Kindred Spirits is a novella by Rainbow Rowell.
Finished on: 3.8.2016
Elena is a huge Star Wars fan. So when the new film comes out, giving her a chance to see a Star Wars film in the cinema as it is released for the first time, she can barely contain her excitement. And she decides that she wants to queue outside of her local cinema, maybe to prove something to herself and to the world. When she arrives there four days before the film starts, she is the third in line. But other than that, nothing is as she expected. The line just doesn’t grow any longer. So she spends those days with the incessantly talking Troy and the surly Gabe, always worrying about where she could pee. But Elena is determined to see this through.
Kindred Spirits is a fast, incredibly sweet read. Rowell once more manages to create vivid characters with a deep love and respect for fandom. It’s simply lovely.
Don’t be confused by the “for older readers” bit on the cover – this was an exclusive publication for World Book Day which is aimed at children and kids, so “older” in this case means maybe 12+. This is very much a story for teens and people who used to be teens and sometimes want to remember that fact.
In any case, Kindred Spirits captures wonderfully how there is a sense of adventure to be found in many things adults often only sneer at. For Elena, queuing in front of her local cinema while her mom more or less unobtrusively and regularly drives by is a big adventure. She’s doing this on her own and because she wants to do it and not somebody else and although her friends aren’t with her either. As is usually the case with adventures, she expects a lot more glory and a lot less discomfort, but it’s all part of setting herself a goal – probably the first goal that’s entirely hers in her life – and seeing it through. And Rowell perfectly captures the ambivalence of this experience, not glossing over its downsides but still able to keep the romance of it.
Although the story is perfectly contained within the few short pages of the book and making it longer would have been the wrong move, I can’t help but wishing to have stayed a little longer with the three queuers. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan myself, but reading Kindred Spirits does show the strength of fandom – any fandom – and the sense of community that comes with it. And we can stand more stories like that.