Archive of ‘Entertainment’ category

#MusicMonday: The Maine, American Candy

TheMaine-AmericanCandy_AlbumArt-Itunes

Bringing you a very late #MusicMonday because The Maine has just released their new album American Candy. If there is one thing I love in music, it is great progression. For bands in the pop/rock genre, it is frequently the lack of progression that makes me lose interest. As far as progression goes, The Maine has done it better than any other and American Candy is no exception.

American Candy vowed to be an album that would be the best collection of sounds from the band’s previous albums but still very original. If The Maine has proven anything, it is that they are never short on originality. Since the release of Pioneer, The Maine has released music that is genuine, smart, and kick-ass. American Candy is everything I hoped it would be.

The album intertwines the best of The Maine. We can hear cheeky pop tunes that are vaguely reminiscent of their Black and White days. Dark, twisted lyrics that remind us of their most recent release Forever Halloween. Still though, there is an untouched sound found in this album. American Candy sounds like summer. Turn this album on, roll your windows down, and live because that is the listening experience that American Candy craves.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if you wrote The Maine off as a cheap pop/rock act, rethink everything you’ve ever known. This band remains one of the most talented and originals acts around.

The Maine, American Candy: 4.5/5

Music Monday: The Weekly Playlist

music monday 5 songs january 2015

And so the weekly playlist beings. Here are five songs for the week on January 5th. Make a playlist with these tunes and repeat it while driving because that is exactly what I will be doing. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Cage The Elephant: Cigarette Daydreams

Twenty One Pilots: Fake You Out

Young The Giant: Mind Over Matter

Bleachers: You’re Still a Mystery

Taylor Swift: New Romantics

This Week in The World of Sam

warped and monumentour

Hello everyone!

This weekend is going to be chaotic and filled with music and good times. On Saturday, today, I am heading with my friends to go see Fall Out Boy and Paramore on Monumentour in Tampa. Then, right from there, we are heading to Orlando to crash at my cousins house and then go directly to Warped Tour on Sunday.

If you are going to Warped this weekend and need some last minute tips, check out this post where I shared mine.

I cannot wait to review the Tampa Monumentour show and share my Warped experience. Look out for my upcoming posts about these shows within the next week.

Results and Thoughts: Alternative Press Music Awards

Alternative Press, a magazine dedicated to the appreciation of underground, alternative music, held their first annual awards show on Monday evening. The APMAs were truly unlike any awards show and felt like a positive experience overall for the community.The evening was hosted by Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, rightfully, and was filled with performances, results and dedications, and a bit of debauchery.

The categories and winners were as follows:

Best Vocalist presented by Victory Records – Brendon Urie, Panic! At The Disco
Best Live Band presented by Vans Warped Tour – Pierce The Veil
Breakthrough Band presented by Beats Music – Crown The Empire
Best Bassist presented by Dyin 2 Live – Jaime Preciado, Pierce The Veil
Best International Band presented by Zepeda Brothers Productions – Bring Me The Horizon
Artist Philanthropic Award presented by Sub City/Take Action – All Time Low
Best Guitarist presented by Gibson – Phil Manansala, Of Mice & Men
Vanguard Award presented by AXS TV – Billy Corgan
Best Drummer presented by DW Drums – Mike Fuentes, Pierce The Veil
Icon Award presented by Blackstar Amplification – Joan Jett
Most Dedicated Fans presented by Fearless Records – Black Veil Brides
Guitar Legend Award presented by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – Slash
Song Of The Year presented by Epitaph Records – All Time Low w/Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil
Album Of The Year presented by Journeys – Bring Me The Horizon, Sempiternal
Artist Of The Year presented by Monster Energy – Fall Out Boy

Overall, the results seemed to depict what I had initially expected from the voting fans. The event being fan voted was the intention of the event. The slogan for the evening was “Your awards show. Your vote. Your night.” and though I appreciated this aspect, I felt as though it led some bands who deserved awards to get snubbed.

