What do you get when you combine Rainbow Rowell with Star Wars? Something absolutely wonderful, that’s what. Kindred Spirits may only be 41 pages long, but it hit me right where I live. Yes, I am a Star Wars fan (something of an understatement there).
Like the characters in this novella, I’ve been part of a Star Wars line. When tickets went on sale for Episode I in 1999, I waited 13 hours to buy tickets. (To be fair, no one knew at the time just how bad that movie would be. I still shudder every time I see or hear Jar Jar Binks.) Like Elena, Gabe, and Troy in Kindred Spirits, I wondered how I’d deal with going to the bathroom, making conversation with my fellow nerds, and handling boredom. (Waiting in line for a movie isn’t all glitz and glamour, folks…even though I did end up on the local news.)
Even with the not-so-great parts of the Line, however, I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything. I was part of something–part of the Star Wars experience. I talked to people I never would have otherwise met, I enjoyed pizza delivered to those of us in line, and I played Star Wars trivia games with people who could actually compete with me. No, I didn’t wait days like some people, and I haven’t exactly repeated the experience (thanks to the beauty of online ticket sales), but I can say that I was there once upon a time, and Kindred Spirits brought all of those warm, fuzzy feelings rushing back.
Elena is excited about waiting in line to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She just knows it will be everything she’s ever imagined–great, big, nerdy fun. Only it’s not. She’s the third person in a line of only three people. The first person is Tony, a guy who takes his Star Wars seriously. He’s waited in every line since Empire, and he has stories about everything. The second guy is Gabe, and he shows absolutely no interest in being part of Elena’s ultimate line experience. And Elena makes three.
Elena thinks about leaving her spot in line and going home, especially when the temperatures drop, boredom sets in, and her bladder rebels, but she just can’t do it. She can’t abandon her post and her love of Star Wars…and she can’t prove her mom right. So Elena stays and tries to make the best of things with Troy and Gabe.
As this dedicated trio get closer to movie time, they come to find the sense of camaraderie they’d been hoping for. Sure, there are only three of them, but that’s becoming more and more okay. Even Gabe is opening up a little, and Elena soon realizes just why he’s been so cold to her. She sets him straight, and the two really begin to talk to each other. No preconceived notions, no judgments; just a mutual love of Star Wars and the start of what could be a beautiful friendship.
When it’s time to finally see The Force Awakens, will it live up to the hype? And will Elena and Gabe find a reason to stay close beyond their time waiting for Star Wars?
Rainbow Rowell gets what it’s like to be a Star Wars fan in a world that tends to make fun of such serious fandom. She doesn’t come off as someone saying, “Hey, look at those idiotic nerds waiting in line for some dumb movie.” No, she understands that fans care about Star Wars. It’s part of our lives, and sometimes the best thing in the world is sharing our love of Star Wars (or any other movie, book series, TV show, etc.) with other people who get it. Speaking for myself, an extreme introvert, the best way to get me out of my shell is to talk to me about something I obsess over. Star Wars is at the top of that (extremely long) list.
In my most humble opinion, Kindred Spirits is a must-read for Star Wars fans. Yes, it’s sort of a romantic tale, but the Star Wars references alone make this story worth a fan’s time. The budding relationship between Elena and Gabe is just a bonus.
If you’d like more information on Kindred Spirits and the many other wonderful books by Rainbow Rowell, check out her website. You can also connect with this fabulous author on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook.
Happy reading…and may the Force be with you!