Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published: 9-10-2013 by St. Martin’s Press
Get the book: Amazon
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?
The title really pops against the background color, which is pretty girly, but the title already has the word “girl” in it, so I suppose the color isn’t too much of a big deal. I love the hand-drawn feel of the title and the way the characters are interacting with it. I’m already a fan of Noelle’s illustrations. Not really sure about the speech bubble though. It’s sort of a stand-in for a tagline. It’s definitely needed to balance out the composition of the cover, and it does represent the book well, I’m just not completely sold on it.
I flew through this book. I loved every single second of reading it and I really looked forward to getting back into the book when I wasn’t reading it. Even if fanfiction isn’t something you are familiar with, or maybe it’s something you don’t like, this story is great and I highly recommend it. Also, I loved so many of the passages of this book that I’m doubling my Favorite Quotes section for this review.
- college – Finally, an awesome book where the protagonist is in college. This book deals with mostly Cath’s adjustment to college, but it’s also Wren’s freshman year, so we get to see each twin’s way of dealing with that adjustment. This is essentially a “New Adult” book where the main characters have real lives and aren’t just obsessed with sex (which is a huge problem I have with New Adult books). I also appreciated that we got to see how their Dad reacted to both of his daughters going off to college at once.
- family – In most YA books, parents and family are nonexistent unless the main plot is about family drama. In this book, Cath’s twin sister is at the same school but isn’t leaning on Cath for support – she’s spreading her wings and finding new friends, while Cath initially flounders without her built-in BFF. Then there’s their dad, who is either bipolar or manic depressive, and has to adjust to living alone. Cath tries to maintain regular contact with him because she worries about him not having her and Wren looking out for him. Then what comes between Wren and Cath is their different attitudes about their runaway mom. So, family matters a lot to Cath and it shows.
- Levi – Levi is a dangerous kind of guy – nice but too charming for his own good. Most of the scenes when he’s around are so fun and joyful. I liked how he looked out for Cath, but liked her as she was and didn’t push her to break out of her shell before she was ready. He wasn’t portrayed as flawless, which is something I feel some YA books do. Levi had real flaws, not BS thinks like “oh he loves me too much.”
- Reagan – I liked that Cath’s roommate was so different from Cath. Reagan has a been there, done that attitude and Cath feels like Reagan hates her at first. I think Reagan was just trying to avoid getting drawn into someone else’s life by being friends with them, but when Reagan decides that Cath needs her, she turns out to be a reliable friend to Cath.
- Simon Snow fanfiction – So, being a book called Fangirl, obviously this book has a lot to do with Cath and Wren being very big fans. They have grown up writing fanfiction based on Simon Snow, a series of books that is pretty similar to Harry Potter. Fanfiction isn’t something I know a ton about because I don’t read any fanfics, but it’s a big deal and has become more of a mainstream thing lately because of the changing publishing industry. Mainly, people are actually getting published by writing fanfic of popular things – you know, 50 Shades of Grey and Cassandra Clare’s books started as fanfiction (both based on Twilight I believe). Anyways, fanfic can be a great thing – you can practice your writing while making your favorite characters live forever through the magic of the Interwebs. Sometimes it’s better written than the original material, but most isn’t and I lean toward not liking that it’s being published as real books. Anyhow, I thought it was strange how Simon Snow was so similar to Harry Potter. I was just kind of thinking “this is weird – is it meant to be a Harry Potter clone so we can relate to it? Is it meant to be obvious that it’s HP or is it supposed to be its own thing?” Clearly, HP has a huge fanbase, so I suppose it’s something a large amount of YA readers can relate to. I wanted to find an interview or something where the author was asked about Simon Snow’s relation to Harry Potter, but I couldn’t find any.
- “Drunk nerds. Not my thing.” “You like nerds.” “Not nerds who join fraternities,” Cath said. “That’s a whole subclass of nerds that I’m not interested in.” – Cath + Wren pg. 31
- “I didn’t know you had a mother,” he said. “Or a sister. What else are you hiding?” “Five cousins,” Wren said. “And a string of ill-fated hamsters, all named Simon.” Levi opened his smile up completely. “Oh, put that away,” Cath said with distaste. “I don’t want you to get charm all over my sister – what if we can’t get it out?” – Levi, Wren, + Cath pg. 79
- “We’re leaving,” Cath said to Wren. “You’re drunk.” “Yes-” Wren held up her beer bottle. “-finally.” “Whoa, there,” Levi said, snagging the bottle and dropping it into a trash can behind her. “Open container.” “That was my beer,” Wren objected. “A little louder there, jailbait. I don’t think every cop on the street heard you.” He was smiling. – Cath, Wren, + Levi pg. 118
- Their dad watched ‘Simon Snow and the Fifth Blade’ with them, with a notebook on his lap. “Live lived with you two for too long,” he said, sketching a big bowl of Gravioli. “I went to see the new ‘X-Men’ movie with Kelly, and I was convinced the whole time that Professor X and Magneto were in love.” “Well, obviously,” Wren said. – Wren, Cath, + their dad pg. 236
Acquired: bought (ebook)