One band I wanted to see take an award home was Twenty One Pilots. The Ohio natives have blown up in the scene this past year with their album Vessel and deserved recognition.

Additionally,  I wanted to see an award go to Paramore for their self-titled album because this album has truly redefined Paramore as a band and music in the scene entirely. I would have also liked A Day to Remember to take home an award for Common Courtesy. That being said though, I am very pleased that Bring Me the Horizon won for best album. Sempiternal was one album that has been in released in the past year that should complete artistic talent and individuality.

As for next year, I hope to see voting done differently so that it feels fair. I do like the idea of fans voting, but it leaves lots of room for bands that don’t promote enough or bands that have fans that aren’t as inclined to sit on their computers and vote all day.

That being said, I really enjoyed the APMAs and cannot wait to see how this awards show improves as time goes on. For this genre of music, this event is a positive and progressive movement.

What did you think of the APMAs? What do you want to see next year?

New Series: Finding Carter

on-air-tv-promotion-finding-carter-600-69075

When I saw the previews start to surface for Finding Carter, I was thoroughly intrigued by the concept of the show. The plot revolves around a 16 year old girl, Carter, who discovers that the mother she has known all her life is actually her kidnapper. While the plot was refreshing, and certainly more real than some of the “reality” television that MTV broadcasts, I still felt wary knowing that this show could end in one of those “wow, that plot could have been done really well” type of shows. Even so, as the show premiered last evening, I sat down to watch all two hours of this new teen drama.

The episode started off refreshing as a witty teenager who actually gets along with her mother (first big shock) heads out for a night with friends. Much to my surprise, MTV actually depicted what typical teenagers would do on a night out. The gang broke into a closed carousel, one of Carter’s friends smoking weed, and (as the perfectly typical cherry on top) a discussion of friends with benefits even ensued. The evening ends in the arrest of the group, leading the police to finally discover Carter who had been missing since she was three.

The title character, Carter, is played by the wonderful Kathryn Prescott (who you may remember from the original British Skins). When I say wonderful, I mean she is the lead of the show for a reason. Prescott, who is 23 in real life, plays the 16 year old as if she was an actual 16 year old girl. It is demeaning sometimes how shows depict all teens and young adults as if they have no feelings or emotions that really matter. The dynamics of Carter alone will keep me coming back to this show.

I cannot only commend Prescott, though, because all of the characters show much more depth than of any show adapted for teens has recently. Carter’s birth mother Elizabeth (played by Cynthia Watros) is a strong, determined woman. So far, in the premier and the following episode that played consecutively after, Elizabeth has only been focused on finding the woman that kidnapped Carter, whom Carter still refers to as “mom”. This adds tremendous depth to the story and leads us to wonder is Carter truly better off with her “real” family? The lingering question of Carter’s seemingly fit mother’s intentions when she kidnapped her is thickening as well and I for one cannot wait for the official revelation of her motive.

The most brilliant aspect of this new drama is how it incorporates true feelings, emotions, and story lines in with teenage drama that inevitably comes. The females characters on Finding Carter are not just viewed as “weak” or “strong”, but actual complex individuals, both the mothers and daughters. This aspect, as well as the depth of the other characters on the show, will keep me coming back for more. As far as teen dramas go, Finding Carter feels the most engaging of the many that air.

 

 

Photo by: Coloribus

Album Review: The Maine- Forever Halloween Deluxe Edition

the maine FH deluxe

I often think back to the Can’t Stop Won’t Stop days of The Maine and sit baffled. This band never fails to impress me with something new. I don’t know why I keep questioning that they won’t be able to top their latest work. At this point, the only option is to embrace the sheer brilliance that is The Maine.

That being said, Forever Halloween was a fantastic album. Since I never posted the review on this site, take my word for it, Forever Halloween was The Maine’s best album to date. Although I was sure nothing could top Pioneer, I was totally wrong. This re-release did just that again.

