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review 2017-07-07 19:14
The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy
The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Lexicon of Life Hacks for the Modern Lady Geek - Sam Maggs

My sister recently got this book for her birthday, and since she hasn't felt up to reading for a while (she's burned out, among other things) she let me borrow it.

 

Now that I've read it, I must say that I really liked it. It made me really keen on going to a fancon (but things are really different here in Sweden and even though there are fancons here, lack of communications out here where I live, makes it more or less impossible for me to go anywhere fun). Cosplay is out of the question after having my twins.

Source: crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/180743.html
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review 2017-06-02 23:58
Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia | READ THIS NOW!

This past Tuesday, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was released into the world, and you all need to get a copy. Now.

I was an Eliza beta reader about a year and a half ago, and I finished reading my hardback yesterday. All the praise that I had already given the beta version? Oh, wow. Magnify that by a hundred. This book is fantastic. Here are my 5 reasons for why you need NEED to read it.

 


1) Fantastic Characters--

It's a well known fact that Chessie makes amazing, multi-layered characters, the type to delight fans of all ages (cc: Made You Up). Her characters feel flesh and blood. They make you want to cry and scream, and you get frustrated on their behalf. Chessie's attention to detail makes her characters come alive, with their own little habits and phrases. And with such fantastic characters, you're guaranteed to be engaged in the story, even if you don't always agree with what the characters do.

Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia
2) Breaking Gender Norms--

The romantic interest in this book is a hulk, former football player and now fanfiction writer and a selective mute, with a soft voice. The main character is a girl with greasy hair and social anxiety, and she's this super popular creator of a webcomic. Society tends to portray female creators as being Nice, Polite Women - women need to comprise, to smile more often, etc. Here, we have another story to rival that. And many of the side characters also break gender norms. I don't know about you, but I'm very pleased to have a story where the characters aren't in these flat cardboard boxes of what we expect (e.g., alpha male). This also makes the characters feel more real to me.

3) The Unique Formatting--

You can look at several of the Goodreads reviews that mention the photos - here, for instance. Or just at look at the EpicReads post of the first two chapters. You can see the inclusion of the Monstrous Sea webcomic pages, and the prose transcription beneath. You can see private messages between the characters - the moderators of the webcomic and Eliza, the romantic interest and Eliza. You can see forum interactions and forum profiles. Most of the YA books out right now don't have this amount of layering within their stories. Horror YA sometimes includes pictures, and other fandom related books might have some stories, some fanfiction--not to this extent, not to this level of metaness. See point below.

4) Unlike Anything Else You've Read--

This book has been compared to Fangirl and Afterworlds and Nimona, because every book needs to be compared to something, so you have an idea of its marketing. It's a fact of life that you build on schemas that people already have of the world. But this book is unlike anything else that you've read. You only get Cath's fanfiction in Fangirl, some of the story from the main character in Afterworlds. Nimona started off as a comic. None of these is quite the same as Eliza and Her Monsters. Here, you get the main character's creation and see how she interacts with her fans, and you see how fanfic writers interact with the creator and the fandom. You also get to hear about a series of books that she loves, too. Chessie has posted this online - the Children of Hypnos story. The main character has a drive to create after the fandom that she loves no longer exists. You have access to that story too. There's this amazing level of metaness in this story that ties so well into the themes of creation, fandoms, etc. I repeat: unlike anything else you've read.

5) So Easy to Relate to--

If you're reading this book, there is a good likelihood that you will relate to SOMETHING in this book. Whether it's the main character's social anxiety, the need to create, the desire to interact with the fandom, or just loving how the fandom interacts-- there is something for everyone. And you know that Chessie has interacted with or been a part of fandoms, because it shows in her writing. It shows in how fandoms a portrayed. Marieke Nijkamp wrote the blurb, "A love letter to fandom, friendship, and the stories that shape us, Eliza and Her Monsters is absolutely magical." Yes, yes, yes. A love letter to fandom and friendship and stories. Yes. 100% true.

READ THIS BOOK!

PS - This wonderful novel got a starred review from Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and School Library Journal.

