Archive for February 20th, 2014

Fangirl

Warning: This is apparently not my week for well-reasoning, not insanely squeeing, calm reviews. This is another gush. You have been warned.

All right. So now Laura Florand just got another million zillion bonus points, which catapulted her straight into the stratosphere. Not that she needed it, because I mean, she’s going to have to stay in the stratosphere or risk being shot into outer space where it’s supposedly cold with no chocolate. At least in the stratosphere we can send up balloons or something. Wait, I think it’s cold up there too. Oops. Well. Balloons with sweaters then. 

Why?

She called out Fangirl as being a really good read on her blog.

I’m always a bit leary of recs by authors I love. For example, much as I truly, deeply adore Ilona Andrews, I think Ilona’s personal preference runs a bit darker and grittier than mine. I read a book she recced and it was excellent. It was really, really good — but I didn’t love it and I got a hint that she probably wouldn’t rec something that would grab my heart.

So you’re asking why if it was really good why I’m whining.

Well, because it’s a little bit disappointing in a way. Probably because I’m a diva writer and I get really frustrated by how elusive all of this is. The whole clicking with something. It’s like dating, except with lower stakes. Except monetarily but you know what I mean. At least you don’t need to apologize to a book if it’s a DNF. Something can be all about what you like, can have pretty prose, can have strong characters that resonate with you — and still not yank at your gut. So if I adore a writer and yet I don’t adore what they like — what does that mean?

Yes, asides from the fact that we are all special snowflakes with idiosyncrasies and things that make us individuals.

To me it just reminds me of how hard things can be. On both ends, you know? The writer wanting to put forth love and be loved. The readers wanting to love and be loved. It’s like watching speed dating. So much possibility and then it all turns to ash.

Anyway!

Back to the amazing and the wonderful.

Fangirl.

To be honest, part of what made this for me is that I don’t write fanfiction. I absolutely don’t get it. Which is why I love the prof’s take on it. I love Reagan’s response of “oh god, shoot me now, I can’t even watch”. I loved how the girls were very aware at how fanfiction is perceived and how crazy it all seems sometimes, and yet it was their world and their love and so they sank into it anyway. The funny thing is? I thought Cath’s fanfiction was way better than the supposed original stuff in the book. Miles and miles better. Not that that’s surprising. There’s a lot of truly amazing fanfiction out there that the original writers can only dream of matching. I just loved how Rainbow was really good about bringing both facets to life and presenting the two sides of the coin.

Which, by the way, Amazon reviewer who said Reagan is a mean, nasty roommate? Did you read the same story I did?

Cath. I adore Cath. Cath is me. Well, more afraid me, which is kind of depressing and frightening if you really think about it, but me.

Why do I write? To disappear. To escape. So I don’t have to be in this world anymore. So I can create something beautiful and amazing and wonderful and keep my eyes closed until I’m forced to open them.

I’m also an introvert. Not as painfully so as her, but I totally get the “please don’t talk to me I don’t know how to respond oh god oh god oh god”.

Also the fear. I get that fear. I cracked up about the “rapey” comment and that was it for me. I knew it would be nothing but beautiful for me after that and it was. Then Cath said something about the tip of the “crazy iceberg” and I was in love for life.

Fangirl is also …so very much a product of the now. Googling about your period. Having ten million friends and 99% of them you’ve only met online. That whole thing of being a big name in fandom. Where you can just sink into the online world and never come up again. And the story is beautiful because Rainbow doesn’t take the easy way out. It’s not portrayed as bad or lesser, just an alternative. Rainbow makes you understand why Cath is the way she is and then before you start nodding your head about how after all that pain it makes sense to hide away forever, she brings in Levi and Reagan.

(Reagan): “I feel sorry for you and I’m going to be your friend.”

“I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”

“Me, too,” Reagan said. “I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”

It’s like watching Snow White being kissed awake. Exactly like it, in fact.

Cath is wounded and broken, but she owns her brokenness and she tries her best to cope with it. She’s not the stereotypical nerd girl who wants or gets a makeover. She’s sarcastic, funny, and she kicks ass even as she makes me want to pull her in for a hug. She’s more than a match for Reagan and that’s clear, which is a lovely thing.

All the little details. All the things that hit you in the gut. All the things Rainbow got right. Like the explanation of Cath and her twin’s name. An entire backstory about her family opens up and you get the picture but you only have two pieces of information. It’s magic. It’s absolutely awe inspiring.

By the way? I feel like I should apologize for how much I’ve thrown around the word “love” in these last two posts. I should find a thesaurus or something. I think I’ve gone beyond cheapening that word in the reader’s mind. But I do and there’s no other word for it. I’m sorry.

All the little details. Cath’s father mock-complaining that living with two shippers is ruining other movies for him because all he sees is the slash, all over the place. Reagan saying: “If God put me into your life to keep you from wearing a fucking tail, I accept the assignment.” The absolute sweetness of Cath reading to Levi.

Speaking of Levi? I get what Laura means by he does one of her least-favorite kind of screwups now and I just want to laugh because I know how Laura’s men would response to what happened then. They would never ever make the kind of mistake Levi did. It’s just not in them.

So now I’m going to go tweet more love at Laura about how much I adore her for introducing Rainbow to me. Hopefully I don’t scare her off with the crazy-affection-puppy-love. Then I’m going to go download all of Rainbow’s backlist. Then I’m going to try very hard to go back to writing my own stuff and not read all of them today. It’s only 4pm. It’s possible. As I said to Laura: “I inhaled it in one sitting. Didn’t come up for air or food and only answered the call of nature because it was screaming in my ear.”

Don’t judge, but I totally brought the Ipad into the bathroom with me.

Download the kindle sample at least. Try very hard not to fall in love with it. Then come back and tell me if you loved it or if you hated it or it left you meh.