I was pretty skeptical of a re-release because sometimes they can feel, frankly, pointless. The point of this re-release was very clear. If The Maine hadn’t sold you on the power and solidity of their rock roots yet, after listening to this re-release there is no way around it.

The deluxe edition features five new songs that are a perfect mix of punk influences (see Ice Cave if you don’t believe me) and familiar pop-rock tunes from The Maine. Although the sound of these songs is very familiar to the band, they are nothing like we have heard before. These songs are pure rock and roll. I am a firm believer that this band will never stop impressing me.

If The Maine fell off of your radar, stop what you’re doing and put them back on. This re-release only has me craving more from this talented quintet. I have learned, and hopefully you have to, that this band is capable of anything. Of the five tracks, those that are most standout to me are Ice Cave, a fan favorite from live performances that finally has the studio release it deserves, and Bliss, a rock tune that’s pop influences are comfortably woven through. So Criminal, the first of the five, is probably the best mix of the band’s former work with their more recent releases. The sound of this song feels like The Maine.

It always seems that the everlasting question that arises with The Maine is: what more can they really do? This release coupled with that of the original Forever Halloween debunks all skepticism that I may have had lingering (though, at this point, it was slim to none).

 

The Maine- Forever Halloween Deluxe Edition: 10/10

Music Mondays: Rainy Day Playlist

If there is one thing certain about Florida in the summer… it is the rain. Yeah, you thought I was going to speak about the heat or perpetual sunshine, but that would be a lie. If you live in Florida you know that every summer day around 3pm, a torrential downpour ensues.

Here are a few music selections to hold you over on these rainy days, especially if you are stuck on a drive around this time of day.

 

  1.  Drown- Front Porch Step

Front Porch Step is the perfect rainy day band. Just play any of their songs and you will feel nostalgic, which is like the poster feeling of a rainy day.

  1. Raining In Paris- The Maine

Okay, I couldn’t resist. The song title literally has the word “raining” in it. The fact remains, though, that John O’Callaghan’s voice has a slow rasp that fills in perfectly between rain droplets.

  1. Wide Awake- Man Overboard

This song is especially great on rainy car rides. Just trust me, give it a try. It was hard to pick between this or Atlas for the perfect rainy day song but come on, gang vocals just screams rainy days.

  1. Interlude: Moving On- Paramore

This short (1:10) ukulele accompanied song is the greatest rainy day anthem. For recent graduates like myself, this tune resonates well. If you are trying to get your shit together on a rainy day, as I often do, this song is the perfect “start your life” one.

  1. Over You (feat. A Great Big World)- Ingrid Michaelson

This song is pretty much the definition of heart-wrenching, even if you’re not getting over someone. Ingrid Michaelson and A Great Big World’s vocals mashed together tug on the heart strings just a bit too much, but it is perfect for a rainy, melancholy day.

  1. A Part of Me (feat. Laura Whiteside)- Neck Deep

This song just hits right in the rainy day feels. It is from the album Rain in July which is super cliché, yet again, but I couldn’t resist. The rough vocals in paring with Laura Whiteside’s soft voice makes for a beautiful rainy day anthem.

  1. Tee Shirt- Birdy

This indie tune is from The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack, which in itself lends for some strong emotions. Additionally though, it is a quiet love song that is fit for any rainy day inside.

  1. Ribs- Lorde

Ribs is my any weather song, but on rainy days it serves as an undeniably angsty rainy day jam. Even if it’s not raining, go give this song a listen. It shows Lorde as an artist, not just a pop tune.

  1. Land Locked Blues- Bright Eyes

Go figure, we can’t get through a rainy day playlist without including Bright Eyes. Land Locked Blues is my particular favorite for this weather. I mean, really any Bright Eyes song will suffice, this is just my personal favorite.

10. Degausser- Brand New

Brand New is equally one of those bands that fits perfectly on a rainy day. Degausser is more upbeat than most of the songs on this playlist but it really embodies the feelings you usually have on rainy days.

