Review: Fangirl

November 21, 2013 book review 12

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Released: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 438
Format: hardcover
Source: bought

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?

FANGIRL was such an amazing book. I’m not exaggerating. It was cute, lovely, heartwarming, deep, well thought out, interesting, relatable, and is something I would reread in a heartbeat.

Cath is starting her freshman year of college away from home, with a roommate she’s never met, is without her twin sister for the first time, and is quite the introvert. She doesn’t particularly want to make friends. She doesn’t want to party. She wants to go to class, make good grades, and work on her Simon Snow fanfiction. She’s thrown into a world so completely unlike everything she’s used to. It takes her time to slowly adjust and she learns how to live without her other half, care for the people she loves from far away, and how to step out of her little shell. FANGIRL follows Cath during the fall and spring semester as she figures out who she is, who she wants to be, and how to let others in.

Cath was basically the spitting image of me while I was in college. She’d rather hang out in her room than go to parties. She hated talking to drunk people. If she kissed somebody, it meant something. Her mother walked out on her family when she was young, like my dad, and she has had trust issues ever since, like me. She wants to be with somebody but is deathly afraid that opening up her heart to somebody is just giving them the ticket to turn around and walk away later. It absolutely sucks to have this thinking but I could not relate to her any more than I did. I met Rowell at YALLFest for the first time but after reading this book, I feel like she met me a long time ago and decided to write down my college story. She just added the fanfiction thing in to make the story more interesting. I was, and am still, a big introvert who has more online friends than she can count and would rather hole up in her room reading and talking with the book community. If any of you are like this, which I’m assuming we all are to some degree, you’ve got to read this book. You’ll instantly be connected to Cath and know exactly what she is going through.

One of the boys Cath comes across is Levi. I fell in love with him from the first second he appeared on the page. He’s overly polite and pleasant, always smiling, and doesn’t hesitate for a second to help Cath with anything she wants. He is the definition of a good guy. He has nervous ticks that are adorable and I loved how he and Cath interacted with each other. He made me furious at one point–side note: the exact thing he did happened to me when I was in college. THE RAGE I FELT–in the story but he found a way to turn everything around and make me love him again. He’s flawed but perfect wrapped all into one adorable character. I wish I had/do come across someone like him.

I really enjoyed how Rowell included some of Cath’s fanfiction in-between chapters. We’re told constantly that she is working on her fic and getting to read some of her past work firsthand was really neat and made me see why she loved those characters even more. Some excerpts were directly from the Simon Snow books. While it was cool seeing the differences between Cath and the real author’s work, this was only a snippet of what happens and I found myself skimming. Since I hadn’t read these “books,”  I had no clue what was happening during this scene, who the people were, and what their ultimate mission was. They weren’t in order by book either, so it’s all random. I wish I had gotten to know more about who they were because it would’ve made me understand Cath even better.

FANGIRL takes the crown for my favorite contemporary of 2013. Hands down. It was such a great story and I can’t wait to relive Cath’s journey again in the future. If you haven’t read this, I strongly suggest you do!

5 Thought Clouds!


12 Responses to “Review: Fangirl”

  1. Cait

    I. am. dying. for this book. And you’ve made it WORSE!!! Oh gosh! This is such a good review!! XD I just finished reading “This Song Will Save Your Life” and had that complete identifying moment with it. Like the author knew me as she wrote it. That feeling blows me away. And I’m an extreme introvert with fangirlish (surprise!) tendencies…so I need this book. That is all. I need it.

    I would probably be like you and skim over the excerpts from the fan-fic though. I always want to just read about the characters. Begone distractions. 😉

    • Christine P

      Ooh, I need to go see your review of that! Especially if it blew you away 🙂 YES, you must read this! You would totally relate to this too, promise!

      Exactly! It was taking away from all the awesome characters I came to know and love.

  2. Natalie Natflixandbooks

    I really enjoyed this one, too. I loved both her roommate and the love interest and thought the family dynamics were well done and interesting. I loved the Simon Snow excerpts. I understand your point that because the reader never knows the real “story”, but it didn’t bother me. I just envisioned Daniel Radcliffe and whoever played Draco in the movies. I loved the element of fanfic. Great review! I’m glad you enjoyed this one, too.

    • Christine P

      I completely forgot to mention the family dynamics. They were great and dysfunctional and completely real. Those excerpts reminded me SO much of Harry Potter! Originally I thought it was Cath’s world’s revision but then someone did mention Harry Potter so scratch that idea out.

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