One of the books I'm most excited about this fall is Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, a coming-of-age novel that is smart, funny, and genuine. Fangirl takes place during Cather Avery's first year of college, learning who she is when stripped down to just Cath--not the twins Cath & Wren and not Magicath her fan fiction pen name.
Through all the changes, both difficult and thrilling, one part of her old life still makes as much sense in her dorm room as it did in her childhood bedroom--the Emergency Kanye Party. When the going gets tough in this story, the tough crank up Kanye West, sing out loud and dance until they feel better. I like it. Check out Rowell's Fangirl playlist below to see what other music played a part in this story.
Fangirl will be available September 10.
"I Wonder" – Kanye West: So Cath, the main character of Fangirl has a Kanye West thing; he's sort of her Patronus. This song lays out how lost Cath is at the beginning of the book. "You ever wonder what it all really mean? You wonder if you'll ever find your dreams?"
"Cath" – Death Cab for Cutie: I think this song might be the reason I chose the name "Cath." The lyrics don't fit my Cath, but the feelings do. More loss, more lost.
"Heaven's on Fire" – The Radio Dept. : I use songs to help me get into the right mood and frame of mind when I'm writing a scene. This song, for me, is Cath's first few weeks of college – when she feels all caught up, and completely overwhelmed, by the activity. When she's overdosing on new and other.
"Paranoid" – Kanye West feat. Mr. Hudson: When things hit bottom for Cath, she throws herself an Emergency Kanye Dance Party. I can see her jumping on her bed to this song. "You worry bout the wrong things, the wrong things."
"American Boy" – Estelle feat. Kanye West: Required listening for every Emergency Kanye Dance Party. Plus, it's happy and bouncy, so that reminds me of Cath's friend Levi, who joins the party.
"Brandy Alexander" – Feist: When Cath finally falls in love, she almost resents how easy it is. She resents that she can't help it. This song is so sweet and seductive and irresistible – which is exactly how Cath sees the guy she's falling for.
"I See You, You See Me" – The Magic Numbers: This is another reluctant love song – about two people who sort of back into love. When it gets to "This is not what I'm like, this is not what I do" – I think of Cath and the way she tries to reject her feelings. Like she's allergic to them.
"Love Letters" – Jude: There's a part of the book when just about everybody regrets their behavior. "Love Letters" feels like regret to me – but also hope. There's so much longing in Jude's voice.
"Samson" – Regina Spektor: One of the love stories in the book is between Cath and her twin sister, Wren. Cath feels abandoned by Wren. Now that they're at college, Wren would rather party than hang out with her twin. But Cath is still so devoted to Wren, and worried about her. "You are my sweetest downfall. I loved you first."
"Landslide" – Fleetwood Mac: Every book I write has "Landslide" on its soundtrack, and always at the same point in the story – the part where the main character does whatever he or she has to do to grow and change. I play "Landslide" in my head whenever my life is changing in a big way.
"Hymn for Her" – The Magic Numbers: This is my happy-ending song for Cath. I'm not exactly sure what the lyrics mean, but I love how gentle and cautious it is, especially at the beginning. It's so reassuring for a love song. "It won't hurt to find love in the wrong place. I've been hurt before, but all the scars have rearranged."