Monday, October 5, 2015

Rainbow Rowell {Book Discussion}

Welcome back to one of our favorite posts, book club discussion posts! For September we decided to reread all of the books by one of our favorite authors, Rainbow Rowell. Her new book, Carry On, comes out tomorrow so we wanted to revisit some favorites before the new release! As always, we don't do traditional reviews. Instead we get together to discuss the things we loved and hated and there is the possibility of spoilers.

Make no mistake, any of these books is an A+ pick according to us! If you haven't read anything by Rainbow Rowell, I highly recommend picking one of these up. If young adult isn't your thing, Attachments or Landline is a great place to start. I will post the descriptions of each book before we get into the discussion!

Eleanor & Park 
Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . "

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now- reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ?

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn't expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts...

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, 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 sister, 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 fan fiction, 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 fan fiction 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? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Rainbow Rowell books in GIF form

Bonus Image that Describes the reading experience: 


Ok then let's get started! Rainbow Rowell book discussion is starting!

I'm going to start out by saying Rainbow is my absolute, most favorite author, ever so there is going to be a lot of squeeling and fangirling with this discussion.  

Agreed! I think this was the reread I was most excited for. I remembered really loving all the books when we first read them but it was awesome to go back and remember exactly how much. It was probably the coolest to see how I was able to relate to each one in different ways! 

Let's start with Eleanor and Park. Maybe the best book about falling in love for the first time and how bad that first heartbreak affects you, yes? 

Oh man, I agree. I could probably reread these on a loop and always feel silly happy.  

YES! In my opinion, E&P is the most beautiful of the stories.  E doesn't come from the best home life and the way P rescues her as his heart breaks just gives you so much faith in humanity. People doing the right thing for someone they love and care about without expecting anything in return.  Even though E had been through so much I think this whole experience was even more eye opening to the much sheltered P.  This books just makes me want to hold hands with someone!

Yes! It was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time! The description of how it feels to hold hands kind of really brings you back to when that was the most exciting and kind of sexy thing you could do before you really got into sex and all that. I also felt like I could relate to E in this book as my home life wasn't great (not as bad as hers in any way!) but it brought back all those feelings of when you are so helpless to change your circumstances at such a young age. But man, the love between E & P just felt so real and authentic, not like something you find everyday. 

I would say next up is Attachments, my personal favorite of all Rainbow Rowell's books. 

Gahhhh! Every time I think I can pick a favorite, I just can't! But I did really relate to Attachments.  I love the writing style of this book, mostly a collection of email correspondence between two 20 something besties (Jennifer & Beth) trying to navigate their personal lives.  There is still so much to figure out in your 20's. You feel way more experienced in life but yet there is so much to learn still and so many chooses to make.  And yet you still have to deal with how your past decisions/baggage determine our future and all that good stuff. I cried with Jennifer while her and her husband went through the "do we or don't we have a kid" decision because THAT relates so close to my own life. That is such a big decision with absolutely no right answer or any reassurance that anything will turn out the way you hope.  I also cried with Beth because it does seem devastating when something you had planned for years to work out and then you have to make the right decision for yourself. I mostly cried at her strength of knowing herself well enough to make such a life change.  I think this book is perfect for any 20 something trying to just navigate life. 

I think Attachments was relateable for all the reasons you said. We are also the same age as the characters so it did feel like the struggles they are going through were spot on for things we deal with and talk about all the time. It also inspired us to literally talk all day on Gchat so I feel like this book inspired me the most in real life too. I also really liked the struggle of Lincoln really trying to find himself and letting go of past baggage was really something I struggled with in my later 20s. I could seriously read this book over and over! 
Next up let's tackle Landline! 

I think Landline is the most relateable to my life simply because I'm in a long term relationship and I know the struggle of keeping things fresh and not taking each other for granted.  It is super easy to fall into relationship ruts.  I think I'm going to have to quote the author on this one because she really hits it head on on how it would feel going through a divorce/split:

“You don't know when you're twenty-three.
You don't know what it really means to crawl into someone else's life and stay there. You can't see all the ways you're going to get tangled, how you're going to bond skin to skin. How the idea of separating will feel in five years, in ten - in fifteen. When Georgie thought about divorce now, she imagined lying side by side with Neal on two operating tables while a team of doctors tried to unthread their vascular systems.
She didn't know at twenty-three.”

