sweep Kaitlyn off her feet. Then there is Jake, an eighth-grader from the sketchy parts of Pontiac, who found refuge in rock climbing and basketball; it’s so unsuspecting, but this youngster plays a pivotal role in challenging Cara to climb again. Even Cara’s grandmother wiggled her way into my heart once I realized her curmudgeonly and critical personality was one rooted in fear and anxiety regarding the people she loved.

Readers have the opportunity to follow the transformation of each character–primary and secondary– which I think is a rare treat. Portraying so much character growth in just a couple hundred pages could have easily become cumbersome. But, Lenz knows her characters so well that she makes writing well-rounded characters seem like a breeze.


The Art of Holding on and Letting Go is a novel you need in your life. It’s an excellent debut filled with beautiful prose and compelling characters. But what impressed me the most was Cara’s passion for rock climbing. First, I’ve never read a novel about rock climbing before, so I found it to be especially fascinating. It became this obstacle that was both literal and metaphoric, which was kind of perfect, really. Second, reading about rock climbing is invigorating! After finishing the novel, I probably spent an hour searching for hiking trails around the mid-Michigan area because I wanted to reconnect with nature like Cara did. (Mind you, I haven’t actually thrust myself back into nature yet, but it’s also been unnaturally hot this summer. My preference has been not to move very much because I can’t handle this kind of weather.)

(P.S. You can totally tell Kristin Bartley Lenz is from Michigan. She wrote that the 45 degree Springtime weather was “balmy”, which is exactly how I describe the weather when the snow starts to melt.)

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.

Do I Have a New Favorite Author? | Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson

It’s not often that I read two books by the same author in the same year (JK Rowling withstanding). And, it’s rarer than a blue moon that I read two books by the same author within 30 days. Yet, I recently devoured Peaches (in one day) by Jodi Lynn Anderson less than 30 days of  reading The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson (in one day).


Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson Book coverPeaches (Peaches #1) by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Released: June 2005
Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
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★★★☆☆

In a Ya-Ya Sisterhood for teens, Peaches combines three unforgettable heroines who have nothing in common but the troubles that have gotten them sentenced to a summer of peach picking at a Georgia orchard.

Leeda is a debutante dating wrong-side-of-the-tracks Rex.

Murphy, the wildest girl in Bridgewater, likes whichever side Rex is on.

Birdie is a dreamer whose passion for Girl Scout cookies is matched only by her love for a boy named Enrico.

When their worlds collide, The Breakfast Club meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants in an entirely original and provocative story with a lush, captivating setting.


Anderson writes about the most spectacularly flawed characters.

Sometimes they’re downright unlikeable. Like Murphy and Leeda and Birdie, who are selfish and insecure and condescending and full of pride and sometimes just downright fools. I really wanted to hate them, but I couldn’t because beneath the walls they built, they just wanted to be loved and accepted. They want to be optimistic about their future even though Murphy is certain she’s doomed to endure failed relationship after failed relationship just like her mother. And Leeda is certain her existence is a regretful mistake and that her mother actually has a favorite child (spoiler: it’s not Leeda). And Birdie…well, her mother just ran out on her and her father, and the peach farm she calls home is failing, and she’s about to lose that too.

I felt like I was on a peach farm in south Georgia.

Just like in the Vanishing Season, Anderson made her setting come alive, and she made it seem effortless. I could smell the stinky-sweet scent of overripe peaches, and I could feel their sticky juice on my skin as it dried. I could feel the cool refreshing waters of the lake the girls would steal away to after curfew, and I could feel Georgia’s blazing, afternoon sun and suffocating humidity.

The story seemed slow, however.

Which I understand might seem weird because I praised the Vanishing Season for being an intentionally slow novel. In the Vanishing Season, it seemed to add to the atmosphere Anderson was creating. But, it seemed out-of-place in Peaches. I just wanted Murphy and Leeda and Birdie to get over themselves already so that I could read a book about friendship.

A Contemporary YA novel would be incomplete without a little romance.