PPS - Here is my original pre-review: I read a manuscript of this book about one year ago to date. If you like Made You Up, you will most certainly love Eliza! Chessie brings back her trademark endearing humor in another wonderful mix of adorable romance, quirky characters, and multilayered plotting (plus the cool formatting here, which is typically reserved for YA horror, but hey, Eliza is just that awesome). I would also recommend this book to fans of Fangirl and Afterworlds.

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review 2017-04-26 00:00
Fangirl
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell 4,25 stars

It's silly how much I could relate to Cath, especially compared to my own 19-year-old self, having just moved away from home. I never wrote fanfiction, but I sure as hell read it, and I was so painfully clumsy and awkward and anxious, socially. I still am, some days, but I have managed to develop into a (mostly) functioning adult, somehow.

I'd read Carry On before this, so that helped in getting into the story, too. I did enjoy Rowell's writing style and characters as well, even though they weren't the best I've ever read. They were somehow real.
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review 2017-02-26 22:08
Fangirl ★★★★☆
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

I enjoyed the story of Cath and her sister Wren, two young women in their freshman year of college who are trying to come to terms with growing into adulthood. Wren is launching herself into her idea of adulthood, with wild parties and brutal separation from her family. The unsociable Cath is warding off adulthood by clinging to the tokens of her childhood and responsibilities to her family, but is 

finally dragged into the bewildering world of adulthood by the friends and boyfriend she tried not to make and her father’s insistence that growing up means creating a life beyond the safety of immediate family.

(spoiler show)

 

I liked that both characters grew over the course of the book, but still retained their essential selves. I liked that the consequences for recklessness didn’t have to include sexual assault as a plot device, as so commonly found in other books. I thought the “Simon Snow”/Harry Potter knockoff was funny, and having been a reader of HP fanfiction myself, I enjoyed the whole fanfic subplot as well, although I found it a little incredible that a popular author of fanfic would be naïve enough to turn in her fanfic in a college-level creative writing class, and to be hurt and surprised when her professor called it unoriginal and plagiarism.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Rebecca Lowman provides a terrific performance, with Maxwell Caulfield reading all the “Simon Snow” excerpts.

 

I read this for the 2017 Romance Bingo, for the New Adult square. I think it could fit these other squares:

Young Adult: I genuinely think this belongs in New Adult, but because the main characters are still in their teens, the “voice” is that of teens, and there’s no explicit sex, you could argue that it fits YA too.

Key to My Heart: She falls in love, almost against her will, and through this new relationship learns to open her heart to others.

Twins: Cath and her sister are identical twins, and there’s even a few scenes with college douche-bros doing the whole, “whoa, twins, my sexual fantasy” thing, and even better, some decent guys calling them on it.

Fairy Tale Retelling: A bit of a stretch, but I’d argue that the “Simon Snow” tale is a retelling of and AU Harry Potter, and Cath’s fanfic is a retelling of an AU Simon Snow.

Guy/Girl Next Door: Cath’s new boyfriend

is literally her roommate’s friend and a constant visitor in her room, and he definitely has that boy-next-door persona

(spoiler show)
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review 2017-02-23 02:20
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rowell, Rainbow (2014) Paperback - Rainbow Rowell

I'll start off by saying that this is not the kind of book I usually like to read. My favorite genres are fantasy, mysteries, science fiction, historic fiction and non-fiction. This is - I don't know. It's definitely YA. Drama? Maybe.

At the start of the book, the main character, Cath, is about to go away to college. Her twin sister, Wren, has told her she won't share a room with her. When Cath gets to the dorm, she meets a boy in her room. For a moment, she thinks he's her room mate. He isn't, but he starts hanging out there a lot, with Reagan, Cath's real room mate.

There were some things I could definitely relate to when it comes to Cath. She's into writing (fan fiction) and she has a sister. In the end, there are several things I don't quite understand so well, but all in all I really love this book. Reading about going to college brings back memories of when I was trying to study at the university. To be honest, at times, it made me feel terrible, but despite that, I mostly enjoyed the book. It's well written and the characters are interesting and engaging.

So... Do I recommend this book to other readers? Yes. If you read the blurb at the back of the book and it sounds like something you might like, I think you will enjoy it.

Source: crimsoncorundum.dreamwidth.org/177904.html
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