Jen Juneau
November 25, 2015 6:48 am

If you’re into contemporary adult or young-adult literature, you may have heard of an author named Rainbow Rowell. Since the publication of her first novel Attachments in 2011, Omaha-based Rowell has blown up juuust a smidge. Her novels Fangirl and Eleanor & Park were named two of the best young-adult fiction pieces of 2013 by The New York Times – the latter of which is currently being planned by DreamWorks as a full-length feature film, whose screenplay is being penned by Rowell herself.

And Rowell’s newest publication, Carry On – a spin-off of Fangirl, a story about an introverted college freshman named Cath who writes a fanfiction of the same name about her favorite boy wizard (ring any bells?) – was released on Oct. 6 of this year, and is already receiving rave reviews. It’s Rowell’s first foray into fantasy outside of her associated Fangirl excerpts, which she described to Omaha.com as “really hard. I remember, when I was writing Carry On, I got hung up on a scene with a dragon. I kept doing all this research on dragons, and then I finally realized, ‘Dragons aren’t real. I can make this up.’”

We love our YA authors – especially when they can give us both real-world scenarios to relate to and tap into the most fantastical parts of our brains while still keeping it real. So here’s why Rainbow Rowell fits that to a T, and consequently, why we’re fangirling over her for our #WCW this week!

She encourages the evolution of fandom involvement

In Fangirl, Rowell explores all the layers of being an adult who finds solace in fandom and, for many of us, fanfiction: the strange questions and looks, the undeniable dependency on a familiar story to get you through tough times, and everything in between. Of the idea of fandom in general, Rowell told us in 2013 that, “For me, fandom is falling love with something, and then making that love a part of your life.” That totally extends to adulthood, guys! And of how much the public perception of fanfiction has changed over the last few years, Rowell told TIME earlier this year that, “the Harry Potter generation is the generation where fanfiction really became a big deal.” She also said that now fanfiction is “such a huge and a popular thing that I don’t think it was going to stay counter-culture and quiet.”

She isn’t afraid to explore the really difficult parts of life

Where some authors may skirt around the true difficulties of real-life issues or be drawn to painting a more ideal picture of how things should be, Rowell continuously takes on the not-so-easy task of writing about everyday issues like marriage difficulties, falling in love when everything around you is falling apart, and dealing with the struggles that come with having an estranged parent. These themes that persist throughout most of her books have no help from things like the supernatural or a beautiful, unique, fantasy backdrop – just some relatable writing that depicts how hard it is to be in these situations that are truly all around us, but can sometimes ironically make us feel the most alone.

She’s an awesome example of how NaNoWriMo can get you noticed

We are huge proponents of National Novel Writing Month, which is coming to an end shortly (SOB). Rainbow Rowell is also a big fan of this time of year – in fact, 2011’s NaNoWriMo was the period of time when the first draft of what would become Fangirl was born! If that’s not enough to get your fingers moving to hit those 50,000 words this weekend or start planning for next year, I don’t know what is.

She doesn’t hesitate to push the envelope – for all the right reasons

Rowell is known for her realistic characters, and this includes not sugarcoating the environments said characters live in. So when she was chosen to speak at a library in Minnesota about her novel Eleanor & Park in September 2013, unfortunately (though maybe not surprisingly?), a couple of parents deemed the book “dangerously obscene” and the library was forced to cancel Rowell’s appearance.

But luckily, Rowell wasn’t fazed. Of the incident, she told The Toast, “When these people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like they’re saying that rising above your situation isn’t possible. That if you grow up in an ugly situation, your story isn’t even fit for good people’s ears. That ugly things cancel out everything beautiful.” We agree, and are so happy Rowell tells it like it is, not to mention continuously teaches us to take on challenges head on and make sure our voices are heard.

She uses social media to constantly lift others up (and also be hilarious)

Aside from being an insanely talented author, Rainbow Rowell is also super awesome on social media – particularly Twitter. Case in point: She is a huge supporter of human rights, as well as making sure you take the time to care for both others AND yourself.

She also has some pretty great one/two-liners that entertain even the most seasoned Twitter user, if only for their “OMG, SHE GETS ME!” quality alone.

Thanks for being such a force in the literary world and beyond, Rainbow Rowell! We can’t wait to read anything and everything you write next.

(Image via Rainbow Rowell)

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