So there it is. 10 songs that should last you the duration of that 2-3 o’clock shower that inevitably always comes through.

Comment your favorite rainy day songs below!

The Fault in Our Stars: Book to Movie Review

tfios posterPhoto by: ibtimes

 

On June 6th, The Fault in Our Stars was released in theaters with Shailene Woodley playing Hazel Grace Lancaster and Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters. Initially, I had planned to review this movie as I had others in the past, but this deserved a special post due to the fact that I am such a huge fan and have far too much original bias.

Let me forewarn you: This is a book to movie review, so if you have not read the book and plan to do so, you may want to stop reading now. Also, I included very large spoilers in this review. You have been warned.

The story is based off of the novel by the spectacular John Green, as if you didn’t already know. Let’s be real: this book is freaking huge. When I read it upon its release in 2012, I knew it was something special. I was already a huge Green fan due to the immense love I have for his first novel Looking for Alaska. It is safe to say, when I heard that there was going to be a TFiOS movie, I panicked.

My panic slowly subsided as production and filming began. Josh Boone was coined the director and I felt sheer bliss. Boone wrote and directed Stuck in Love which is on my mental All Time Favorite Movies list. Next, the casting began and I was panicked once again. The acting from Shailene Woodley in Descendants was phenomenal, I admit, but something in the back of my brain could not stop putting her in that Secret Life of the American Teenager box. Dear Shailene Woodley, I was fucking wrong.

The movie started out just as the book had: a quick glimpse into Hazel’s boring, cancer-filled, ANTM watching life. With one-liners like “I’m the Keith Richards of cancer kids” spilling out, I was sold. Shailene Woodley was Hazel Grace. The movie added a sense of innocence that made me feel alive. In the first ten minutes, I had teary eyes simply due to the fact that the characters I held so closely were coming to life.

While I was in a state of joy watching the film, I couldn’t help but pick apart at the missing details. I don’t want to linger on those, though, because the movie was, overall, a beautiful adaptation of one of my favorite books. The Amsterdam scenes were flawless and the meeting with Van Houten was practically word for word. The Anne Frank House kiss was everything I had dreamed it would be.

By far, two of my favorite scenes in the movie that I felt not only did the book justice, but in some ways topped the novel was the sex scene in Amsterdam and the egging of Monica’s car. The egging scene in the book was, while hilarious, fairly rushed and didn’t give me the feeling of being alive like the movie egging scene did. Augustus’ statement about “four eyes, five legs, and two sets of working lungs” felt so Augustian that I felt the joy and love for the character that I did upon my first read of the book. The sex scene felt so intimate and real. As far as movie sex scenes go, this one was one of the most honest and splendidly awkward I had ever experienced.

Laura Dern, who played Hazel’s mother, was simply impeccable. I cannot relay how much I enjoyed the character of Hazel’s mother and how well Laura Dern portrayed her. Another standout character, and personal favorite actor of mine, was Nat Wolff who brought Isaac to life. Isaac’s wit fell from Wolff’s mouth as if the character was made for him.

As this is a book to movie review, I have to mention the facets of the novel that I felt needed to be included in the movie in some way. First, let me preface this by saying that I understand a movie can only be so long and that things must be omitted. I fully understand and acknowledge this. That being said, why didn’t they sell the swing set?! I was waiting for the “vaguely pedophilic” line and the way Augustus cheered Hazel up by proposing such an outlandish act. It was such a monumental scene that I was disappointed that it was omitted.

The movie did such justice in allowing for the quotes that readers loved to be included in the dialogue, but one of the most influential and significant quotes, “My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations”, was removed from the otherwise fully read letter at the end of the film. This quote, I believe should have made its way into the film. The omission of “I do, Augustus. I do” bothered me for a while after the film ended but once I began to think about it, I feel that “okay” was a perfect ending for those who had only experienced the film. (Although I still love this line and its connotations of Hazel and Augustus being together in the afterlife.)