But, I wasn’t a fan of the romantic relationships that developed in Peaches. Okay, Birdie and Enrico were awkwardly charming together, but Rex and Leeda… and Rex and Murphy? Actually, it was just Rex in general. He didn’t have much of a personality. Really, I just wanted Leeda and Murphy to realize they were better as independent women and lose interest in “wrong-side-of-the-tracks”-Rex (who was really just sort of benign).

Overall, I enjoyed Peaches. I didn’t love it like the Vanishing Season though. Peaches is actually part of a series, which I didn’t realize when I checked the book out. I don’t know if I feel compelled to read on. At least, not this year. Perhaps I’ll revisit the idea of reading Peaches #2 next summer. Still… I did find it to be a satisfying summertime read about friendship and self-discovery. It made me want to read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or watch the movie Now and Then.

What is one of your favorite summertime novels about friendship?

On a scale of 1-10, this book is a d20|Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Even though Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern is a young adult novel, I’m glad I read it as an adult instead of as a teenager. I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much as I do now because I wouldn’t have been able to get over the “labels”. I went to a big high school, you see; cliques were very prominent, and it was important to immerse yourself in one unless you wanted to be ostracized. My kin were the geeks– the band geeks, the gamer geeks, the Anime/Manga nerds, the AP kids (back when you had to be in the top 15% of the class to take Advance Placement classes [honors English ain’t got nothin’ on us!]). For some reason, this gave us a pass to eat lunch with the goth kids or the punk kids (or at least talk to them in the lunch line). Basically, we were an amalgamation of losers, and we were quite proud of that. So…needless to say, this book kind of resonated with me.


Intothe Wild Nerd YonderInto the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Released: September 2009
Publisher: Feiwal & Friends
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It’s Jessie’s sophomore year of high school. A self-professed “mathelete,” she isn’t sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating . . . the prom princess!) . . .

Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high-school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way—the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes?

If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back?


Jessie’s voice was legit

I don’t know how Halpern does it, but she seems to channel the voice of a fifteen year old girl with ease. It’s like she dug through all of my diaries and wrote what it was like to be me. Like, she hasn’t forgotten what it’s like to be infatuated with someone your parents would never approve of (for example, David J., the pale kid with the [stupid] devilock that Bianca and I would inconspicuously stare at from across the outdoor cafeteria during lunchtime…until he dropped out of school) or what it’s like to watch your friends transform into someone you barely recognize (like the first day of 11th grade when Crystal H. dyed her hair black, shaved off her eyebrows, and replaced her Hurley and Billabong clothing with a wardrobe exclusively from Hot Topic [back when they sold counter-culture clothing, not the pop culture clothing they sell now] and started listening only to HIM [Won’t you die tonight for love/Baby join me in death]).

Best sibling relationship ever!

Jessie and Barrett are amazing. There is no sibling rivalry. They just love each other and have a mutual respect for each other, and it shows. PLUS, THE KRISPY KREME DONUT SCENE IS THE BEST!!!

This book almost feels like historical fiction

Only because the smoking section at Denny’s doesn’t even exist in most states now.

I didn’t really understand Jessie’s aversion to Nerdom though

Maybe it’s just a weird timing issue here, but…I thought Nerd was the new black. Like, being a Nerd back in 2004 wasn’t social suicide (or maybe it was, and that’s why I didn’t have very many friends?), so I can’t imagine it was social suicide in 2009. And nowadays, Nerdom is embraced. Praised. Promoted. Or maybe it’s just me. Like…why didn’t anyone ever invite me to play D&D when I was in high school?!

Overall, Into the Wild Nerd Yonder was an excellent read. So excellent I finished it in one sitting, which rarely happens. So basically, I think you need to read this book ASAP!

What high school clique did you belong to back in the day? And, obviously it’s been a while since I was a high schooler myself, so do cliques even exists anymore?

