Review: Kindred Spirits (Rainbow Rowell)

Book Review: Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
kindred spirits Book title Kindred Spirits
Format Short Story
Author Rainbow Rowell
Pages 96
Year published 2016
Category | Genre Young Adult | Contemporary
Rating 3.5 stars

Official Summary

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does. What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels. Kindred Spirits is an engaging short story by Rainbow Rowell, author of the bestselling Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On, and is part of a handful of selected short reads specially produced for World Book Day.

Kindred Spirits captured the spirits perfectly, but ended before it gets truly great.

Kindred Spirits was a short story released as part of World Book Day celebration in UK. However, it was also sold internationally in physical as well as ebook format. I bought this book accidentally when I browsed a certain ebook store with the evil one-click-purchase button. It was a very short read, as suggested by the format. From the synopsis, one could see that this book was mainly targeted to Star Wars fans, but will it work for non-fans?


In Kindred Spirits, Rainbow introduced us to Elena, a petite Vietnamese girl who looks way too young for her age. I AM ELENA, ladies and gents. I still got carded when I was 28. *high fives* This Elena, she’s a huge Star Wars fan and so she decided to wait in line and camp out for Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening night. Here she met other Star Wars fans and was put into multiple emergency and hilarious situations.

At a glimpse, one would think that people who don’t care about Star Wars would not get this story. I disagree. While it is true that you won’t get the Star Wars references, there are many things you could get from Kindred Spirits. One of them is the feeling of being in a fandom. Basically, if you ever was part of a fandom, you could relate to this story.

“She says you can buy your movie ticket online.”
“That’s not the point.”
“It’s just that –. Elena, I think this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in your life.”
“That’s a good thing, Mom. Think about how much worse it could be.”

The other message Rowell managed to deliver was how ‘exclusive’ a fandom could sometimes be. As you can read in the premise, Elena was asking if they’re mad that a semipopular girl like her dared to love Star Wars. I honestly think it is an issue today, not just in Star Wars but in almost every fandom. In Kindred Spirits, Rowell managed to smoothly blend this issue with another big-if not even bigger-issue, bullying. Elena’s back and forth banter with her companies made for amusing reading, but it offered much more than that.

My issue with Kindred Spirits was that it was too short. I didn’t ask for a full length book, but a novella would be nice. There were too many things she threw at us, but didn’t explore. In hindsight, this might be a conscious choice she made, still I cannot help but feeling disappointed upon realizing that the next page on my e-book was an extract from another book.

Final score

3.5 stars
3.5 stars (out of 5 stars)

Let me know, have you read Kindred Spirits or do you plan to read it? If you have read it, what do you think about it? Are you part of any fandom and did you ever have a memorable experience (be it good or bad) in the fandom?

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Review: Carry On (Rainbow Rowell)

carry_oBook Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is back with her third young adult book and this time she tried her hands in fantasy genre.

If you’re hoping for an intricate plot twist or complex political drama, you’re out of luck. This is, after all, a Rainbow Rowell book. And I do not mean that in a bad way. Rainbow’s power is her strength with words. Her writing is simple yet very addictive. In Carry On, she weaved words so beautifully, and use parentheses and italic to blow your mind and toy with your feelings.
I try to find another word besides “ALL THE FEELS” to summarize this book, but I couldn’t find any.
No problem. The summary in the back cover of the book summed it up perfectly:

It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story-but far, far more monsters.

Carry On is a romance book. It is also a book about discovering yourself, a book about friendship. With magickal boys and girls and ghosts and villains and supervillains. Watford School of Magicks is the setting of (most parts of) the story, and yes since you ask, the book will remind you about Harry Potter. Rowell herself has mentioned that the reference to Harry Potter is intentional. As for me, after the first few chapters, I was able to let go the HP comparison go. I love these characters as who they are and not who they were like in HP. I read this book way into the night because it’s so compulsive and I just cannot put it down.

The magic system

I’d like to talk about the magic system because I feel it’s one of the strength of Carry On. Instead of complicated magic summoning, or using of Latin words as spell, all the spells in Carry On are English catchphrases and idioms. I was in fits of laughter when one of the characters use, “Doe. A deer.” (guess what it does). And another one pulled jedi mind trick with “These droids aren’t the ones you’re looking for.” My only regret is the lack of “Carry on my wayward son” spell in this book (sorry! Supernatural poisons my brain).

The characters

Rainbow Rowell said that Baz is her favorite character she ever written. I have to agree with her. Baz is so hilarious with his sarcastic self-loathing alternating with this-world-is-not-worthy-of-me behavior. Simon Snow is also adorable with his don’t care don’t ask attitude. Penny is your genius quirky sidekick. She talked a lot and love Simon unconditionally. Agatha was Simon’s girlfriend, but she is also more than that. She represents the ugly side of magic world, how it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. In short, I fell in love with them.

Final Words

Was Carry On perfect? No, it’s not. There are plot holes and I feel that some parts of the story are glossed over, but Carry On is so sincere, they don’t bother me.
If Rainbow Rowell ever write another Simon Snow book, you bet I’m going to pick it up.

Final Score

4 out of 5 stars

Most Anticipated October Releases

The month of October is upon us! Okay, it’s still 16 days to go, but I’m buzzing with excitement over the possibility of new releases (books) next month.

Here are some of my most anticipated books to be released in October 2015.

October 6

I’m kicking this off with a BIG release day. Not only that Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer (the first book in the new Rick Riordan series) will be released on that day, it’s also the day when Ms. Rainbow Amazing-is-My-Middle-Name Rowell is going to drop her new book, Carry On. Two RRs (that four Rs) in one day, I think I might faint from over-excitement and exclamation points!!!

Let’s talk about them.
Rick Riordan has been one of the most consistent MG/YA author I ever read. His Percy Jackson is on my top 5 series of all time, and I also enjoy The Kane Chronicles and The Heroes of Olympus. He is one of the few authors whose companion books I still buy (PJ & The Greek Heroes, PJ & The Greek Gods, etc).

Rainbow Rowell, man, I would run of adjective to describe this lady so I wouldn’t even start. Her writing is so SO GOOD. Now, Fangirl wasn’t my favorite of hers, but I still heart it so I’m more than willing to give Carry On, which was a Fangirl spinoff, a try. See, the other thing I love about Rainbow is that she’s a badass. She was famous for writing realistic YA, but then she went ahead and published not only an adult fiction, but one with magicked telephone in it.

Continue reading “Most Anticipated October Releases”