Ayyeeeee! WE BACK YA’LL! I am THRILLED to inform you that monthly themed event known as Calendar Girls is finally back after going on hiatus in January of this year. If you are unfamiliar with Calendar Girls events each month, check out their info page here.
Melanie and Flavia are the original creators of this event, but in January, both creators explained that they had full plates and let us know that they would be putting CG on the back burner. In walks Katie from Never Not Reading, and Adrienne from Darque Dreamer Reads and we are up and running again! Thank you sooooo much to Katie and Adrienne for keeping this awesome and unique event alive! This month (September) is the second month under their rein, and I am pleased to share with you the theme for this month.
The votes are in, and September’s theme has been decided!:
Back To School: Favorite Book Set in a School.
Uhg…now I really want to watch Grease… ANYWAY. I mean, it makes sense to do a “Back to School” theme after doing a “Favorite Summer Book” theme! For fans of YA, this is bound to be a difficult choice. I know I had a really hard time deciding…
Here are some of the contenders:
I know what you are thinking, “Holy Crap, Sam didn’t pick Harry Potter!” You’re right, I didn’t (obviously). I wanted to, very badly, but decided to try to step outside my comfortably magical box, and choose something else. That doesn’t mean I don’t love the Hogwarts setting. It probably is my absolute favorite, BUT I am trying to expand my horizons and pick books other than Harry Potter once in a while…
Guys, SO MANY FAVORITES fall into this category! This was such a hard decision. Maybe it is because I enjoy YA. Maybe it is because I love school settings. Either way, I have my plate very very full this month.
Alas, I pulled one book out from the pack, and decided that it would be my crowning example of “Back to School.”
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
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 fanfiction, 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 that 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 fanfiction 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?
Gosh, I really liked this book. Not only did it take place in college, which is super rare in YA lit, but it felt like a school related book. Yes there were subplots and other major things going on (namely dates and romance) but it genuinely felt like the characters were in school, and brought us along with them. Truthfully, it felt the most movie-like because of that part of the book.
Some of my favorite parts were school related, like when Cath’s writing professor took her down a few notches, or when Cath helped Levi study for his exam. They felt so much like what my first year at college was like, so it was extra relatable (and if I am being honest, made me miss college even more).
I honestly love school-related stories, where the setting and main plot takes place not only in the school, but center around it. I like passages about classes and the genuine worry over exams. Sometimes I really miss school, and these types of books really fill that void.
I really loved these characters and this book, and thought it deserved it’s 15 minutes of fame. Fangirl is about a college freshman, who isn’t the most social person you’ve ever met. Cath spends most of her time writing fan fiction about her (eerily similar to Harry Potter) favorite fantasy book series. Her twin sister used to write with her, but has grown out of that part of her life, and has become quite the social butterfly-obviously much different than Cath. It is a coming of age story about an anxious girl, her love for fictional characters (I can relate), and first love. The cast of characters are so lovable, and real that you truly feel like you are in the story along with them.
As a side note, I also really love seeing all the fan art for this book :] I will share some below:
Be sure to check out our lovely host’s picks for this month as well!
Until next time Calendar Girls (and Boys)….