Top Ten Books to Read If You Like…

TTT BannerTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their amazing blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Books If You Like X tv show/movie/comic/play etc. (basically any sort of other entertainment). I’ve chosen “If you like teen movies about finding yourself and your place in life and discovering romance and friendship.”  Uber long title, I know, and basically this is a list of all my contemporary favorites. So sit down and enjoy the ride!

1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Now, granted most teens will not spend one of their summers on a tour bus. HOWEVER, this book is actually very down to earth, despite the glitz and glamor parts.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This one, as I’ve said before, is near and dear to my heart because of how well I connect with Cath. 

3. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. ROAD TRIP WITH ROMANCE. How much better could it get?? Plus, Amy has a lot of emotional stuff to work through, and her character development is superb.

4. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. Where do I even start with Lola? I love that girl, wacky outfits and all ❤

5. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira. This one isn’t as light as the others; there’s some heavier subjects in here, but it’s still a story of self-discovery and growth.

6. Me Since You by Laura Wiess. I STILL don’t have a physical copy of this book. Shameful. This book changed my life, plain and simple.

7. The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder. This one is a bit darker than the others, more on the same level as Me Since You as far as heavy subjects, but it still deals with a lot of the “finding yourself” aspect.

8. The Summer I Found You by Jolene Perry. This is a sweet romance with a touch of heavy, dealing with young wounded veterans and life changing diagnoses. I love how the author focuses on the need to take reasonability for your health and wellbeing!

9. Flat Out Love by Jessica Park. So much love and so much growth but yet so much PAIN! This is a bittersweet book, in the best possible way. I think Celeste’s journey is so amazing, and who could say no to Matt Watkins??

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. You thought I wasn’t going to add this one, didn’t you? WRONG! Of course I couldn’t miss this book; it totally changed my life when I was in high school. Maybe not so much now if I read it again, but I’ll never forget the lessons it taught me when I was facing graduation.

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

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LA Times Festival of Books: Day One

LA Festival D1I know I was very quiet on the interwebs this weekend, but for good reason: I was attending the LA Festival of Books both Saturday and Sunday! It was my first time in LA, and the whole experience was on a far bigger scale than I had imagined, but after I got over the slightly overwhelming atmosphere, I had a fantastic time! I had so much fun, and visited so many different booths and panels, that I’ll actually be splitting my recap posts into three parts! And now we begin with…

Day One

Saturday I went with Veronica, and after we fought about three hours of traffic, we finally found a parking spot and made our way into the USC campus. We were a bit later than we had anticipated, so we headed straight to our first panel, Young Adult Fiction: Testing the Boundaries. We ended up being first in line, and waited about an hour before we were let in – snagging some excellent third row seating!

Our moderator was Aaron Hartzler (HILARIOUS, by the way – and he kept the whole mood of the panel very lighthearted and intimate), and the authors on the panel were E. Lockhart, Rainbow Rowell, Andrew Smith, and John Corey Whaley.

At first I had attended the panel just for Rowell, but then I read We Were Liars on Friday, and I could not wait to hear Lockhart talk about her book! Of course, she wasn’t able to say too much, but it was nice to be able to know what she was referring to at all the different parts, and it gave me a different perspective on the book too. I’ll admit right now that I wasn’t interested in Smith’s books before, and I’m still sure I won’t be reading them in the foreseeable future. However, I hadn’t heard of Whaley before, but now I would totally read his book after hearing him talk about it!

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Sorry about the quality!

The entire hour was very relaxed, and all the authors were very comfortable with each other and with the crowd. We were laughing the entire time, but at the same time the authors had fantastic things to say about how each of their book pushes boundaries, whether it’s social class and interracial love (Lockhart), college kids and fandom (Rowell), horny grasshoppers (Smith), or cryogenically frozen heads (Whaley). Another common theme: they wrote the books that challenged themselves, whether in topic or style, and they weren’t writing for YA – they were writing for whoever wanted to read their book; it just so happened that they had young protagonists.

After the panel, Veronica and I ran over the signing area, and waited almost two hours in Rowell’s line! It was hot, and we were starving, but we finally made it to the front, and it was totally worth it!

