Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve been having trouble in the past week or two finding motivation to read, which is embarrassing and hard for me to say because reading is my thing. Maybe it’s because real life has been so busy, but I think a huge part of it is that I haven’t been connecting with books that I’ve been reading. So I decided that maybe it’s a good idea for me to reread books that I love but haven’t written about yet. So here we are with book one of the “Get Michelle to Love Reading Again” Initiative: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

Cath’s entire world revolves around Simon Snow, a fictional series created by Gemma T Leslie (think Harry Potter but darker). Cath and her twin sister, Wren, grew up loving the books, constantly rereading them, talking about them on online forums, and writing incredible amounts of fan fiction dedicated to Simon Snow. However, as they enter into college, Wren decides she needs to branch out more, leaving Cath behind with only the fandom to keep her company.  We see Cath struggle through freshman year of college, including difficult classes, problems with her dad at home, and a tough roommate who has a “boyfriend” that is always hanging around. Through it all, we’re rooting for Cath to realize she too can be happy. Guess you’ll have to read it to see if that happens!

I really love Fangirl a lot. It’s incredibly well written – Rainbow Rowell really knows just how to transport you into someone’s mind. When Cath was experiencing all those awkward freshman year moments, it felt like I was reliving that tough time as well. It was nice to know I wasn’t alone in the suffering! I love that there are excerpts of both the “real” Simon Snow series and of Cath’s fan fiction in this novel. It was nice to have those little breaks in reality. I’d love to read full length versions of both those things!

This is 100% YA fiction and it is wonderful. Worth a read if you’ve ever gotten so entrenched in a fandom that there’s no end in sight – haven’t we all been there?

The Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie

The Matched trilogy is a classic dystopian YA novel in which life is absolutely “perfect” because the Society plans and chooses everything for their citizens, including their life partners. When Cassia is matched with her best friend, Xander, it seems as though her future will be ideal. However, when she checks her Match data card later and sees another boy’s face, she begins to doubt the Society and the future they have planned for her. This trilogy follows the stories of Cassia, Xander, and Ky, the mysterious boy on the data card, as they grapple with questions of love, survival, and choice.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this trilogy. At times, the story lines could be a bit convoluted, but overall this was well-written. The romance aspect is definitely a key element to this series, but I enjoyed it and thought that the dynamics between the characters were especially engaging. I really enjoy reading dystopian novels because they really push me to think about the future I’m headed towards. Although I would not call this an intellectual novel, this book definitely made me think more about control and perfection within society and that’s always a good thing.

Bottom line: If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games/Divergent Series, try this trilogy.