Book Review : Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

March 18, 2014 Book review 13 ★★★★

I’m not ready to burst in to Fangirl mode for this book but it’s a close call as I really ended up loving it.  I very nearly adored it but I just didn’t quite get there.

Book Review : Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Macmillan on 10 Sept 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Friendship, New Adult, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.Reading. Rereading.

Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . .

And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Recap of Fangirl:

Cath is starting college and as someone who gets anxious over new experiences, this is a traumatic and scary time.  And worse her twin sister wants to be independent so they are not rooming together and their lifelong closeness looks set to become a distant and bitter tasting memory.  But at least Cath still has her fanfiction writing.  Or will she learn at college there is more to life than fanfiction?

First Line of Fangirl:

“There was a boy in her room.”

My Thoughts on Fangirl:

I loved it!  Well I loved most of it but some parts left me cold.  What I didn’t like was the fanfiction extracts and the world of Simon Snow.  There are two types of extracts going on – the original story of Simon Snow and extracts from that author, and the fanfiction that Cath writes.

I was bored by this and at first I read them word for word but later I just read enough to get the gist of it.  I didn’t need to read them to understand how much Cath loved her Simon Snow world and they didn’t add to main story for me, actually they pulled me out of it.  And I get that the extracts mirrored what was going on in Cath’s real life but I just preferred to follow Cath’s thoughts and emotions through her actual life and not through side stories.  I didn’t love Simon Snow, how could I, I don’t know and adore the books because they don’t exist and so I couldn’t connect with the fanfiction.

However the story of Cath; I loved this.  It captures all those scary feelings of going to college.  I am one of those who over thinks everything; silly things like where to sit in a canteen.  So when Cath goes though all this, I know what she means.  She does carry it to a new level though and chooses to avoid situations altogether which got me a bit frustrated at times but I really saw how stomach-churning new experiences are for her.  I also loved how much her fanfiction meant to her and I feel I got an insight into just how addictive this word can be.

Her roommate Reagan seems to be a bit of a cow, her twin sister Wren seems to be a bit of a cow but in the end both won me over.  Yes they are snarky cows but I love that about them.  They are not afraid to be different and march to their own beat, just like Cath and I adore that about all three characters.  They are all full of quirks and are endearingly eccentric but none more so than Cath.  Her dad is another character that I really engaged with, he has his own struggles and it makes me want to wave a wand and make life easier for Cath, Wren and him.

The love story between Cath and Levi was skilfully written.  It moved slower than a tired turtle after a long, tiring day but it just worked.  It was perfectly unhurried which was sweet and tender and just what I wanted for Cath.  I loved Levi and I was rooting for them both.  He was super cute but not perfect.  Actually not one single character in this book is perfect and that makes it all the better for me.

Overall I loved this book and if it wasn’t for the Simon Snow bits, this just might have been a five star book for me.  I can’t wait to read more by this author to see what other amazing characters she has in store for me.

 

Rating Report
Characters
four-half-stars
Setting
four-stars
Pace
three-stars
Did I feel it?
four-stars
Overall: four-stars

 

Who should read Fangirl?

If you like contemporary realistic YA/NA books with college settings then I’d strongly recommend this one to you.  Especially if you like unique and quirky characters as I think you’d love this one just as I did.  And of course if you have ever written Fanfiction, then you need to read this one as I’m sure you will relate to Cath and her passion for writing.

four-stars

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13 Responses to “Book Review : Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell”

    • trish

      I’m reading Attachments now but I’m not enjoying it as much as I thought it would. And yes I could have lived happily without Simon Snow and think the pace would have been a lot snappier.

  1. CeCe

    I have been eyeing this book ever since I read and LOVED Eleanor & Park. The plot doesn’t exactly sound like my cup of tea but I just love Rainbow Rowell so much that I think I will need to give it a go, especially now that I see you enjoyed it. Great review!
    CeCe recently posted…WELCOME TO CECE READS!

    • trish

      I love her writing too and her characters are amazing. So even though I had some issues, I still loved it. Someday I’ll get around to checking out Eleanor & Park 🙂

  2. Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia

    This was my first book by Rowell. I had the same issues with Simon Snow – I skimmed over those parts, too. Maybe if I was into fanfiction, those parts would have had more meaning, but it just seemed unnecessary.

    A big part of the reason why I liked Fangirl so much is that there were so many similarities, sadly, to my first year in college, so I could really relate to Cath. And I loved Reagan – I could have used someone like her to help me get through that year!
    Stephanie @ Inspiring Insomnia recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday # 45: My Spring TBR

    • trish

      I think we would have all liked a Reagan in college and a Levi too 🙂 I think her characters feel very authentic and it makes them very relatable.

    • trish

      I’m the same, even with the issues I had I still loved it. And thinking back even though I read it months ago, I still remember the characters very clearly so I think that says a lot for RR’s skill at drawing characters.

  3. Michelle @ In Libris Veritas

    I’m the opposite of you in some regards. I understood the Simon Snow bits because I’ve been there, bundled up in my own little Harry Potter worlds. I couldn’t totally understand not wanting to let go of something that’s been so dear to you for so long. I had huge problems with her roommate though, her negativity and refusal accept Cath as she was (a introvert and homebody) rubbed me the wrong way. I was much like she was in my first year of college. I hung out in my room, made very few friends, spent some of my free time writing fanfiction (based on Joker) and discovered how bad my anxiety was. Having been where she was made me hate her roommate quite a bit, because I knew people like. I was only middle of the road for this book though. I’m planning to read another Rowell book in hopes that I get the same love that everyone else does. I am glad you enjoyed it though, I’m always happy to see that others enjoyed books more than me. 😀
    Michelle @ In Libris Veritas recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books on my Spring 2014 TBR

    • trish

      That’s interesting to hear your views Michelle as the book must have brought back some not so happy memories for you. I liked her roommate even though I started off hating her but I can see why she would make you feel that way.

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