The Book that Made Me Blush Even More | The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie

How do you go about writing a review for a book that is about one of the most influential women of the 18th century? Wait…how do you go about writing an entire book about one of the most influential women of the 18th century? I am talking about Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, more commonly known as Madame de Pompadour, and Sally Christie has brought her to life in the second installment of her Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, the Rivals of Versailles. Readers, prepare yourself for more inappropriate innuendos!

Continue reading The Book that Made Me Blush Even More | The Rivals of Versailles by Sally Christie

The Book that Made Me Blush | The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

Every once in a while, I finish a book, and I’m in such awe of what I read that I struggle to find the words to express that. Sometimes I avoid writing a review for a while so I can let every character, setting, and scene sink in, but I do not have that luxury with the Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie. To be totally honest, this review should have probably gone live several hours ago, but I’ve been budgeting my time very poorly lately, and instead found myself finishing this book during my lunch break at work today. Luckily, submersing myself in the world of the Sisters of Versailles came easily; this novel swept me off my feet faster than King Louis XV swept Louise Mailly-Nesle off her feet…or her sister Pauline…or their sisters Marie-Anne and Diane. As for this review? Bare with me here.

Continue reading The Book that Made Me Blush | The Sisters of Versailles by Sally Christie

The Time I Almost Abandoned a Book but Ended Up Rating it Four Stars Instead|Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Despite never having read a review for Open Road Summer by Emery Lord, I knew that it was well-received in the book blogosphere, and I wanted to read it. I think it was the title and the cover alone that convinced me because they evoked this sense of lightheartedness and warmth and freedom that I experienced right around my senior year of high school. Clearly I did not read the synopsis for the book very well because I missed the part about broken hearts and broken arms, and I found myself rather surprised that by the end of the book, there was a lump in my throat and tears welling up in my eyes.

Continue reading The Time I Almost Abandoned a Book but Ended Up Rating it Four Stars Instead|Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Book Blind Date | Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handleland

I’ve mentioned it before, but I go in “blind” with almost every book I borrow from the library. It encourages me to select books I never would have otherwise because of perceptions of a genre or a style. This was the case for Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handeland. I picked up this novel for two reasons:

  1. I needed spooky books for my October “horror” series, and well…this book does have “undead” right in the title.
  2. The book cover features Shakespeare with vampire fangs, and apparently that’s all the convincing I need.

Continue reading Book Blind Date | Shakespeare Undead by Lori Handleland

This is a Five Star Review: The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

The Carnival At Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

Released: January 2014
Publisher: Elephant Rock Productions, Inc.
Age Group: Young Adult
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★★★★★

Synopsis: It’s 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea. Surviving on care packages of Spin magazine and Twizzlers from her rocker uncle Kevin, she wonders if she’ll ever find her place in this new world. When first love and sudden death simultaneously strike, a naive but determined Maggie embarks on a forbidden pilgrimage that will take her to a seedy part of Dublin and on to a life- altering night in Rome to fulfill a dying wish. Through it all, Maggie discovers an untapped inner strength to do the most difficult but rewarding thing of all, live.

My Thoughts

I finished reading the Carnival at Bray by Jessie Anne Foley last week, and I forced myself to not write a review immediately or even think too hard about star ratings because this book, my friends, was teetering on the fence between four stars and five stars. Let me be clear, this almost NEVER happens, so I needed the decision to be organic instead of one fueled by a book high. A week later, I find myself thinking that this book, without a doubt, is a five-star book. However, when I sat down to write the review, I was at a loss for words.

I can tell you that you should read this book because it takes place in Ireland, and all books that take place in Ireland are instantly on my wish list. I can tell you that this book rocks a pretty great playlist because 90’s alternative music was boss. I can tell you this book tackles some pretty heavy issues like mental illness and divorce and sex and totally uprooting a family and flying it clear across an ocean for a fleeting moment of love. I can tell you that the prose is poetic without slipping into the realm of “purple prose”, that the author made a good choice by writing it in third person because it would probably become too melodramatic otherwise, that the narration seems stoic sometimes understated, which somehow only plays up the gravity of the conflicts Maggie, our main character, faces. I can tell you that every character is wonderfully developed and charming and utterly flawed. And…did I mention it takes place in Ireland?