Possibly the most disappointment I felt was in Augustus’ death. In his death in the book we had weeks of gradual and painful loss. Augustus turned into Gus and became bitter in his demise. This honest account of death was moving to me and the movie did not show the slow and painful side of death that we often feel. Though the post-Amsterdam scenes were all some of the most important and most moving, I wished for more, simply. Again, I realize that time limits this and that is something I am okay to live with.

As a movie from one of my favorite books, I can easily say that The Fault in Our Stars surpassed my expectations. The soundtrack of the film was a perfect testament for Hazel and Augustus’s love. The acting from Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort both felt so honest to the characters in the book. In reading other reviews, I noticed a lack of mention to Elgort’s performance as Augustus. Personally, Elgort portrayed the arrogant, charming, goofy boy just as I had imagined him in my head. Also, can we mention how perfectly accurate the crooked smile was during the first scene at Funky Bones? I am so grateful to both Woodley and Elgort for bringing my characters to life and portraying them with such grace and accuracy.

The movie felt so well done that I cannot wait to see it again, and maybe not be as picky this time. The Fault in Our Stars was a beautiful little infinity for me to enjoy… I cannot tell you have thankful I am for that.

 

Book to Movie Adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars: 8/10

Warped Tour 101?

warpedtour2014
Photo Credit: Invisible Children

 

It’s that time of year again… the sun is out and today is the first day of the 2014 Vans Warped Tour.

I have been attending Warped since the 2012 tour and since then I’ve picked up some tips that every “Warped Tour Virgin” should know. While I haven’t been attending the festival for years like some others, I have two years of experience to offer. I know that I was a bit nervous my first year because the atmosphere is a bit intimidating and you often here horror stories that can be unsettling. Fear not, I have compiled a list of things you will need to bring, do when you get there, and the bands I plan to see this summer.

WHAT TO BRING


  1. Water and Snacks. Water is the most important thing to bring or purchase at Warped Tour. Personally, I don’t recommend purchasing it from the vendors because they can run up to $4.00 per bottle. In the hot summer sun (especially if you are in Florida like I am) water is absolutely dire. I always bring two-three bottles in my bag that I can refill. The best thing about Warped Tour is the free water refills they offer. If you are smart, bring a couple bottles because you will inevitably lose one or more in the pit and then you will be forced to buy one. Another mistake people tend to make is not eating in the heat. If your body doesn’t have water and nutrients then you will pass out. Bring an apple or some other lightweight snacks for throughout the day.

