These posts about various Rainbow Rowell books are gonna start getting RULL obligatory pretty soon, because she’s gonna keep on writing fantastic books and I’m gonna keep on loving them. And there are only so many ways to say that you love a thing. Eventually, I’ll just be posting a picture of the book cover followed by several exclamation points and a hearts-for-eyes emoticon.
I will say, one thing that made Fangirl particularly special for me was my ongoing Twitter discussion with Rainbow regarding her theories about the subtextual romance between a certain boy wizard and his pale-haired, pointy-faced adversary.
|One of the tamer depictions...because it's Wednesday afternoon.|
So when we meet Cath and she’s writing a popular fanfiction series featuring two characters in the magical Simon Snow universe who happen to be sworn enemies and also both of the male persuasion, it’s even more of an “I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE” if you happen to know that tidbit about the real-life author.
About Cath. She’s a freshman, an extreme introvert, and the identical twin of an uber-extrovert. The only reason she even left her hometown to go to college was to stay near her sister, Wren. But Wren wants to break out of the twin box and meet new people . . . and she wants a roommate who isn’t Cath, for the first time in their lives. And thank goodness for that, because then we get Reagan—Cath’s sarcastic, cynical, slightly older, much more worldly roommate (who, coincidentally, reminds me of a grown-up version of Eleanor from Eleanor & Park). And with Reagan comes Levi, an always-smiling, tousle-haired country boy whose been Reagan's friend since childhood and who ends up in Cath and Reagan’s room an AWFUL lot. And we, the readers, don’t complain even a little (please refer again to description of Levi if confused about this).
All the elements I’ve come to associate with a Rowell novel are here: A wide variety of fleshed-out and relatable characters, tingly-in-your-belly boy-meets-girl scenarios, a particular boy character who makes you just REALLY upset that you can’t reach in and grab people off the pages of books (GET ON THAT, SCIENCE), a little bit of serious to balance out the sweet, and snappy exchanges of dialogue.
Rainbow’s talent with clever dialogue that doesn’t feel forced is one of my favorite things about her writing. I’ve come to think of her as the Joss Whedon of novels, and for anyone who’s seen Firefly and all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which is all of you . . . *narrows eyes*) that should be fairly self-explanatory. But FINE, I’ll give you examples.
“What about him?” she’d say, finding an attractive guy to point out while they were standing in the lunch line. “Do you want to kiss him?”
“I don’t want to kiss a stranger,” Cath would answer. “I’m not interested in lips out of context.” (p. 85)
Reagan was sitting on Cath’s desk when Cath woke up.
“Are you awake?”
“Have you been watching me sleep?”
“Yes, Bella. Are you awake?” (p. 286)
“Look at you. All sweatered up. What are those, leg sweaters?”
“They’re leg warmers.”
“You’re wearing at least four different kinds of sweater.”
“This is a scarf.”
“You look tarred and sweatered.” (p. 91)
Cue the message from our sponsors (we have no sponsors): Look for Rainbow Rowell’s next book, Landline, due out . . . sometime next spring/summer.