Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press
Summary: From the author the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
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?
Review: Here’s the thing, I’m a little unsure if I liked this book or not. I took almost a week to finish reading this in between life and university, and now that it’s over I’m a little lost. I had such high hopes for Fangirl, having heard endless reviews for Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. When I first heard the premise, I got incredibly excited – and so it sat in my To Be Read list for months. And now… I wouldn’t go to the extent saying I loved this book (I don’t), but I wouldn’t say I hated it. I liked it (enough).
I expected to see a lot of myself in Cath, given my extensive love for fanfiction writing. For most of us, we’ve probably written fanfiction (slash fics, no less) and I’m fairly certain a lot of us still belong to a fandom, actively or otherwise. Cath is obsessed with Simon Snow and is a BNF (big name in fandom) in the Simon Snow community. I had so many issues with Cath and I couldn’t really relate to her all that much, to my surprise. I was once a BNF/fanfiction writer, and to a certain extent, I’m still very involved in fandom. Cath is a lot like me in certain aspects: fanfic writer, shy and introverted, very reluctant to try new things/make friends. For the most part, I understood why she tries so hard to not stand out and hide away in her room. Starting school can be a very daunting thing, especially when you’re shy and sort of awkward, and I get it. But here’s what I don’t get – how does anybody blatantly give up on a major assignment just because “she doesn’t want to”?
Cath developed as a person in most aspects but I felt that she was still very adamant about fanfiction and about what people had to say about it. I think that she’s so immersed in this fandom that she completely forgets that she’s a real person that needs to do actual work to graduate. I liked her as a character when we weren’t talking about fanfiction or having to listen to her defend herself because of it.
I really liked Reagan’s character, she was feisty and funny as was Levi. I didn’t really enjoy Wren’s character; she wasn’t diverse in the sense that I kind of had her figured out from the get go. She’s a party animal and that’s all there is to her character. She was just an okay character, but wasn’t very interesting.
Relationship-wise, it was kind of predictable the way things were going between Cath and Levi as opposed to Cath and Nick. I didn’t really care about Nick but I did like Levi. I enjoyed their relationship/friendship, even though he was really strange in the beginning but I ended up liking him individually and with Cath.
I wish the ending didn’t feel so rushed, considering this is a pretty long book at 400-odd pages. I didn’t like how it ended, and while Cath did change towards the end, I felt that I was short-changed of that progress with her. I’ve already gone through 400 pages with her, throughout college, I would have wanted to go through this change with her and applaud her for it. What am I supposed to do when out of nowhere she just changes? I don’t know how to explain this, but I hope you understand what I’m trying to say.
I had a hard time going into this book and it took me SO LONG to finish. This is my first Rowell book and I don’t know if this is what the rest of her books are like but I’m a little bit disappointed with it. It was good, but it wasn’t great. It is a book that most people can relate to, not just Harry Potter, but of any fandom. I really liked the idea behind the book, the premise was really interesting so I would still recommend everyone to read this book.