The Mama’s #CBR5 Review #59: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

attachmentsRead this book. Stop what you’re doing, right now, and go to the library/bookstore/Amazon/interwebs and get your hands on this. Stop reading whatever you’re reading right now, and go read this.

I read Fangirl quite by accident, stumbling across it on Netgalley, and I picked up Attachments at the library on Saturday. I started it a Sunday afternoon. I finished it Monday night. The only reason I didn’t finish is Sunday night is because I’m a mom and first-day-of-school, last minute sewing had to take precedence.

Attachments is Rowell’s first novel, and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read. Half the book is nothing but emails between Beth, a movie reviewer at the local paper, and her friend Jennifer, one of the newspaper’s copy editors. The other half is the story of Lincoln, the night IT guy, hired mainly to help the paper limp through Y2K. As we all know, Y2K turned out to be a whole lot of nothing, and Lincoln finds himself reading Beth and Jennifer’s emails. He becomes, well, attached to Beth, to her stories and her life, and finds himself falling in love with her sight unseen.

Rowell is a clever, smart writer. Her prose is simple but beautiful and her story is perfect. I’m a little mad at myself that I didn’t listen to all the Cannonballers who were gushing over her, and that I waited as long as I did to read her work. And I’m a little more mad that I’ve already blown through all three of her novels and I have to wait like everyone else to see what she’s going to write next.

Read more here…

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Jen K’s #CBR5 Review #66: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

I heard about this novel due to various reviews over at the Cannonball 5 site. I probably would have never even heard of this otherwise although I did recently notice that her other novel, Eleanor and Park was on an end cap display. The novel is set in late 1999, and focuses on three different characters. Of those three, I would describe Lincoln as the main character since half of the chapters are from his perspective. I gained insight into all three, but knew more details about what exactly was going through Lincoln’s head. The book alternates between chapters from Lincoln’s perspective, and an email exchange between Jennifer and Beth. All three work at a newspaper in Nebraska, Jennifer as a copy editor, Beth in the entertainment section, and Lincoln is the IT guy. Since this is 1999, the company is worried about Y2K. The time frame also means that the company can still get away with being fairly technology-phobic, having only recently been convinced that things like the internet are around to stay. Part of Lincoln’s job is to monitor email usage and flagged messages which may appear due to a variety of flagged words or even frequency of emails. It is as a result of this work duty that Lincoln first gets to know Jennifer and Beth.

Read the rest here.

The Mama’s #CBR5 Review #38: Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

fangirlIt’s no secret that Rainbow Rowell is one of the darlings of the Cannonballer Read crew, and now I understand why. I haven’t gotten around to reading Eleanor & Park or Attachments, but after reading Fangirl, which I stumbled across quite accidentally on NetGalley, I’ve bumped them up to the top of my Goodreads list.

Cath and Wren are twins, off to their first year of college. For Wren, it’s an exciting time, a time to reinvent herself, find herself, experiment with freedom, be independent. For Cath, it’s a struggle. Wren doesn’t want to be joined at the hip any more, and Cath isn’t sure what to do without her. She throws herself in to the only thing she knows she can do – writing fan fiction. As it turns out, Cath and Wren are the anonymous authors of a very successful fanfic series starring Simon Snow, who, from the snippets Rowell gives us, appears to be a Harry Potter-esque character with a little bit of vampire love thrown in for good measure. Wren has abandoned Simon, but Cath can’t leave him, not until she finishes writing his story.

Read more here…

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #61: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Expected publication: September 10th, 2013

Cather and Wren are twins (their mother hadn’t planned on twins but always wanted to name a girl Catherine – so just split the name). Their whole life has been spent together, sharing a room, sharing interests, especially their love of Simon Snow (think basically Harry Potter, if Draco was his room mate, and also a vampire). Cath and Wren write fan fic read by tens of thousands of fans, while everyone awaits the release of the eight and final Simon Snow book. Cath doesn’t really think much will change when they go off to college, but then  Wren declares that she wants to live in a different dorm from Cath, and spends most of her time having the crazy party girl freshman experience, leaving Cath anxious and adrift in a new and confusing place.

Cath isn’t even sure she wants to be at college. She’s worried about their father, who manages fine most of the time, when his girls remind him to eat, and do the dishes, and the laundry. His mental health really isn’t as stable as it ought to be, and Cath doesn’t think he should be by himself. For the first couple of weeks, she barely even leaves her dorm room, just holes up and eats energy bars, goes to lectures and continues her fan fiction grand opus.

More on my blog. 

ElCicco #CBR5 Review #26: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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I loved this YA novel about a couple of 16 year olds falling in love over comic books and music in mid-1980s Omaha. This novel has broad appeal — for teens because it deals with typical themes of angst, being misunderstood, dealing with obnoxious peers and parents who seem not to know you at all. For their parents, who were teens in the ’80s, it’s a wonderful trip back to the time when The Smiths were new music and The Watchmen was just coming out in weekly installments.