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I love the purple ^_^

Our next panels weren’t until 4:30 (I was going to the Tahereh Mafi panel, and Veronica was attending the Lauren Oliver panel), so we took our time and satisfied our physical needs before anything else. Which means… FOOD!!! They had brought in a bunch of food trucks, but most of the lines were super long, so we ended up picking the shortest line. And that ended up with us paying $10 for a cup of noodles with some veggies and chicken – very yummy, actually. I was also very glad that I had brought extra cash! With blood sugar returning to normal levels, we stopped being so grumpy and spent the next hour or so wandering around all the booths and stages. My personal favorite was the Mysterious Galaxy tent, where I found a signed copy of Dreams of Gods and Monsters! I had to skip her panel that was later in the day, since I was going to Mafi’s panel and signing, so OF COURSE I couldn’t say no to buying it 😉

photo 4-2Veronica and I had to split up after that, so I headed over to my next panel, Young Adult Fiction: It’s the End of the World as We Know It, with moderator Cecil Castellucci, and authors Tahereh Mafi, T. Cooper, and Lydia Millet. Now, to be honest, I didn’t totally enjoy this panel. Castellucci had a bit of a hard time with some questions for the authors, and it seemed like the authors didn’t know each other all that well. But, while the first 30 minutes were a bit rough, things really started picking up after they opened up the mic for audience questions. After Cooper flubbed an answer and mispronounced several words, he finally said, “My last meal was a vegan, gluten-free waffle, and I’m f***ing hungry!” It completely lightened the mood, and I could feel the entire room relax.

photo 3-3Another note: I totally hate audiobooks (you all know that by now), but when Mafi read an excerpt from Shatter Me… oh my god. There are no words for how stunning her reading voice is – I would buy every single audiobook if she narrated them! And I actually told her just that, when I saw her later at her signing!

photo 5-2So I had only brought my copy of Ignite Me, since I didn’t know there WAS a signing, but while I was in line there was a vendor one tent over, so I bought a copy of Unravel Me (since I don’t have a finished copy, just an ARC) and had that signed too.

And that was my first day! It wasn’t horribly busy, but it was nice so that I had time to adjust and figure out what was going on. But I had a blast, and even though I didn’t get home till 11, it was totally worth it! This was my final stack:

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Isn’t it STUNNING?

PS: come back tomorrow for my recap of Sunday!

Top Ten Items on My Bookish Bucket List

TTT BannerTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their amazing blog here!

Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Five Things On My Bookish Bucket List. This sounded good at first… but now I can’t quite think of many! I’ll give it a go anyway.

1. This one is easy… Meet JK Rowling. Even if I’m in her vicinity for two seconds and I just say “Hello” and “thank you” it will be good enough for me! Or maybe I should just write a letter…

2. Meet Rainbow Rowell. I told you guys how much Fangirl means to me last Thursday, and now I really need to meet her so I can at least see the face of the woman who wrote that magnificent book. And this one is actually plausible, since she’ll be at the LA Book Festival next April, and I already have a ticket to see her! 

3. Read the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I’ve always meant to, but never have. I’ve even read The Fellowship about five times over when I start the series, but always trail off in the middle of Two Towers. Which is really ironic, since the Hobbit is one of my favorite books and I’ve read that one like six times. 

4. Go to the Harry Potter world in the UK. My friend’s grandparents are going this summer and I’m 99% sure I’m going to stuff myself in a suitcase and tag along. 

5. Read 200 books in a year. My goal this year is 150, and I’ve been able to keep up with that pace, but I’m hoping that one year I’ll hit the 200 mark. 

Honestly, I can’t think of any more. When I started blogging, I didn’t even consider that I would be where I am now. I never thought I’d be talking to authors, making friends all over the world, reading ARCs – that wasn’t even a possibility in my head! So I am so thankful for what I have, and there’s not much else I could wish for. 

That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!

 

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 438
Genre: NA, contemporary
Series? No
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 10, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads: A coming-of-age tale of fanfiction, 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, 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 fanfiction, 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 fanfiction 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

AmazonBarnes and NobleBook DepositoryGoodreads

The Dinghy

Fangirl is an inspiring, touching, and captivating story that details the beautiful journey of Cath as she experiences freshman year, the end of a beloved series, and social anxiety. Written in the most respectful way I’ve seen fandom presented, Rowell has truly become an author I admire and respect. Whether or not you can identify with Cath regarding fandom and fan fiction, I still highly recommend the story!

