Young adult books set in college, or even about the summer before college, aren’t all too common. That’s why I was surprised when I first learnt that American Panda is set at MIT. Well, Mei is 17 years old as she enters a year early but it works out well for this book. Mei had a sheltered upbringing, which is very evident as she tries to find her place at university.
Books set in university that aren’t entirely pre-occupied with romance are surprisingly tough to find. During my own undergraduate studies I wished for so many more but had to make do with books set in high school. Maybe “make do” sounds like I didn’t enjoy those books but I did. It’s just that the university setting tends to be rather neglected. That’s why I was pretty excited to learn that Counting Stars featured university students.
Going into books blind, particularly books like Vicious, can be infinitely thrilling. You enter unexplored land and everything is new. You don’t follow the tracks paved by expectations built upon the reading experiences of others. The cover states that it’s “a twisted tale of ambition, desire and superpowers”. It’s very correct in that description. That’s your starting point if you’re up for a thrill. If that’s you, then go on, pick up the book, read it and return to my review later to share your excitement. Now, if you’d rather know what you’re getting yourself into, read on.
Fangirl was funny and sweet and wonderful. What I liked best was the college setting without an intense focus on romance. This book was about Cath who tried to find herself, even though she felt she was losing everything. She so desperately tried to hold on to familiarity through her high school boyfriend, her father and most importantly to her, her twin sister Wren. For the first time, she had to be truly independent. I believe that for many, college is the time to find oneself and Rowell presented this transition very well in Fangirl.
Closure is something that we often seek to come to terms with the end of something. Often it helps us resolve issues, so we can move on with our lives without dwelling too much on the past. Yet once in a while the time comes that closure is no longer necessary. It’s way past overdue…