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Reveling in Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin's Press

Fans of the New York Times bestselling author Rainbow Rowell will be delighted to know that her next novel, "Landline," comes out this summer (July 8). This novel will be her fourth, but only her second adult novel ("Eleanor & Park" and "Fangirl" are both technically Young Adult novels). Rowell seems to move effortlessly between these two categorizations; perhaps the boundary is more fluid than some people believe (we often like to think that the problems we face in our 30s are much more sophisticated than the problems we face in our teens, but are they really?). Regardless, Rowell has shown great versatility in her work.

In anticipation of her new novel, let’s take a look at her previous works.

"Attachments": This novel was Rainbow Rowell’s debut, an adult novel set in the late '90s. The narrative follows the alternating perspectives of Lincoln O’Neill, a timid guy with a past relationship that still haunts him, and the witty, often-work-inappropriate email correspondence between best friends Jennifer and Beth. Lincoln’s job is to monitor company emails, but he hesitates to turn in Jennifer and Beth for their lack of propriety. Throw in some love drama as Lincoln finds himself falling for Beth, and you’ve got yourself a sweet and thoroughly entertaining novel.

"Eleanor & Park": Equally sweet, but not nearly as light-hearted as "Attachments," "Eleanor & Park" is the tale of two young misfits and their slow-growing, but ultimately very powerful love. Eleanor is the new girl in town, often bullied in school for her odd clothes and harassed at home by her stepfather. Park is half-Korean and too interested in comic books to fit it. Their relationship begins in silence, as Eleanor sits next to Park on the bus. Park soon realizes that Eleanor is reading his comics over his shoulder, and he starts bringing his favorite comics to share. Their love affair commences, and they face many difficulties together.

"Fangirl": Freshman year of college is memorable enough that this novel will likely resonate with teens and adults alike. Cath is a die-hard fan of the Simon Snow novels, an international fantasy sensation (even beyond the scope of Harry Potter). She and her twin sister grew up reading and re-reading the novels, and Cath is famous in the world fan fiction for her writing. As they embark on their new journey in college, Cath feels left behind as Wren moves on, forgetting Simon Snow and starting a new life. But Cath is worried -- worried about making friends, and worried about her dad, who is truly alone for the first time. This coming-of-age tale is smart and fun, in typical Rowell fashion.

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