Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review: Fangirl

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Source: Purchased
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 Review

I hate doing this, but I must start off by saying that I thought the first quarter of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was mind-numbingly boring. I almost gave up on it because of how slow-paced it was, but it is Rainbow Rowell, so I had to finish reading it, especially because I've been loving everything by her. A local school librarian told me that it wasn't the greatest Rainbow Rowell book, so I expected some of it to be boring. In the end, I found myself really enjoying it, and it's definitely a book that I think all teens should read.

Obviously, I kept reading. The story becomes more interesting around the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. I liked the rest of the book after that.
I loved how different Cath and her sister were in the novel. Cath and Wren are identical twin sisters who were raised by their crazy dad because their mom left when they were young. They dealt with a lot growing up, and it's shaped who they have become - Simon Snow mega fans. Before heading off to college, Wren decides to mature her image by giving up on being a Simon Snow fangirl and by not rooming with her twin! LIKE OMG! Cath just can't give it up, and continually works on writing a fanfic about him. Both go their separate ways, Wren joining the party scene, and Cath is basically a Tumblr girl; she stays in her room all the time. The two eventually get in a big fight, as all sisters do. Both start romantic relationships. Cath deals with her writing partner stealing from her. Eventually, Wren goes overboard, and the two sisters make up. It is revealed that Wren is still a Simon Snow fangirl after all; just a closet Simon Snow fan. Eventually, Cath resolves to finish her school work and both sisters enjoy the release party for the eighth and final Simon Snow book.

There's family. There's love. There's fighting. There's college. I loved that this one is still marketed as YA instead of NA because that first year of college is an exploratory stage for everyone, and Cath learns how to deal. It's more of a coming of age tale that also includes a few characters with mental illnesses. I loved that Rainbow brought that into this novel because it shows that mental illnesses run in families, and that it's okay to not be okay.

There are extreme parallels to Harry Potter. I know that a lot of people were angry about this because they feel like Rainbow got away with not paying Warner Brothers by changing the names and events, but to be honest, it didn't really bother me. There are still plenty of differences that make the world of Simon Snow uniquely Rainbow's.

So yes... I liked the book, but I really don't know what to think of the ending. I liked how it ended with something new from Cath, but I would have liked to see what happened with Cath, Wren, Levi, and Reagan. Who knows, maybe there will be something new with these characters. I'd like that, especially something from Wren's point of view.


  1. I just finished this book a few hours ago! Completely agreed, the book was hard to get into at first. I didn't really like Cath in the beginning, she just seemed so close-minded (or whatever the opposite of open-minded is xD) and unwilling to adapt. But she grew on me, especially as I read more and more snippets of Simon Snow canon and her fic. I'm praying that Rainbow Rowell will actually write this Simon Snow series, that would be very awesome.
    Cath and Levi were really cute together! It still seems weird to me that he was sort-of Reagan's boyfriend, though. And did you catch Levi's mention of Harry Potter? That threw me off a little, since Simon Snow reminded me so much of Harry Potter, and it's hard to imagine two worldwide smashing fantasy successes going on at the same time, haha.
    Nice review :)

  2. Connie - She says her next book is YA Fantasy! Maybe it is the Simon Snow stuff. I have a feeling that we are getting a series of Simon Snow graphic novels. I think she had the Harry Potter reference in there because the Simon Snow stuff started off as Draco/Harry fanfiction.


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