But, what I’m truly struggling with is verbalizing all of the abstract feelings I have about this book. I can’t adequately explain the light I felt emanating from me every night Maggie visited Dan Sean, an elderly Irishman, who somehow understood Maggie better than anyone else. Or when Maggie tasted freedom when chasing after Italy or Nirvana tickets or a boy she loved. Nor can I adequately explain how heavy my heart-felt when she was uprooted and transplanted in this foreign country where she was always the outsider. Or every time she was with that skeevy fellow, Paul. Or as she watched her uncle disintegrate. The Carnival at Bray is a fairly short novel at only 230 pages, yet it took me nearly two weeks to read because it was such an emotional novel; it’s like it knocked the wind right out of me every day I read the book.

I only wish this book was around when I was 17 and not 27. It’s a coming of age novel I would have carried with me always like Stephan Chbosky’s the Perks of Being a Wallflower or Joe Meno’s Hairstyles of the Damned or Ellen Wittlinger’s Hard Love.

Read this book. Read the Carnival at Bray because it’s real and it’s raw and Maggie’s story matters.

[On an unrelated matter, I wasn’t really sure how to categorize this book. Is it contemporary fiction? Is it historical fiction? It’s pretty strange to think my childhood happened long enough ago that it could now be considered “historical”.]

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten Things We Did and Probably Shouldn't Have by Sara Mlynowski Book CoverTen Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
Released:
June 2011
Publisher: Harper Teen
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★★☆☆☆
Synopsis: When April’s dad relocates to Cleveland, April begs to move in with her friend Vi instead of leave behind everything that is comfortable to her, especially her boyfriend Noah. April’s dad agrees to this arrangement without knowing Vi’s mom won’t be present (she’s traveling the U.S. in an off-Broadway production). The girls provide April’s dad with a fake e-mail address, and Vi responds to every e-mail as if she were her mom. Let the bad decisions begin!

My Thoughts

The plot is fast-paced but not hilarious like the book’s blurb promises. Perhaps it is a sign of my old age (is 26 old?) that I found the characters’ decisions to be unrealistic and obnoxious. When does buying a several thousand dollar hot tub with grocery allowance sound like a reasonable way to pay someone back? The characters in Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) are kind of equally annoying. With the exception of Dean, Vi’s boytoy, I didn’t like any of the characters. Vi is bossy and rude (and Dean can do a whole heck of a lot better). Marissa, as it turns out, is a crappy friend. Noah is just gross. And April is…inept; what sixteen year old doesn’t know how to do basic chores– like washing the dishes or laundering their clothes? What kind of sheltered life does she live, and why didn’t her parents teach her this? Ultimately, I found it really hard to root for anyone or sympathize with anyone in this novel.

Amid preposterous decisions, this novel tried to break out of the contemporary fluff model by trying to explore difficult issues like divorce, feeling abandoned by family, adoption, and eating disorders. Unfortunately, there was too much to address in such a short novel (with sooooo much going on), that discussion of these topics lacked consistency– kind of like If I Tell by Janet Gurtler. The only topic that was explored fairly substantially in this novel was April and her relationship with Noah. The couple has been together for two years, and April feels confident that she wants to take their relationship to the next level. There is no beating around the bush here– we’re talking about sex. Initially, I appreciated how the author handled the subject. Both Vi and April look into and discuss birth control options– perhaps the only good decision made in this entire novel. Additionally, I liked how the author navigated April’s feelings toward sex. It explores the behavioral script of what losing one’s virginity should be like– reality rarely meets expectations, and her insecurities are also explored; she notices that Noah is distant, and she feels having sex will make their relationship more stable. Alas, sex does not equal love– a hard lesson learned, yet that kind of thought process is a very real one regardless of age, experience, and gender. Unfortunately, the outcome of this decision is awful, and I don’t think it really added anything to the story. It just made me feel uncomfortable and disappointed that the experience was portrayed in such a negative light. A very grey topic was painted black and white.

