Monday, 30 June 2014

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Source: Own
Pages: 459
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
Related Reviews: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis: Cath and Wren are twins that have always done everything together. Always had the same interests, the same clothes, the same friends...until now. They are both off to university but Wren doesn't want to be part of a pair anymore, she wants to go out drinking, meet boys, go to parties and not have to worry. Cath, however, feels differently. She would rather stay in her bed writing fanfiction than go out. However, university is a time for new and changing experiences. Cath must decide whether to allow new experiences and people enter her life and discover whether there is more to friendship and romance than she thought before.

Review: I was first introduced to Rainbow Rowell when Eleanor and Park was suddenly everywhere. I was selling many copies at work, the whole blogging world was talking about that book and then, one of my best friends was recommending it and surprised I hadn't read it before her. It was a book I knew I would love before I starting reading the first page. The same goes for FANGIRL. I mean, a book about a geeky girl who starting university amongst people who are far more into the partying side to university than she is? That was pretty much the definition me a year ago. FANGIRL was what I expected and OH SO MUCH BETTER. This review may verge on a geek out and an ongoing ramble at the brilliance of this book so bear with me.

I loved every single word of this book, every single moment, every scene, every character - just my whole experience of reading this book was just pure brilliance. Rowell writes with a depth that allow you to get to know the characters so well. The book is essentially Cath's first year at university, which could have the possibility of becoming boring and long winded. However, the writing becomes so absorbing and engaging that I developed the 'Oh just one more chapter even though it's 3am' syndrome. Suddenly, I was finishing the book and I wanted to go straight back to the beginning and read it all over for the first time again. I became absorbed in Cath's world as well as the world Cath writes fanfiction for with the extracts from her fanfiction scattered throughout the novel, meaning I never wanted this book to end.

The characters assist so excellently to the amazing plot and writing. The cast of this book are all so genuine, realistic and really show the different types of people you find at university. I became quite attached to Cath. She reflects many teenager's inner thoughts and her obsession with Simon Snow and the fanfiction reminding me a lot of the Harry Potter fandom. Reagan, Cath's roommate, was a good addition for her sarcasm and harshness, there really needed to be someone to tell it to the others straight. As many people will agree, Levi was a nice character and so good to see a positive male character in a book. In some ways, I kind of wanted Levi to be real!

I know I keep repeating how relatable this book was, but this is mostly what got me engaged within this novel. Rowell describes Cath's experiences of university without hesitation showing the best and worse parts of moving away from home to study in a great way. It felt a lot like reading an account of my own experiences of the past year from moving to university and getting used to it, the new, exhilarating experiences, the social aspect and the people you meet.

FANGIRL is one of the best novels I have read so far this year. Rowell is a superb writer who keeps improving for me (so looking forward to meeting her at YALC!). She is a writer whose books continue to remind me why I love reading, and one of the best recent voices for young people.
This book is a must for anyone who is starting university in September as a crash course of what to expect. It gets to the heart of what your first year of university consists of - discovering new people and experiences, living independently away from the people you've always been with as well as expressing yourself.

I give it a 5 out of 5

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Geek Girl: Model Misfit - Holly Smale (#2)

*This is the second book in the Geek Girl series so there may be some spoilers for the first book, Geek Girl*

Source: Netgalley
Pages: 356
Publisher: HarperCollins

Synopsis: With a new baby on the way and her summer plans ruined suddenly Harriet decides to take up a modelling job in Japan to get away from home. She knows that she won't ever probably fit into the modelling world but she tries nonetheless to be a 'model'. In Japan, she faces the craziness of Tokyo with some interesting model flatmates, bizarre photo shoots as well as the problem of seeing Nick everywhere she goes. Harriet needs to find herself halfway across the world or maybe she needs to become more like a model. 

Review: About this time last year, I read the first book in this series, Geek Girl. I thought it was brilliant, but most importantly, I thought it was the type of book that is needed for young girls growing up with so many brilliant messages that fulfilled some self-confidence in myself. Following the success of the first book, this is the next book in the series for Harriet Manners - the unlikely geek model.

When I read books, I don't really get very emotionally invested. I don't laugh or cry or get excited when the character's do. However, the GEEK GIRL series are probably the only books that actually make me laugh out loud. I find Harriet hilarious at times and her humour is a lot like mine. This books humour, characters, writing and plot makes me keep reading on and on. I finished this book within two days, which is a record for me and just illustrates how much I liked this book.

Harriet is so unique and real. I can see a lot of myself in her actually. She's this geek that is trying to fit in with a world that both she will never fit in with, but also they don't want to let her try. Although we're not all models, we can all relate to feeling like we can't fit in with a certain world, or group, or stereotype - I know I did when I was younger and at times currently. Reading about Harriet overcoming her issues with her family, with Nick and with her job was great to see and quite inspirational in some ways.

This book is also host to some brilliant, vibrant and creative characters that really shine throughout. Sometimes the humour in books can make the prose and the characters within a plot be placed in the background. However, this book thankfully doesn't do that and I think in some ways the characters make the humour from their brilliantly constructed personalities that are all so unique and different from one another.

Overall, the second book in the GEEK GIRL series was thoroughly enjoyable and I am looking forward to finding out what else is going to happen to Harriet as well as meeting Holly Smale at YALC! GEEK GIRL is such a brilliant series which is just what the world of YA literature needs right now.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

University & Blog Changes

It's been nearly a month since I last posted something on the blog and since then, everything has become a whirlwind in my memory and thinking about all the things I've done in the last month is quite incredible actually!

Most of all, I've finished my first year of university! None of us at university can believe quite how quick the last nine months have shot by and we've all been left a bit dazed by how much has changed, how close we've become considering we've known each other less than a year and by how close moving out of our halls came around. I'm sad it's gone so quickly, I don't think any of us expected that. It's weird because when I was in school and college, I looked forward to summer so much to have a break and be with those I actually wanted to spend time with rather than forced to. However, now I'm at university, I can't wait for the summer to go quickly so I can move back to Bournemouth in September and be in the university environment all over again. It's such a weird and surreal feeling!
For anyone looking at Bournemouth University, I would definitely recommend it, it is a brilliant university that understands students both academically and on a social level.

I've also been elected to be part of a project next year for Nerve Media, the student led media company at Bournemouth University, helping the Online team with the website. This blog certainly helped me get that job which made me realise how grateful I am to have starting the blog regardless of the lack of time I spend on it.

I've decided to kind of change the dynamic of this blog to try and encourage myself to write more on it. My boyfriend (yes, that happened too in the last month) writes a blog where he posts every day about something significant or interesting that happened each day and I really like that idea! I'm going to try and write every few days or at least every week mostly about book related things but occasionally about life, anything of interest really.
I know this is a change that means taking this blog in a different direction and moving away from the 'book blog' aspect. However, at the core of this blog, I will still be a book blogger, just one that writes about other stuff, because books aren't the only thing that I'm interested in! I hope you guys understand this and enjoy what I have to write about, please let me know what kind of things you'd be interested in!

On another note, I am planning my YALC day currently - less than a month to go!