Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Book Review: "Kindred Spirits" by Rainbow Rowell

"Elena couldn't remember the first time she saw a Star Wars the same way she couldn't remember the first time she saw her parents. Star Wars had just always been there. There was a stuffed Chewbacca in her crib."

Elena grew up watching the original Star Wars trilogy, as the movies were her dad's favorite. He loved them so much that he made her promise never to see the prequels, because it would corrupt her enjoyment of the movies. But while she loved the films because they made her feel closer to her dad, as she got older, they actually began to mean something to her. They became hers, movies she not only knew by heart but felt in her heart.

When The Force Awakens was getting ready to be released, she was so excited she could barely think. She so wanted this to be a special occasion, so she makes the decision to camp out on line in front of the movie theater for a few days. She envisions bonding with her fellow line-mates, trading movie trivia and inside jokes, building friendships and bestowing nicknames. This will be life-changing.

She's utterly unprepared for the reality of the camping out experience. She's one of only three people waiting. Thanks to global warming it's not that cold, but she worries about having to go the bathroom, and charge her phone, and what it will be like not to shower for a few days. While the two guys waiting with her seem perfectly pleasant, they don't seem like lifelong friend material. Plus, her mother keeps driving by the theater, trying to convince her to come home and go to the movie when it opens, like everyone else.

Kindred Spirits is a sweet short story that fits in perfectly with Rainbow Rowell's other books. It's a story about self-discovery, letting go of your expectations, friendship, and finding others who share your obsessions, particularly those you least expect. (And, like so many of Rowell's books, it's got a healthy dose of fan obsession.) This story was written for World Book Day, and it definitely made me feel warm inside.

I love Rowell's writing (Eleanor & Park is among my absolute faves), so as much as this story touched my heart, it also left me with a full-size longing for another Rowell novel. I enjoyed this story very much, but it was almost too short. Even though it had a complete plot arc, I was sad to see it end so quickly, and wanted more. This is a great appetizer for Rowell fans, but you'll be left hungry for more, and I hope she has something else up her sleeve sometime soon!

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