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski was a quick read. I devoured it in one sitting, but readability does not make a book great. Honestly, I think the real reason I couldn’t put this book down was because the characters made some train wreck decisions, and I was rubbernecking. Overall, the book was okay even if there were a handful of parts that left me feeling disappointed, which is why I give this book two out of five stars.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Book Review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell book coverFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Released: September 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
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★★★★☆
Synopsis: 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?

My Thoughts

So rare is it that I love a book that has been hyped. Usually, the higher the pedestal, the farther a book has to fall– such was the case with Divergent by Veronica Roth or An Abundance of Katherines by John Green for which there is no link here because I couldn’t make it past page 50. However, I recently read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and the only thing I’m disappointed about is not reading the book sooner so I could fangirl along side the rest of the book blogosphere.

Freshman year of college is a test for all 18 and 19-year-olds, and it’s no different for Cath, who is a new student at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska*. At least she can rely on her twin sister, Wren, also a freshman at the University of Nebraska, to help her navigate the microcosm that is a university campus and being away from home for the first time…right? But, when Wren chooses to embrace the college life that includes the drinking and the boys and the rowdy parties, Cather slips into the fan fiction world of Simon Snow (read: Harry Potter) that’s safe and comfortable and already accepting of her. Unexpectedly, her sassy roommate, Reagan, and her sassy roommate’s attachment/unattachment, Levi, draw Cath out of her shell.

I think Cath is going to be one of those rare female characters who empowers her readers. Like the way Hermione Granger made being intelligent and a bookworm totally awesome, Cath will make reading and writing and being snarky and being nerdy totally awesome. Plus, she’s easy to relate to. She’s cynical and insecure and scared, but she’s also introverted and witty and passionate, and as I kept flipping pages, I kept thinking, “That’s me. Cath is me!”

Then, we’re finally given a love interest that isn’t a “bad boy with a heart of gold” because those don’t actually exist. Trust me, the bad boy will always be a jerk (especially in college), and you’re just being blinded by his manly sideburns and five o’clock shadow. Levi is a nice guy— the kind that offers to walk with you at night even though it’s cold outside because he wants to make sure you feel safe, the kind that will drive you home no matter the distance or the road conditions, the kind that will encourage you to embrace and ramble on about your (nerdy) passions. He’s not compared to Adonis; in fact, he’s got lines in his forehead and a bit of a receding hairline, and he probably has a farmer’s tan too from working hard out in the sun! He’s still handsome and he’s charming (of course, he’s from the midwest), but more importantly, he’s the kind of you guy you cannot wait to see or talk to over the phone because he just sort of makes awful days melt away or he makes you feel like the most important person in the room or he makes you feel like yourself again. I know someone kind of like Levi, and perhaps that is why the relationship that develops between Cath and Levi gives me butterflies in my stomach. Plus, the romance happened organically, which is refreshing in a world of love triangles that don’t make sense and instant, unfettering “love” amongst teenagers.

As much as I loved Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I have to admit that I did actually skips parts of this book, which I don’t often do. Each chapter starts with an excerpt from the Simon Snow novel, or Cath’s fan fiction, or newspaper clippings discussing the pop culture phenomenon. Then, there were several pages where Cath was reading her fan fiction out loud, and I pretty much skipped all of that. The integration of Cath’s Simon Snow fan fiction was cool at first, but after a while I became bored by it, and I felt it was distracting from the story that I truly wanted to read– Cath’s college experience.

Still, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell earns a solid four stars from me for multifaceted, perfectly imperfect characters, a charming romance, and a realistic portrayal of college and falling in love for the first time. Thank you Rainbow Rowell for giving the world Cather Avery.

*I think it’s really cool that this story takes place in Nebraska, one of the most underrated states in the US. Who writes about Nebraska?