Accurate and Nostalgic: Fangirl by Rainbow RowellThursday, December 05, 2013
FangirlAuthor's website | Goodreads
by Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Published: September 10th 2013 by St. Martin's Press
Source: Bought/Own copy
From the author of 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?
You know what? I kinda feel sorry for the next books I’ll be seeing after this. I’ve just been constantly reading amazing and excellently-written novels and I’m constantly expecting more and more from each one. Good thing, though. Fangirl did live up to those high expectations!
She truly is magic. Like rainbows. Rainbow Rowell, I mean. I loved her writing style. It was plain-spoken, candid, and uncomplicated. It struck me in the most unfamiliarly familiar ways. Her words were too close to home and it was hard—no, impossible—to not feel for the characters. She wrote so personally that you’d think the book was speaking to you as if it knew you. I can’t wait to get my hands on her other works!
Cather, “Cath”, is a huge Simon Snow (sort of Harry Potter—has its similarities and differences) fan. Possibly the biggest. And the most famous Simon Snow fanfiction writer as well. She and her twin sister, Wren, have been obsessing over the series since they were young, until, enter college life, Wren chose to drift away. Now, left to her own grounds, overly introvert Cath must figure out how to do things—that is, fixate as much time as possible over Simon Snow—alone without her other half.
I was in a pursuit of good romance, but what I got was more—a great character. I honestly didn’t know people like Cath exist. Those who don’t want to meet new friends, those who’d prefer to eat protein bars for days in their room because they didn’t know where to sit at their new school’s dining hall, those who’d rather live in a fictional world, those who love fictional characters over real ones. (Uhh.. maybe I believe the last one. I prefer fictional characters over actual humans.)
I sort of understand where Cath was coming from. She was afraid to step out of her comfort zone. To be the vampire who dared see the sun. I get her—of not wanting to let go, of wanting to stay the same because it's all she knew and it was safe. I liked how she was distinguished from Wren who was anything but her. Wren was carefree, social, bold. Cath was awkward, inept, isolated. And that was what’s remarkable! She changed realistically. Inch by inch, she started to see the world for what it is, to notice the people that are neither Simon nor Baz.
Levi could only be described as perfectly imperfect. Even though he had his flaws, he always still made it up to Cath. He was super sweet, caring, thoughtful, smart, and funny. He has great hair, a killer widow’s peak, a more killer smile, and he was tall—a “leaner”. He was perfect for her.
Widow’s peaks and killer smiles aside, it was good that the focus of Fangirl was in Cath’s relationships with the people around her, and not just the romance. Her relationship with her fiction-writing professor, writing partner, roommate, twin sister, mother, father, and Levi, especially.
The book’s format was nice—in between chapters, there were excerpts from Gemma T. Leslie’s fantasy series or Cath/Wren’s fanfiction entries. It’s easy to say that in one book, I got lost in three stories—in Fangirl’s, the real Simon Snow stories, and the fanfictions of Cath and Wren. Rainbow Rowell was brilliant like that.
This one-of-a-kind masterpiece from Rainbow Rowell that is a late-coming-of-age novel with an accurate portrayal of college romance is just beautiful. Moving, relatable and nostalgic, this one is a must-see for fangirls, fanboys, and, well, everyone.
THE NUB AND GIST: 5 STARS