Book Review: Fangirl

Book Review: FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Macmillan on 2013-09-10
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 448
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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?

In 2013, all I heard about was this book. In everyone’s “Best of 2013” posts, Fangirl was at the top of many people’s lists. Suffice to say, I had extremely high expectations for this book.

Fortunately, most of them were met.

The story of Fangirl is one that I think many people can relate to. Maybe not the exact details, but the overall story. Shy girl Cath goes off to college, is no good at making friends, and is not really interested in anything except writing (well, writing fanfiction). She is practically abandoned by her twin, who used to be her best friend. She is crushing hard on her roommate’s boyfriend, and he is more than friendly with her. And then, suddenly EVERYTHING in Cath’s life becomes extremely complicated: the mom who abandoned the her and her sister comes calling. Wren, Cath’s twin, begins partying a bit too hard, leading to negative consequences. Levi, the roommate’s boyfriend kisses Cath. Cath’s Dad can hardly handle anything in his life, and Cath feels responsible for him. Cath really just wants to leave school, but she promises to stay for one more semester. And let me tell you. I think she’s very glad she did.

Cath, our leading lady, does a lot of growing in this book. She’s pretty annoying at the beginning; she’s very unwilling to do pretty much anything other than write or obsess over Simon Snow (Fangirl’s version of Harry Potter). But this book is all about her becoming an adult and finding out how to balance her life.

Wren, Cath’s twin, goes to college and finds the “college experience”. I didn’t have said experience. I couldn’t have found alcohol or a party on my campus if I’d been given a map. Much of the story is the girls finding out who they are separately. In high school they were sort of one entity, and it was interesting to see them trying to figure out their own way apart from each other.

Levi. New favorite book boyfriend. For real. He’s adorable. He’s got his own issues, and he’s not just there to try to help Cath figure out her own mess. I like they are both working on themselves, trying to be better people. Their relationship develops slowly. No real instalove here. But man, is it worth the wait.

Fangirl is a love letter to fandoms. It’s a love letter to writers and artists trying to figure out how to use their creativity. It’s about a family trying to stay together and a the journey of a new, timid relationship that is so stinkin’ adorable, you can’t help but love it. One of the best contemporary romances out there.

For fans of Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss.

Conclusion: Run to the nearest bookstore right now and buy this book. You owe it to yourself.

5 Stars

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