Author Spotlight: Rainbow Rowell

Tessa R.

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Background

Rainbow Rowell writes books.

Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline).

Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park and Fangirl).

But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

–       From rainbowrowell.com; “About”

Novels

Attachments

Rating:

Genre: Adult Fiction; Romance

Summary:

“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 . . . ?
Eleanor & P

ark

Rating:

Genre: YA Fiction; Romance

Summary:

Eleanor… Re

d 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 if 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.

 

Fangirl

Rating:

Genre: YA Fiction; Romance

Summary:

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

Critique

Rainbow Rowell is one of my all-time favorite authors… which is no easy feat, considering the fact that I have extremely high standards when it comes to books. But this author definitely met my criteria in all three areas: character development, plot, and style.

Character Development: Not only are her characters extremely well-developed, but there are no similarities whatsoever between Lincoln and Beth, Eleanor and Park, Levi and Cath.  One of the greatest things about this author is that she is able to create fresh and unique characters for each novel she writes.  A lot of authors tend to recycle character qualities—maybe substitute in a different name, different ethnicity, different age, etc., but in the end, the personality is duplicated from novel to novel.  But each and every one of Rowell’s characters is completely distinctive and different from one another, and that’s one of my favorite things about this author.  With each new character comes a new perspective, and it’s always refreshing to read about someone unlike a

nyone else.

Plot: I hate it when I get a book, read the first few chapters, it’s pretty good, and then… the plot stagnates.  Nothing happens, and I have to suffer through every page, hoping to get to an exciting part.  Thankfully, this did not happen when I read Attachments, Eleanor and Park, and Fangirl.  Rainbow Rowell kept her plots interesting; even making the expository parts (which are notorious for being boring) attention-grabbing.  I also liked her use of subplots in both Attachments and Fangirl.  For example, while Lincoln is trying to figure out how he feels about his new job regulating emails, Beth is having relationship struggles with her boyfriend, Chris, and Jennifer is dealing with some family struggles of her own.  While Cath attempts to assimilate to college life and determine how she feels about Levi, Wren is out partying and their father is dealing with his daughters being away at school.  These little mini-stories build up to eventually heighten the climax and create an overall amazing novel.

Overall, I believe that Rainbow Rowell is a five-star writer, and I strongly recommend that anyone who hasn’t read her books does.  As soon as possible.  Because this author is a real gem, whose writing mixes raw emotion and wit to craft novels both heartbreaking and sweet.Style: The last thing I’m going to critique is Rainbow Rowell’s writing style.  Even though each of her characters and their plots are unique, she still manages to have a distinct, recognizable voice.  Like, you could automatically pick out her writing in a sea of other words.  She often uses sentence fragments to make her writing more dramatic and relatable, and it works.  She doesn’t overuse them.  Rowell also describes a lot of character detail through dialogue, revealing traits often through humorous conversations.  She also sets all of her novels in her home state of Nebraska, which I think is pretty cool, because with each novel she explores a different area, and her characters each see the setting in a different way.

If you like Rainbow Rowell, you may also like these books:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

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