There’s just something about the way Rainbow Rowell writes that I can’t get enough of. Perhaps it's her depictions of love, or the realism behind her characters. Maybe it’s the way that she casts her eye on characters not often seen, such as nerdy fangirl Cath from (of course) Fangirl, or the comic book reading, beautifully rendered (and realistic!) Eleanor from Eleanor and Park. Who knows? All I know is that I can’t get enough of her books, but unfortunately there are only five of them currently in print.
Of course, we can all rejoice come October 6 when her latest book, Carry On, hits the shelves. Her next book is a bit of a wild card; based off of the fanfiction written by Fangirl’s Cath, which is based off of the fictional Simon Snow series that we learn about throughout the novel. It’s going to be fascinating, and one of the worst part about it is that it’s still another two weeks until it’s released.
So, what shall the discerning Rainbow Rowell fan do until then? What if you love Rainbow Rowell but you've read everything she's put out already? The answer is: Don’t fret! I’ve compiled a list of enough teen angst, troubled marriages, and technologically driven love to last the two weeks, maybe more. Take a gander at these 14 novels, and try not to get too lost, remember: Carry On is right around the corner!
Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Thomas Violet is 35, and thought that he would be so much farther in his life than he currently is. Stuck in a troublesome marriage, trying desperately to write a novel he's been struggling with for years while his famous father wins a Pulitzer Prize, and not to mention trapped in a boring corporate job, Thomas decides that it's time for him to make a change. For fans of Landline and Attachments , Domestic Violets is a quirky domestic/office comedy.
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
For fans of Rowell's realistic take on YA romance, I'll Meet You There centers on 17-year-old Skylar Evans, a straightedge artist who wants to break out of the mold of the dead-end town of Creek View. If she survives a miserable summer in a dead end job, she'll be able to make it to art school and her life will truly begin. All of this comes crashing down when her mother loses her job, and her future becomes less certain. Stuck working in a quirky motel that goes by the name of Paradise, she soon meets Afghanistan war veteran Josh Mitchell, and the two of them develop an unlikely friendship... and perhaps something more.
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Another one for fans of the perils of married life à la Landline. Lauren and Ryan were once completely in love with each other, but after years of marriage, it's reached a breaking point. In a last ditch effort to save their marriage, they agree to embark on an unconventional journey: for one year they will part ways and not contact each other, other than that, they can do whatever they want.
Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
Piddy Sanchez is just trying to make it through high school, until one morning before school she'd told that a girl named Yaqui Delgado hates her. Having never heard of Yaqui Delgado before, she's not sure of what she could have done to anger her, she's too busy trying to find out information about her father who she's never met, or figuring out how to balance her honors courses with her weekend job, but as the harassment escalates, Piddy needs to figure out how to survive. Idea for fans of diversity in YA, and stories about misfits much like Eleanor and Park .
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil
For those who loved Cath's journey in Fangirl , Life in Outer Space centers on Sam Kinnison, a total geek who loves World of Warcraft, movies, and never gave much thought to girls before. He's never given that much thought to girls, that is, until he meets Camilla. Now Sam will need to learn to navigate his own feelings, as well as his final year of high school. If you like watching geeks fall in love, you're going to love this novel.
OCD, The Dude, and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn
Danielle Levine has yet to get a handle on her frizzy red hair, plus sized body, or the fact the essays she wrote for English were raunchy enough to land her in a special education class to learn "social skills". Things change when she meets a boy named Daniel, who also just so happens to be obsessed with The Big Lebowski. Resemblance to Eleanor from Eleanor and Park aside, this meditation on taking solace in popular culture will delight fans of Fangirl as well.
The Whole Stupid Way We Are by N. Griffin
Love Eleanor and Park for its realistic portrayal of teen angst, and the portrayal of parental mental illness in Fangirl, but wish there was a little less romance? The Whole Stupid Way We Are takes place during the course of a winter in Maine, it's twelve degrees out and Dinah is incredibly concerned for her best friend Skink, who doesn't wear a coat. Dinah loves to help people, but unfortunately her inability to see the forest for the trees makes her do more harm than good. Once Dinah begins to hone in on Skink's problems with his own family, things begin to take a turn for the tragic.
Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros
Loved the use of technology as a medium for love in Attachments? Meet Abigail Donovan, a fabulously successful best-selling author who's been stuck on her latest novel. With her confidence flagging, her publicist signs her up for a Twitter account and Abigail is immediately intrigued by it. Enter Twitter follower @MarkBayard, a witty, charming professor on sabbatical. Told almost entirely in tweets and direct messages, this is a thoroughly modern tale of love and loss.
Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Sixteen-year-old Simon isn't fully ready to come out of the closet yet, but thanks to one of his emails falling into the wrong hands, his secret is revealed to the class clown, Martin. Blackmailed into being Martin's wingman, Simon must comply or else not only will his sexuality become the business of the entire school, but the privacy of Blue, a boy he's been emailing, might be placed in jeopardy. A good book for those who loved off-beat romance of Eleanor and Park but would love a non-heteronormative love story.
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Did you love reading about Cath's online life in Fangirl, but wished that there was a little more of it? In Adorkable , our heroine Jeane Smith has half a million followers on Twitter, is the CEO of her own lifestyle brand, and is still only a teenager. Michael Lee is the most popular boy in school, and thinks Jeane is a bit of a weirdo. Circumstances throw them together when their cheating exes get together, so naturally Jeane and Michael can't seem to stop making out. It's just a casual thing between them... or is it?
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
If you love Rainbow Rowell for her honest depictions of teenagers dealing with incredibly difficult things, you'll love Wild Awake. Seventeen-year-old Kiri Byrd has been left alone for six weeks while her family is on vacation, when she receives a strange phone call. Learning that her late sister Sukey did not die in a car accident like she was told five years ago, Kiri's mental state spirals out of control. Wild Awake is a heart-wrenching study of loss, mental illness, and love.
Girls Like Us by Gail Giles
Love the blossoming friendship between Regan and Cath in Fangirl? Check out Girls Like Us . Quincy and Biddy both graduated from their respective high school's special education program, but they couldn't be more different. Quincy loves a fight, while Biddy would be content to simply hide. Placed together in their first "grown-up" apartment, they have to learn to get over their differences and help each other grow as people.
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay
Jamie Peterson has fallen in love with his best friend Mason, who doesn't know that Jamie is gay, so in order to cope with it he draws a comic lightly based on his longing. Although he tries to keep it under wraps, it seems as though every girl in his art class knows about his secret crush, Fan Art is a story of how art can reveal truth; much like Cath's fanfiction in Fangirl, the comic is lightly sprinkled throughout the novel.
How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
For those who enjoyed the slight reality bending of Landline, How to Tell Toledo from The Night Sky tells the story of George Dermont and Irene Sparks, two astronomers with a mysterious and intense attraction for each other...that is, until it's revealed that the two of them have been raised their entire lives solely to be each other's soulmates. Trapped under the weight of their own destiny, Irene and George work to unravel the meaning of their lives, and whether or not they should be together.
Image: we play endlessly/flickr