Kindred Spirits (2016) by Rainbow Rowell is more of a short story than a novel. Clocking in at just over sixty pages, it’s a fun, quick, tale. I was wondering whether I even wanted to bother writing a review for something I could read so quickly. In the end I decided it was worth it because I wanted to thank Faintingviolet for sending me this book! There is nothing like opening your mailbox to an unexpected, (because I forgot it was coming) brand-new book from one of my favorite authors!
From what I understand, Kindred Sprits is part of “World Book Day” that occurred on March 3 in the United Kingdom. It sounds like a great idea, involving giving schoolchildren tokens that they can turn in at participating bookstores for these books–written specifically for World Book Day.
Elena is your normal teenage girl, except that she’s a huge Star Wars fan, inculcated by her father since birth. She is intent on camping out for opening night tickets for The Force Awakens–no matter how much her mother worries about her. She’s seen pictures of the fair-like atmosphere of costumed and enthusiastic fans waiting in line and bonding over their shared love. She’s looking forward to the experience.
When her mother reluctantly drops her off on Monday morning, they are both dismayed to see that the line consists only of two guys. Troy is the talkative leader and Gabe is the quiet, sullen teenage boy. Instead of the party atmosphere Elena was expecting, she feels like she is stuck in an elevator with two random strangers. As the days crawl closer to the first screening on Friday, Elena gets to know Troy, and especially Gabe, much better. Through cold, discomfort, embarrassment, and challenges involving lack of bathrooms, Elena stays strong.
In the end, we learn through Elena that it’s more about the process than the goal, and it’s worth it to keep an open mind–about both people and experiences. As someone who has not yet seen The Force Awakens [I’m waiting for the DVD], and someone who does not take Instagram selfies [one of Elena’s favorite pastimes], I didn’t wholly relate to the protagonist. With the brevity of the book, Rowell did not have much space to explore her main characters. However, the focus of the book is still on relationships and experiences and Rowell made a nice, memorable story.
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