This book makes me want to fight for my relationship so hard, even when one of us sucks. haha!

That quote is one of my hands down favorites in almost any book! I can totally see how it related to your life the most! As someone who got divorced, I related to the thought of separation and how it's a bunch of little things through the years that kind of add up. Not to get in too much detail, but in my case I don't think I ever felt that way about my spouse so that might be a good indicator that we didn't fit together right. I think I could relate to the struggle of knowing things are sliding in that direction and not really knowing how to stop it. I also loved how the ending wasn't a tidy ending, you could tell that they still had problems to work through, but Georgie making the big grand gesture was a huge step in the right direction. Also Georgie McCool is the most awesome name and she also has my dream job of TV writer. 
Last up we have Fangirl! 

Relationships are messy and sometimes just making a little effort is worth more than you can imagine. And yea, Georgie McCool is pretty  much the coolest character ever!

Oh Fangirl. I have two things to say about this one and I have a feeling you are probably getting tired of me referencing the first one, but I don't even care!  1. EMERGENCY KAYNE DANCE PARTIES! When life doesn't go your way, you might as well turn up the Kayne and dance all your problems away.  2. I need a Levi in my life STAT! If I would imagine the perfect boyfriend, it would be Levi. The way he would just grab Cath, put her on his lap and request her to read to him melts my heart so much. Sometimes a girl just wants to read her stories  with the one she loves, you know?

I do think Rainbow Rowell has this amazing gift for capturing the messy and heartbreaking and just amazing parts of love and loving someone. It's a gift that not many authors have! 

And I will never get tired of you referencing EMERGENCY KANYE DANCE PARTIES! .I feel like these are something we will start having when things go good for us! And yes, Levi is basically the best. The way he just understood what Cath needed to open up, he was just there for her and so patient. He is literally a dream boyfriend! I also loved the sister dynamic of this book. I think it was something I could relate to with my relatoinships with my sisters, and it also made me look forward to some growing pains my twins might have when they are that age. Plus Cath and Wren are two awesome twin names. 

I agree on incorporating EMERGENCY KAYNE DANCE PARTIES into our lives on the reg.  And I did enjoy the sister relationship, how they needed different things. I have a sister but not one that is super close in age, so I couldn't relate completely, but I did relate with Cath being so brutally shy. I'm not certain how I would have handled the dorm situation at her age, especially without someone helping me.  I laugh  and feel dumb every time when I think about their names. You know, Cath and Wren = Catherine! Freaking classic Rainbow!

I like that we relate to different things in the books but we both still find them applicable to our lives. I think Rainbow is just magic in the way she captures life and love. It's so unique and real that I feel like isn't found in a lot of books. I am excited to check out Carry On tomorrow and read more about the world of the Mages that we got a taste of in Fangirl! 
Any last minute thoughts before we wrap up?

I agree that when Rainbow writes it is like magic. She is absolutely great at character development. There is no author I would even compare her to.  And I did find it interesting to see how differently we related to them. I felt like we were in constant contact while rereading these too!

I am also super pumped to check out Carry On.  I really have no idea what to expect since this will be her first fantasy novel but I'm sure she will blow us away. 

My overall feeling for Rainbow and her work is "EEEEEEEEEKKKKKKK!", and I think I'm going to leave it at that.  Readers, make some spare time in your life to read her books.   They are super quick and super heart warming. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!  


I agree, she is a must-read author. I will pre-order any of her books without even reading a description, that's how good she is! And I don't pre-order books ever!

If you decide to pick up one of these, or have already read one, let's chat about it in the comments! If you are in the St. Louis area and want to join us for the Rainbow Rowell book discussion on October 27nd, let us know. You can also check out her website for other cities she is coming to.