Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

book cover of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 433
Source: BEA
Reading level: YA/NA
Challenge (s): Sophomore, YA Contemporary

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?

I think I’m in love.  Seriously, though, I want to live in this book.  Rainbow Rowell has gained a new fan and I can’t wait to check out her other books.  (I confess, I haven’t read Eleanor and Park yet!)
Cather is one half of a set of twins.  Cather (Cath) and Wren (makes Catherine, get it?) couldn’t be more different.  Cath is an introverted nerd who spends all her free time writing fan fiction about Simon Snow (think Harry Potter.)  Wren spends all her free time partying with her new college roommate.  This puts a gap in Cath and Wren’s relationship which opens Cath up to a whole new world of people.
Cath is super easy to relate to, being an introvert myself.  She’s shy, nerdy, and awkward (traits I definitely share.)  She’s beyond easy to like and I was immediately caught up in her story.  Wren was not nearly as easy to like but she was a good person.  She was nasty to Cath a lot and she didn’t always think things through but she grew throughout the book.  Reagan, Cath’s roommate, was one of my favorite characters.  She seemed mean at first but it was just her personality.  She was super sarcastic and pretty much every comment out of her mouth made me laugh.  And of course there is Levi.  He is my newest fictional crush.  He’s super sweet and sexy (in a gangly way) and he’s always there for Cath.  They have a wonderful friendship.  Everything about him was perfect (including all his imperfections.)
The setting really helped make Fangirl fabulous.  It’s a realistic college setting that’s both beautiful and true to reality.  I want to go to school there.  There’s a good mix of class time, extracurriculars, other college activities, and some time spent at home.  Fangirl really showed how family dynamics can still work even when away at college.
The story is contemporary (obviously) so it’s not super action-packed or thrilling but it’s still completely unputdownable.  There’s plenty going on in the story to keep readers interested from beginning to end.  Even at over 400 pages I never felt that it was too long or overdue.  In fact, I would have loved more!
Overall, Fangirl is a total must-read.  It’s a new favorite of mine and I highly recommend it to fans of contemporary novels.

What others are saying about Fangirl:

Prettybooks’ review: Fangirl is one of the most wonderful, accomplished, authentic YA contemporary novels I’ve come across.” 

Chick Loves Lit’s review: “This is one of those books that you will pick up and read and from the first chapter you’ll think to yourself, I wouldn’t mind reading this… for forever.” 

Jenna Does Books’ review: FANGIRL is sure to please current fans of her books, as well as draw in potential new readers.” 

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14 Comments

  1. Evie Seo

    Sounds delicious, Katie! I’ve seen this book everywhere recently – all my friends have been raving about it, and Jess picked it for her September favorite read, so yeah, um – definitely need to get my hands on it, soon! I am kicking myself for not requesting it from Macmillan last time Ksenia sent out the email – how stupid, stupid, Evie!

    Thank you for the beautiful review!

  2. Amanda

    I remember enjoying learning about the origins of Cath and Wren’s names when I read this book. So funny! I also found that I could relate to Cath pretty easily, although I thought that her introversion actually bordered on being some actual psychological issue, to be honest. It was just a little too extreme for me. Glad you enjoyed this one, though! (And I haven’t read Eleanor and Park yet either – I need to get on that!)

  3. JoanneMarie Faust

    I’m very jealous that you’ve read this before me. I recently read Eleanor and Park and am completely in love with the book and the characters. After reading your review, I am going to make sure that Fangirl moves to the top of the TBR list

  4. Bookworm1858

    It’s kind of good that you haven’t read E&P yet-now you get to go back and check it out. You also have Attachments, which is an adult book and is also incredible! E&P is still my favorite though for what I consider to be an incomparable love story.

  5. Christina Kit.

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!! Love the twist on the twin relationship, how they want to be apart and how Cath has to navigate new dynamics.

    The romance was wonderful, I really loved it, and although people thought the fanfic was silly, I truly enjoyed it, it was like being in Cath’s world for a bit, see what she likes and why 🙂

    Lovely review 🙂

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