‘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.*
Ever since Fangirl Rainbow Rowell has been one of my auto-buy authors, so when I saw that she was writing a novella for World Book Day and that I could pre-order it on Book Depository, I didn’t hesitate. Imagine my surprise when I get a giant box delivered to my house one Saturday and, unsure of what it is, peek inside to find not one but fifty copies of Rainbow’s short story!
I thought it must be some mistake on the part of the warehouse, but I’m not the only one who got 49 extra copies and Book Depository says it’s part of their World Book Day promotion. I donated most copies to various public libraries in my area and shared them with friends who are fans of Rainbow or just YA fans in general (it helps that I’m a Library and Info Science major–I know a lot of people who love books!). My mom even gave her copy to a waitress at a diner who saw her reading it and mentioned that it’s on her TBR list.
After all this donating and sharing, I have a couple of copies left to give away. If you’d like to enter for a chance to win, see the widget below! The entry period closes at midnight on April 1.
Now for the review…..
This short story is similar to Fangirl in a lot of ways, which of course means I adore it. Rainbow has a way of creating characters who read like real people; it makes it really difficult to leave her stories behind when I finish reading them because I become attached to the people, even in a story as brief as 62 pages. That takes a great amount of skill as a writer and I really admire that about her.
In Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, and now in “Kindred Spirits”, there is always a character who suffers from feeling like an outsider, whether it is due to a mental illness like anxiety or merely having different interests than those around them. I personally have anxiety *and* different interests from most of the people around me (I’m Cath’s definition of a nerd—I prefer fictional worlds to the real one), so it’s always refreshing and comforting to read a story by Rainbow. It’s a nice reminder that I’m not alone in those feelings, even though it often feels like it.
I made the mistake of reading the “Tuesday” section in the quiet study area of the library I work in when I got in early one morning; it took a hefty amount of self-control to not bust out laughing like a maniac! I also had to pee (thanks, large French Vanilla coffee!), which didn’t help matters and was really ironic (you’ll understand when you read the story). Thanks to work and school, I had to read it in 20-page spurts, but it could easily be read in a single sitting. It’s short and a page-turner, so you won’t want to put it down.
If you’re a Star Wars nerd, then you’ll especially enjoy this story. The section where the three characters discuss their least favorite movies also had me wanting to laugh out loud—Episode II was my favorite when I was a kid (I’m a sucker for romance), but watching it now I tend to cringe. I wanted to jump into the conversation with Troy, Gabe, and Elena to tell them my own opinions and history with the films! Side note: does anyone else think the shaaks look like giant potatoes?! That always cracked me up. Anyway, there are obviously a lot of references to the films, which were so fun to read.
Overall, this is a really cute, funny, quick read that still manages to touch briefly on some heavier topics like family issues and slight bullying. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Rainbow’s characters and storytelling, Star Wars, or fandom in general. Just make sure you’re in a place where you can comfortably laugh out loud—trust me, you’ll thank me for the warning!
*Synopsis and cover image are from Amazon.com.