Short review: ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A YA novel with the characters in college is the first big draw on this one. Cather and her twin sister Wren are freshmen at University of Nebraska, struggling to establish their own identities and pushing each other away in the process. Great voice throughout this novel, with a fascinating look at the world of fanfiction. I loved everything about this book and have already been recommending it to John Green fans. What a great year 2013 is with two books (Eleanor & Park published earlier) from Rainbow Rowell!

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My favorite books of 2013 — so far

Halfway through the year and I have 11 favorite books published this year. It’s simply been a great year for books. Or at least for books that I like and can enthusiastically recommend to readers. Here the list of My favorite books of 2013 (so far)  in my library’s catalog, with the books in no particular order, but still looking all pretty and official (shiny book covers and it being in a library catalog and all).

Here’s the list as a list, with some order to it. By age group and then alphabetical:

Two middle-grade novels:
Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

Two YA novels:
Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Seven general fiction:
Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Truth in Advertising by John Kenney
The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman
Tenth of December by George Saunders
We Live in Water by Jess Walter
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer

I truly do love nonfiction, but this first half of the year was solidly fiction.

Short review: ‘I Love You, Beth Cooper’

I Love You, Beth Cooper
By Larry Doyle

I kid you not, this is seriously the funniest book I’ve read in the last four years. During his graduation night speech, Denis Cooverman, valedictorian at Buffalo Grove High School, urges his fellow classmates to leave with no regrets for the things they wanted to say but could not. Our hero pauses for dramatic effect, and then blurts out, “I love you, Beth Cooper.” Beth — voted Most Popular and Best Looking by 513 BGHS seniors – is, predictably, a cheerleader; Denis’s team of choice is debate and his recreational reading includes the Journal of Juvenile Oncology. Graduation night heads a different direction after Denis’s memorable speech, and soon Beth and her two sidekicks are meeting up with Denis and his best friend, Rich (who, he says, is not gay and who also makes reference to his “female fiancée” who works at Hooter’s). The characters and plot may be a tad predictable, but I laughed so much I’m not sure I noticed.

The author wrote for The Simpsons, Beavis and Butt-Head, and Daria. (He also writes for The New Yorker, but since those articles are too long, I am more familiar with his multi media endeavors.) I Love You, Beth Cooper is packed with lines to savor and quote, just like an episode of The Simpsons. This is total movie material in the spirit of Dazed and Confused, and it didn’t surprise me at all to see that the book was optioned and may hit the big screen in 2009.

Here’s Dave Barry’s blurb on the back cover: “This book made me laugh out loud. I’m not saying it will make you laugh out loud. But I am saying that if it doesn’t, something is wrong with you.”