Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

We had a fun and lively discussion about Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl over pizza last Thursday.  Despite some use of foul language, our group seemed to enjoy this book.  The main character was a girl starting her first year of college in a Nebraska dorm with an older roommate.  Cather is one of a set of twins, or she was until her sister, Wren, announced that they should meet new people in college and had already gone shopping with her college roommate, Courtney.  Cath doesn’t want to meet new people, she just wants things to be comfortable and like they have always been.  She and Wren used to love writing Simon Snow Fanficition together and now Wren is acting like she doesn’t care anymore.

Cath almost eats her way through her supply of protein bars before her roommate confronts her and asks, “Do you have an eating disorder?  You never go to the cafeteria, you just sit here eating protein bars.”  Cath finally admits that she doesn’t know where it is.  From then on, her roommate, Reagan takes Cather under her wing and they become friends.

Cather is learning a lot of hard lessons about people and friendships throughout the first semester.  Writing partners and fair use, what constitutes flirting, when is it okay to kiss someone, why can’t she give her own life a happily ever after like she might for Simon Snow?

Rainbow Rowell succeeds in capturing the college freshman experience with humor, and authenticity in Fangirl.

Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst

If you liked the non-stop action of James Patterson’s Angel series, you’ll want to read Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst.  Right away readers know there is something different about Kayla and Durst doesn’t make us wait to find out what; she was born with telekinesis.  This might sound like a great power, but Kayla isn’t supposed to use it because she and her mother are trying to blend in and stay off the radar because Kayla’s father is looking for them.

Things get hairy quickly when Kayla is blackmailed by a mysterious young man who says he needs her help, despite the fact that he has an amazing power too.

This story is full of adventure, action, with a dash of romance and magic too!  Sit back and enjoy the ride!

The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters

Cat Winters second novel seduces readers with the 1900′s craze for the paranormal in this tale about seventeen year old Olivia Mead.  At this turning point in history, when women across America have taken up the cry for suffrage, Olivia’s struggles with her father mirror the larger struggle between the sexes for a political voice.  By incorporating the popular novel, Dracula, which had just been published in the story’s timetable, Cat Winters describes the ferocious humans Olivia must contend with as fanged and blood thirsty monsters.

The fact that Olivia’s father is a dentist also lends itself to the metaphor of voice, and mouth that threads itself throughout the story.  Each section is introduced with a quote from a historical figure, my favorite being, “He had the calm, possessed, surgical look of a man who could endure pain in another person.” – from Mark Twain, Happy Memories of the Dental Chair 1884 and accompanied by a photo, or drawing from that historical time period.

Olivia is quick witted and even when her will is manipulated she is able to succeed and exert herself in the face of those who would silence her.

This historical fiction tale is compelling and has timeless appeal for anyone who has dared to dream.  You’ll want to take this cure.

Beetle Boy by Margaret Willey

The main character of this book is an unusual eighteen year old, Charlie. When we meet him, he is having a nightmare on the pull out sleeper at his girlfriend’s house. As the story unfolds we discover that his mother left the family when he was six and he wanted to comfort his father, so he did the only thing he could think of, he tells his father a bed time story. His father thinks that Charlie made the story up himself and he’s so pleased that Charlie doesn’t admit that the story came from his mother. Soon, Charlie’s father has delusions of grandeur including his son being the world’s youngest published author. From that day Charlie became Beetle Boy and is toted around to author conventions and school performances by his father, until he ‘gets too old’ at 10 and then his little brother is thrust into Charlie’s spot of world’s youngest author (his dad forces him to say his name is Charlie, even though it is Liam). Charlie’s twisted childhood comes unraveled through a series of nightmares, questions posed by his girlfriend, and memories. This is a quick, good read for older teens.

Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock

I just re-read the trilogy of books in this series.  This tale of a mysterious couple is told through a series of post cards and letters.  All three books are lovely pieces of artwork as well as an intriguing story.  Years ago this was a bestseller but I think the unusual format made a pretty gift rather than a classic story (although I think it could be both).

Evidence of Things Not Seen by Lindsey Lane

The story of Tommy’s disappearance is told through 19 chapters narrated by different people. The piece that ties all of the stories together is the pull-out; a small patch of dirt by the Stillwell Ranch. Tommy’s motorbike, Ruby, was found there, as well as notebook pages, goggles, keys by different characters as they tell their stories.
Each character shows, through their tale, the evidence of things not seen within their own lives; sexual abuse, dementia, love, fear, longing, anger and pain.
Even though everyone is talking about Tommy and who he was to them, they reveal who they are as well.
This is a good story to launch a discussion about particle physics, philosophy, religion, human perspective and observation. Evidence of Things Not Seen will keep you wondering even after you close the book.

My favorite quote:

Upon finding a small piece of notebook paper, Karla reads,

“‘Need to tell Alvin that I named my bike Ruby. He said it had to be a girl’s name and match its personality. I don’t think a bike can have a personality. But I found a name that matches the color. And it’s a girl’s name. I looked it up. Yeah. Ruby.’
Karla turns the paper over hoping there’s something else on the other side. She wants to know more about Alvin and Ruby and whoever wrote this funny little not to himself. Or herself. It seems like the stupidest and most important note in the world. She wishes that she had written it.” (p104)

Prince of Shadows: A novel of Romeo and Juliet by Rachel Caine

Cover image

Cover image

Romeo and Juliet were not the only young star crossed lovers in this book. Told from Benvolio’s point of view and through other ‘minor character’ diaries and notes, readers appreciate a greater understanding of fair Verona and the politics of the Capulet’s and Montague’s feuding. The revelation author, Rachel Caine, creates gives this old tale a new twist. Even those who are not well versed in Shakespeare’s classic, Romeo and Juliet will enjoy this story told in a new light.