Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

October 23, 2013 Review 6

FangirlPages: 438
Published: September 10th 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Series: N/A – Stand Alone
Source: Purchased at Coles

Amazon | TBD | Kobo | Goodreads

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?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Thoughts & Review
I had zero intentions of reading Fangirl, and I mean zero. I’ve been trying to avoid “over hyped” books, especially contemporary ones because contemporary is not really my go to genre so when they are hyped up I often have a not great experience with them. When Cass and I decided to do the Fall Into Reading Read Along we each decided to pick a book from our favorite genre, her’s being contemporary and thus Fangirl was added to my reading list. THANK YOU CASSIE <3 Seriously, I would probably NEVER have picked this book up, even despite the outstanding reviews everywhere, and that would have been a crime.

The main character, Cather, legitimately might be one of my all time favorite characters in a contemporary novel. The only other character that I even think holds a candle to her in my eyes is Caymen from The Distance Between us. I freakin adored Cather. She was such a strange, anxiety ridden, shut in type of girl but SO AWESOME. Her bluntness was hilarious. I loved her obsession with Simon Snow, I loved her awkwardness… I just loved her. Reagan was another character that was awesome. She is Cath’s roommate and her bluntness and stick-it-to-you-straight type of attitude really made her character. If it wasn’t for Reagan, Cath probably would have died at university(seriously, starved to death!) and their relationship was fantastic. Wren, Cath’s twin sister… well I didn’t like her. Maybe I didn’t like her because I couldn’t understand their relationship but I just couldn’t relate at all to the fact she wanted hardly anything to do with her twin sister. It was just weird to me, because I could never imagine treating my sister like that. I guess she wasn’t awful but compared to the other characters she really sucked. And… Levi. Oh Levi. This boy… he was awesome. So kind and gentle and loving. And he was the most patient person ever. Gosh, honestly I’m not sure that anyone would ever be as patient as Levi. He was perfect.

So obviously the characters were outstanding, now that I’ve finished gushing about them, so that brings me to another point: Rainbow Rowell’s writing. It’s something else. The way she can alone, construct a character but aside from that have me feeling as if I am so IN this book that I cannot put it down. The wit, the emotion, even Cath’s fan fiction had me completely engrossed. I can totally see why her books are so popular now because her writing is phenomenal.

One of the things I was most nervous about in Fangirl was the fan fiction portion. I have tried to read fan fiction, both years ago and recently, and just never found the appeal. It wasn’t anything specific with the stories, it just wasn’t my thing. When I learned that Fangirl’s main plot point was surrounding fan fiction, it was what ticked the big “No” box in my mind. Now, I have to admit, when I first started reading I wasn’t into it. I didn’t think it would be necessary to read, and thought it mimicked Harry Potter too much. And then something clicked with me, and I couldn’t wait for the portions where Cath read her fanfic to Levi. It really plays a large part in the novel, and an enjoyable one at that.

The romance and love story is also fantastic. While that aspect is definitely the main point of the novel, there was so many other elements that went into Fangirl. Family, relationships, navigating through university, anxiety… it’s really much more that I expected and really more than I think anyone would expect based on the synopsis.

Obviously, I only rated Fangirl 4 stars so there were a few things that didn’t totally click with me so I will stop raving for a second. The pacing did start to get a bit slow. I loved the story at first, and I loved Cath’s journey but it did start to get a bit tired and I just wanted it to hurry up and continue with Levi. It didn’t really impact my feelings for the book much, but did become a bit repetitive for a while. The only other “problem” I had with the book was the ENDING. Clearly I won’t spoil it for anyone but I just wanted more. I thought with the impact that the book had on me overall that the ending left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. It wasn’t bad, and some people probably enjoyed it a lot but it wasn’t totally there for me.

Despite those two things, this is one of my favorite books this year. The “negative” things I had to say don’t even stack up against the amazingness of this book. If you are doubting that you would enjoy it, I would suggest giving it a try. The hype definitely did not ruin this one for me 🙂

My Rating
4 Star Rating Lauren

6 Responses to “Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell”

  1. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    Yay so glad you liked it! Contemporary is not my go-to genre either. In fact, I pretty much steer clear if at all possible. But I wanted to participate in Fall Into Reading so I picked it up. Thanks Cassie!!! I loved this book so much. I actually gave it 5-stars. I didn’t mind the ending, but that was just me personally. Cath was my favorite. She reminded me of my own sister actually and reading about her struggles and development was just awesome for me.
    Rebecca @ The Library Canary recently posted..Waiting on Wednesday: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

    • Lauren

      Thanks for commenting and participating in the read along Rebecca 🙂 I’m so glad you ended up loving it as well! I don’t really avoid contemporary but I’m much more likely to put it down if it isn’t great, and I kind of walk to the beat of my own drum in that genre. I tend to avoid really hyped up books and seek out lesser known or just ones that interest me. Cath was AWESOME right? so your sister is AWESOME too 😀 I wish the ending had a bit MORE because I never wanted it to end 😛

  2. Hannah @ So Obsessed With

    Yayyyy! I’m so happy you enjoyed this one 🙂 I know what you mean about the pacing – there were a few points where I wanted more Levi and less crazy Dad or rude sister. But I still loved all the characters! Attachments is still my favorite book by Rowell, but I loved this one, too. She’s such a great author & I’m glad you ended up reading this even though you originally weren’t interested in it.
    Hannah @ So Obsessed With recently posted..When Memory FailsMy Profile

    • Lauren

      I need to read Attachments too!! Cass has said awesome things about it as well so now that I know I love Rowell’s writing, I need to get to it 🙂

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