  2. Drawstring bag or Backpack. Most people, myself included, bring simple drawstring bags but a large number of people also opt for backpacks. In short, you need something to carry your supplies and money. Just make sure the bag is comfortable to you. Lots of people have trouble with the drawstring bags because they dig into their shoulders. While I never personally have this problem, it is best to test your bag out with all your supplies in it and then account for the fact that you will be jumping and sweating for 9+ hours.
  3. Money. The amount of money you bring strictly depends on what you want to buy the day of. I would highly suggest buy the list of set times. Its $2-3 at the most and that way you will have every bands time at your finger tips. I will get into this more later. If you are interested in buying merch, that’s roughly $20.00 per shirt and about $50.00 for sweatshirts (prices vary by band but you can check their website to gauge it). You should always bring an extra $20.00 for emergency water and food. Personally, I plan every year to eat dinner at the venue and spend money on their food. Nothing like a good meal can pick you up when you’re feeling sick.
  4. Sanitation. Here is where we get to the nitty-gritty of the day. The bathrooms are disgusting. If your venue has a real bathroom in addition to port-a-potty’s, use the real bathrooms early in the day and port-a-potty’s as the day progresses. TRUST ME. The real bathrooms are what most people want so they get more disgusting than the portable ones by the end of the day. Pro-tip: if you’re not peeing, you’re not drinking enough water. You should be going to the bathroom throughout the day and staying hydrated. As far as the bathrooms go, you will need toilet paper and odds are there will be a lack of it. Bring a small plastic bag with toilet paper in it so that you don’t have any trouble. I also recommend bringing wet wipes or hand sanitizer for the day. You get super dirty and will want to clean your hands before meals.
  5. Sun Protection. How did I get to number 5 without mentioning sunscreen?! You NEED sunscreen. Nobody likes skin cancer. Seriously though, being out in the sun all day is harmful to your skin and you need to protect yourself. SPF 50 is my recommendation (although I am pretty fair, this is a time that you don’t want to mess around with “getting a tan”). BLOCK UP. Especially if you have tattoos, this is probably the most important part of your day. You also might consider wearing a hat or sunglasses for the day as well.
  6. Ticket. Duh. Bring your ticket to get into the show. Do not try to depend on buying it there. Never buy it from anyone other than an official Vans Warped Tour worker. There are always people trying to sell fake tickets. Don’t fall into their trap.
  7. Sharpie. If you want your favorite band to sign something, don’t expect them to be carrying a marker around. Come prepared. Also this is useful for jotting down set times.
  8. Clothing. No, don’t bring extra clothing. This is more of a what to wear. The clothing you should bring on your body should be minimal. Yep, it’s hot at Warped. By the end of the day, you will not care how cute you looked or anything of the like. You will want to be comfy. Dress in light-weight clothing and leave the jewelry at home. You don’t want to accidentally rip out an earring (or belly ring, yep I’ve seen it happen) in the pit. And for the love of all things good in the world, WEAR TENNIS SHOES. Your feet will bleed if you wear flip-flops.

WHAT TO EXPECT/DO


  • When you get to the venue, bring canned goods, an old cell phone, or $5 cash to donate. By doing this, you will receive a skip the line wrist band and you will get in the venue before everyone else
  • Once you’re in the gates, buy a sheet that lists the set times. I know most people discourage this but it is only $2.00. Warped Tour has a giant inflatable with all the bands and their set times and most people just take a picture of this but if your phone dies (which is likely) you won’t have access to the set times and you will have to walk back and forth to the inflatable. I usually star the bands I want to see on my set sheet and then I have my full day planned out.
  • Don’t neglect the booths. Bands will have signings that are posted at these booths and lots of the non-profits have free stuff and also a lot of cool information.
  • Follow the bands you want to see on Twitter and follow the Vans Warped Tour twitter (@vanswarpedtour). They will post signing times, secret acoustic shows, set changes, and other important information.
  • Locate the area with shade: you will need it. Come 2 o’clock when you feel like you just might faint, this area will be your friend. Most venues have a shaded or cool area and if not, there are always the mist tents. If you feel sick and need to see Medic, there is a tent for that as well.

TIPS AND TRICK TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR DAY


  • See bands you don’t know! If you have heard of a band but never got the chance to check them out, go do so. Warped Tour is a great place to find new music to listen to and simply enjoy a good show.
  • Once you see when each band is playing, odds are that if two of your favorite bands are on different stages, you will have to sacrifice one to see the other. My tip, if there is even ten minutes of one band playing when the other is not, run over and see it. The more bands you see, the better a time you will have. Don’t miss out on seeing another band because you are worried about where you will be standing when seeing the next band.
  • That leads in to my next tip, at Warped people are all trying to see different and new bands. A lot of the time, people will simply hang out by main stage so they can catch another band. If you have a band that you are dying to see and want to be in the crowd for, say excuse me and move to the center. Don’t push or freak out. Everyone at Warped understands that you want to be closer. If you have never been to a concert where this is normal, prepare to be in for a surprise. It is actually quite awesome.
  • Eat food, drink water, and make sure you’re peeing. I cannot emphasize this enough. If you feel faint, take a minute and sit down. Warped Tour is HOT. Neglecting these things will only make your day less than stellar.
  • Mosh pits will happen. If you are afraid of a pit, don’t go in it. It is really that simple. Mosh pits generally happen towards the center of the crowd and can be avoided. Known your strength. If you have never been in a pit, give it a try! Crowd surf if you want to. Don’t limit yourself because you are afraid.
  • In the same respect, help people out. If someone looks faint, ask if they need help. If someone needs help up, grab their hand. And my god, boys, leave girls’ body parts alone as they crowd surf.
  • Warped Tour is arguably the best concert of the summer. Make it fun. See as many bands as possible and don’t hold back.

