Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release date: September 10th 2013
Pages: 448
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Bought
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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? Writing her own stories? Open her heart to someone? Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I'd been hearing all this hype about Rainbow Rowell, and after she appeared on everyone's best-of-2013 lists, I knew I had to give her a try. Fangirl sounded right up my alley, but I was still a little scared I wouldn't love it as much as everyone else did. Luckily, though, there was nothing to worry about - Fangirl is amazing, and I loved everything about it.

Of course, I love that it's set at college. Fangirl is everything I had been hoping the new adult genre would be and - a book with older characters in situations after high school, dealing with more "adult"  issues, but one that is still a Young Adult story at heart. I loved the realistic portrayal of the various aspects of college life - I don't think I've read a new adult book that captures this experience quite so well. The only thing I thought was weird is that Cath has an upperclassman as a roommate - is that normal at other schools? I thought you could only live with people in your own year...

What really made this novel work, for me, is Cath. I connected with Cath so easily because, in many ways, Cath is me - or the me I was a year and a half ago, when I first started college. I recognized my own awkwardness in so many parts of Cath, and it was really reassuring to read about someone who had the same experiences I did starting college. Cath is awkward and anti-social, and I loved it. I also loved her obsession with fanfic, since I went through a fanfic phase, too, and definitely know what it's like to spend all your time on the internet, talking about books...

I loved everything about this story. Cath's relationship with her roommate, Reagan, is so much fun to read about, and the family storyline is really well-developed. And, for once, I absolutely loved the romance! I don't want to talk about this too much, since I really appreciated how you don't know who - if anyone - Cath will be involved with (even though I guess it doesn't matter, since everyone else has already read Fangirl). The story is the opposite of insta-love, it's ridiculously adorable, and I loved everything about it.

The only thing I'm not sure about is the fanfiction. In a way, I liked it - it's really well-done, and I liked getting a glimpse into that part of Cath's life. But it still felt kind of pointless - we only get to read fragments of both the real Simon Snow story and Cath's take on it, which means we never really get to understand the whole story. That's why I didn't really see the point in having them, even if I did enjoy seeing this spectrum of Rainbow Rowell's writing.

I really don't know how to explain my love for Fangirl. I connected with Cath on such a personal level, and I loved being there along with her during her first year of college. Fangirl is a new favorite of mine, and I can't wait to read more by Rainbow Rowell!


  1. I haven't read this one yet. I have seen it everywhere. Just an FYI you can room with anyone at college. I am going to put this one on my list.


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