Eleanor is an unusual girl who stands out from the moment she gets on the bus. Her size (larger than other girls), her hair (long red curls) and her clothes (mens clothing accessorized with ribbons, patches and safety pins) make her an immediate target. No one will let her sit down and Park, who has been listening to his Walkman and trying not to get involved, is not eager to give up the empty spot next to him until the tension becomes all too much and he says to her, “Jesus-fuck … just sit down” and makes room. Not exactly an auspicious beginning to a romance. But as the weeks roll by, Park notices that as he reads his comics, Eleanor is reading them, too. Eventually, he has the nerve to speak with her, discuss and share music and comics with her and fall in love.

This sounds pretty blasé and mundane, but it isn’t for a few reasons. First, Eleanor’s home situation is rough. She has only just returned home after her step-father kicked her out for a year. Second, Eleanor and her family (mom, step-father and four other sibs) are poor. She doesn’t have a toothbrush, soap, proper food. etc. Third, Park is Korean-American in a very white all-American town. His father was a soldier and spent time in Korea, where he met and married his mother. Fourth, Park does not quite measure up to his father’s standards and he knows it. Finally, Park is on good terms with most of the cool kids at school, the complete opposite of Eleanor. Both Eleanor and Park feel that they have to hide their relationship, and for Eleanor in particular there is real danger in her parents’ discovering it.

The writing is so wonderful, I didn’t want to put this down until I had finished. Rowell can make you laugh and want to cry along with her protagonists. On Park’s quirkiness: “Park hated football. He cried when his dad took him pheasant hunting. Nobody in the neighborhood could ever tell who he was dressed as on Halloween. (‘I’m Doctor Who.’ ‘I’m Harpo Marx.’ ‘I’m Count Floyd.’)” Eleanor’s impression of Park’s car: “The Impala might not look pervy on the outside … but the inside was a different story. The front seat was almost as big as Eleanor’s bed, and the backseat was an Erica Jong novel just waiting to happen.” My favorite scene involves Park and his mother on Christmas Eve, after they’ve seen Eleanor and her family at the supermarket. Park’s mother had thought of Eleanor as a weird white girl and wasn’t pleased that Park was bringing her home after school. After seeing that Eleanor’s family is large and poor, like her own family had been, she tells Park, “I’m sorry for how I welcomed your Eleanor.”

This is a really wonderful novel not just for teens but for anyone who went to high school and fell in love, and for anyone who was young in the 1980s. And now I really wish I could find my old mix tapes!

Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 23: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Unknown-2Rainbow Rowell. Make a note of the name.

In the past few weeks, I’ve read her two novels (I recently raved about the divine Attachments), and both have left me wanting more. MORE. MORE!

Like Attachments, Eleanor & Park takes place in Nebraska. While Attachments took place mainly in 1999, this book takes place in 1986, the era of the Smiths and the Cure and all of that other wonderful music I listened to in high school (I’m guessing Rainbow and I are around the same age).

Eleanor is a new student at Park’s school, and she sticks out like a sore thumb. Bigger than the other girls (convinced she’s fat, but I’m not so sure), with bright red unruly hair, and a fashion sense designed to take notice away from her torn and old thrift store clothes (and her thrift store clothes aren’t because she thinks they are cool, its all her family can afford). She’s got a tough life at home: 5 kids in one bedroom, a drunk and violent stepfather, and a mother that is afraid to step up for her daughter. Eleanor was kicked out of the house last year, and is only just returning to her family, just to find that its worse than when she was there before.

The scenes in her house really, really bummed me out.

Meanwhile, Park is her new seat-mate on the school bus. Half-Korean and totally punk rock, Park initially has no idea what to make of Eleanor. But slowly and surely, he finds that they have much in common.

They start sharing comics (their bonding over The Watchmen was truly a beautiful thing), and Park makes her tapes of music that he thinks she’ll like. Smiths, The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen. And Joy Division.

I loved the part of the book where they just talked about why they love Love Will Tear Us Apart. Heartbreaking and amazing.

Their relationship slowly builds until they can’t stand being apart. The need they have for each other overtakes everything else in their lives, and its lovely to read along and see their relationship progress.

But, because the book starts out at the end, we know that things aren’t going to end well for these two.

I wish I could have stayed in the middle of this book for much longer. The beginning was great, and the ending was depressing. But the middle was simply perfect.

Favorite scene: It killed me when Park’s mom got tipsy on wine coolers and gave him an Avon Lady gift to give Eleanor for Christmas. The talk they had about her previous life and how it might be similar to Eleanor’s brought me to tears.

Thank you Rainbow Rowell. I can’t wait to read what you write next (Fangirl, out in September).

You can read more of my reviews on my blog.

Sophia’s #CBR5 Review #28: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

AttachmentsAttachments (2011) by Rainbow Rowell is probably a book I never would have found if it weren’t for my fellow Cannonball reviewers. And I’m so glad they recommended it. This novel was a fun, sweet story filled with normal, likable people, and I really enjoyed it.

Lincoln is in his late-twenties and is kind of lost. He’s still getting over his first love from high school, he lives with his mom, he has no direction, and he is making no effort to change his life. When he gets a job as IT security and starts policing the company’s e-mails he discovers Jennifer and Beth, best friends whose gossip-y e-mails are entertaining and fun. Knowing that he’s treading on questionably ethical ground, Lincoln continues to read their e-mails as he begins to fall for Beth.

And here’s the rest of my review.