The Yacht

Before I go any further, I want to start with this: Rainbow Rowell has given me hope for the new adult genre. I know Fangirl is usually qualified as YA, but I’d argue that it’s truly NA (and I know several others would as well!) due to the age of the characters and the college setting. BUT – get this – the focus isn’t on sex! Can I get a hallelujah?? So that’s why I gave it the NA classification up at the top. Also: there is romance, but since I feel that Cath’s personal growth is the true center of the story, I hesitate to label it as a romance book, per se. So there you have it! Argue as you will.

Another note before I get into my review: Veronica, my BFF, partner in crime, sister unicorn, my love and my life (okay that may have gone a bit too far) – thank you for gifting me with this special, incredible book. And for knowing my habits and knowing that even though I would wait months to read it, that it would be the perfect book for me when I was ready. And finally, thank you for realizing that I was creepily similar to Cath and being my Reagan ❤

So now that I’ve gotten all that out, allow me to sum up everything into one sentence: Fangirl is one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. And honestly, Rainbow Rowell has landed in the same ranks as JK Rowling for me – for several reasons, which I’ll detail below. It won’t be everyone’s favorite, and not everyone will be able to connect to it as easily as others, but for someone who is so attached to books and fandom and fanfiction (like me, and thousands of other girls everywhere), this is something very, very special. I don’t want to get into any details, because this is a book everyone should experience for the first time on their own, without being spoiled, so I’ll stick to some general points I’d like to make.

1) The way Rowell treats the entire fandom aspect is incredibly respectful. In movies, books, and tv, fangirls usually end up being the creepy, crazy, disconnected from reality characters that serve as the butt of a million rude jokes. But in Fangirl, Rowell actually treats fandom as something legitimate, and not as a joke at all. She realizes that for people like Cath, fandom is a huge part of our lives, and our passion, just as others have passions about sports or healthy eating – fandom is more unconventional, but it doesn’t mean it’s strange or unlovable at all.

2) The way Rowell approaches Cath’s anxiety – which is probably at the level where it could be diagnosed as GAD and treated with medication. Again – respectful. It isn’t a “this stupid girl she just needs to get over herself” approach; it’s a “this is Cath’s reality, and while it’s unhealthy, it’s not something she’ll get over because someone told her to.” And coming from that second mindset, Rowell gives the most inspiring journey towards recovery that I’ve read in a long time. I loved the slow unfolding of Cath’s struggles, and the steady progression towards healthiness.

3) Simon Snow is clearly a Harry Potter type fandom, with some minor differences. But whether it’s called Simon Snow or Harry Potter, Rowell captured the heartbreaking, world-stopping, best-moment-of-my-life feeling that comes with the ending of a beloved series. Which leads me to my last point…

4) I mentioned above that Rowell is now on the same page as Rowling for me. Here’s my reason why: I have never felt so understood by a book since Harry Potter. Harry Potter gave me an escape as a kid (and as a teen, and even into my years as a young adult), and I felt like I fit in with the story and it inspired me in so many ways that we would be here forever if I listed them. The same goes for Fangirl. It’s like Rowell has said, “Here, I understand, and I want to validate you and your passion as real and healthy and not unlovable in any way.” If HP and Fangirl were people, they would be those bright sunshiny faces that wrap you in their arms and hold you when you’re at your best, worst, and everything in between. And no book since HP has made me want to say “Thank you” to an author – the kind of thank you that means so much more than those two words, a thank you that tries to express everything you can’t find the words for. But now my list of “authors I want to meet so I can say ‘Thank you'” has just increased by one.

I know I’ve rambled on extensively, but this is actually an edited version – I could talk about this book for HOURS! Tl;dr version – read the book. Even if it’s to understand a fangirl you know, or to feel understood as a fangirl yourself, read it! And now, in true fangirl fashion, allow me to leave you with a gif that sums up my emotions:

My Final Rating:

Anchors Aweigh