MY BAND LIST


 Here is the list of bands I will try to fit in at Warped Tour

  • Breathe Carolina (they always provide a good time)
  • Less Than Jake
  • Mayday Parade
  • Neck Deep
  • Parkway Drive
  • Real Friends
  • State Champs
  • The Maine
  • The Ready Set (7th grade me is wiggin’ out)
  • The Story So Far
  • The Summer Set
  • We The Kings
  • 3OH!3
  • Bayside
  • Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
  • Cute Is What We Aim For
  • Four Year Strong
  • Front Porch Step
  • Light Years
  • We Are The In Crowd
  • Yellowcard

Have an awesome summer at the Vans Warped Tour and enjoy the music!

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

IMG_4193

After reading Eleanor and Park (you can check out my review of it here), I knew I had to read every single one of Rainbow Rowell’s books. My next conquest: Fangirl.

Fangirl is a story about two twins, Cather and Wren, who move away to college and leave their particularly scatter-brained father as they start their journey in the big, bad world of college. Cather, the protagonist and overall beautifully written character, is denying these changes at once and does all she can to avoid the college experience. By this, I don’t mean simply avoiding frat parties or making minimal friends (although this happens as well), but this brand of avoidance is more like eating protein bars because she is too afraid to ask where the Dining Hall is type of thing. Wren, eccentric, daring, and ultimately careless, chooses to do what the girls have never experienced before: live apart from Cath.

This story, though, is more than a tale of a girl who learns to blossom in her college years and step out of her encumbering awkwardness. While Cath is undeniably reserved, she releases her inner thoughts and passions in the form of fanfiction. Cath writes Simon Snow (which is a story inside of a story that revolves around two boys, arch nemeses, in a world of danger and magic. Think Harry Potter, but with vampires) fanfiction and she is damn good at it. In the book, Rowell includes snippets of the actual Simon Snow books as well as portions of Cath’s fanfiction. Personally, I enjoyed Cath’s bits of writing more than the Simon Snow excerpts.

The school year begins and the only class Cath particularly looks forward to attending is her Advanced Fiction Writing course, which she placed into based on her skills. As she finds out how to be Cath-without-Wren she also learns what it means to be a writer of something other than fanfiction. The struggle Cath finds in writing something that doesn’t involve Simon and Baz (the stars of her wildly popular fanfic and the Simon Snow novels) is something I believe every young writer struggles with.

The story is filled with love, first experiences, and heartbreak (both of the familial and romantic variety). Rowell, once again, writes a story that is timeless. Cath’s words and emotions feel as though I were the one telling this familiar story and living Cath’s life. As everything and everyone around Cath changes, especially her partner in crime/twin sister/best friend Wren, she finds that she is more herself than she ever knew.

Fangirl exceeded all expectations. If you enjoyed Eleanor and Park, get ready to fall in love with Fangirl. At times that were not exceptionally sad, I was crying ugly tears simply because of the way I related to Cath and her emotions. Rowell creates characters that resonate and become a part of you. Through her tales of friend making, love embracing, and story writing, Rowell (through Cath) describes the teenage condition with legitimate honesty. Not too often do you find a story of a girl who writes fanfiction, and not too often do you find a story about a boy who embraces the different in a girl (yes, people, this is also a hopelessly beautiful love story).

I recommend Fangirl as highly as I recommend Eleanor and Park. This honest and heart-wrenching coming-of-age tale is one that is now a permanent favorite of mine.

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: 10/10

1 2