I was browsing along GoodReads one day when I spotted a giveaway for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of a book called Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I was immediately intrigued, and read the synopsis for it, page and immediately entered. I was not picked as a winner, but I still held that book in my mind as one that I needed to read once it came out.
Once, I had heard of Eleanor and Park, and how good it was, I had to read that, and I loved it, and enjoyed, which only made me want to read this book even more.
I read this book the day I bought it, and it…well, you’ll have to read further to really know what I thought of it.
FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell
young adult, contemporary
Part of a Series?
No. This is a standalone novel.
You May Like if You Liked:
If I Stay and Just One Day by Gayle Forman, anything by John Green, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
To put it simple, Cath is a fangirl. She grew up with the love of Simon Snow, a soon-to-be-eight part fantasy children’s series that is a global phenomenon. Everyone is a Simon Snow fan in some way, but Cath is different. She’s obsessed and its her life. She has memorabilia and posters and artwork and shirts galore. But the one thing that is most important to her is her Simon Snow fanfiction, Carry On, which she has been writing for two years and means the world to her.
Its time for Cath and her twin sister, Wren, to go to college and Cath expects it to be the same as it always has been; they’ll room together, do everything together. But Wren has other plans: she wants to have the whole college experience and without her twin sister always by her side. She wants some individuality. So Cath ends up with Reagan, a roommate with a mean streak, and a boyfriend named Levi who is incapable of anything but absolutely niceness.
Cath struggles to fit in at college. She’s an introvert, content to spend hours at her computer, writing her fanfiction and keeping away from everyone. That’s easier said than done. Reagan takes her on as her little project, Levi is always around, and she now has a cute writing partner, Nick, in her fictional writing class.
Here is the official GoodReads synopsis:
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
Nothing. I hardly hardly hardly ever say that but there’s no part of this book that I thought was bad in any way. I burst through this book in less than 24 hours and I was so happy at the end of it. I was in that state of bliss after reading this book, that sort of bliss that comes with reading such a great book. I would say the only teensy tiny minor little thing is that she inserted little tidbits from both the Simon Snow books and Cath’s fanfic throughout the book and now I really want to read them!
I knew as soon as I saw the title of this book, and saw the synopsis that I had to read this book. I just knew. I bought it on Saturday at Barnes and Noble last Saturday, where my boyfriend’s work for some reason, already had it on the shelves, even though it came out two days ago. I didn’t ask questions; I just snagged it. And its funny, because I posted a picture of myself and the book on Twitter, saying “reading Fangirl, aka my life story”, and some person tweeted back at me, “Its not what you think.”
Now I’m not really sure what that person thought I was thinking, or what she was thinking, or any of that, but its exactly what I thought it was going to be and even better.
I am a fangirl. This is something that I’ve been ever since the book, Harry Potter, came into my life. Nowadays, its cool to be a fangirl, its cool to be a nerd and to have an obsession with these sorts of things but when I was growing up, it wasn’t. It most definitely wasn’t, and I wrapped so much of my life in the Harry Potter series. I was shy, and severely lacking of self-confidence and terrified of anything and everything that came near me. I was afraid of making my own friends. I was afraid of boys. I was afraid of going anywhere social. I was afraid of so much, unless my best friend, Vanessa was by my side at all times, which made it so hard when I lost her as a friend. I was obsessed with Harry Potter and books and the fictional worlds they created, and I still am. Its the reason that I have a blog, its the reason that majority of my friends are online friends, its the reason I have 8 tattoos. I think there are a lot of people out there who just don’t understand the way it is for me.
But Rainbow Rowell does. She knows how all the fangirls feel, and its honestly like she picked me up, and wrote me as a fictional character in Cath. Cath is so believable and realistic because she is me. She’s my friend, Jackie. She’s my friend, Sylvia. She’s my friends, Pamela and Cassandra and Deb and Logan and Adrienne and Eilidh, and she’s just perfect. She has been obsessed with the Simon Snow series for as long as its been around. And sure, its a global phenomenon but its not like that with Cath. It means the world to her, its her way of escaping and coping. Simon Snow, Baz, Agatha, Penelope, they are all her friends, and they are a part of her every single day. She writes an epic fanfiction about Simon and Baz, and she is hurt when her sister talks of the Simon Snow series in a bad way, it actually hurts Cath, because her sister should know how much it means to her.
Um, me. Me. Me. Me.
Now that Cath is in college, she has to deal with the idea of escaping from that fictional world and live in the real world, and its incredibly hard for her. The idea of a roommate that isn’t her sister, of venturing into a college dining hall for the first time, having friends and venturing into the world without her twin sister at her side. And its a scary, scary thing and Rainbow really does a great job of capturing that sort of fear, unease and anxiety. She really makes you believe in Cath, as a person and as a character. She feels entirely real and you can’t help but want to be her best friend, so that you can both curl up together and read books.
What Rainbow does in this book is creates a believable and completely relatable story, and for her potential readers, its absolutely perfect. The people that are going to read this book most likely are you and me, readers, people like Cath. I found myself getting emotional at times because of the story. I felt so close to the story and to Cath, and I felt such a connection to it. Every time there was a mention of Cath’s devotion to the Simon Snow books, or her love of it, I felt myself tearing up because I understood those feelings completely. Whenever Cath made a joke or some reference to fandom in general, I was laughing so hard I started crying again.
Its a beautiful coming of age story told in a way that devoted readers can relate to and it makes for such a wonderful book. I became so addicted to it so fast, and I love every character in there, and the realism of the book, and the way that she is able to capture exactly how I feel every single day. I love that she shows Cath as such a real person. Because its more than just the story of a girl obsessed with a particular book series. Its a coming of age story that so many people can relate to. Its about a person who is so afraid, and so closed off that she can barely see the real world. It really takes her twin sister letting go of the leash that’s kept them together for Cath to step out on her own, and really realize her potential. She becomes such a stronger person as the novel goes on, and its just so brilliant to watch.
I also would like to say that it is great that Cath is a writer as well, and that so much of her confidence her writing comes from the fan fiction that she writes of Simon Snow and Baz. I love that its both a great confidence and also something that is holding her back as well. It is something that she obviously enjoys a lot, and she has gained quite a popularity from it, and her Fiction Writing professor thinks fan fiction is absolutely horrible and a form of plagiarism. But I think as the story progresses, Cath is able to find her medium, between doing the writing that she loves and finding the story within her as well.
5 out of 5 Stars
Recommended or Not?
Yes, yes, yes. Definitely. Even if you’re not a nerd or a fangirl, you will love this book. Its so genuine and real. Its emotional and funny as hell and it keeps you addicted from page one until the end. Every character, from Cath to her twin sister, Wren, to her roommate, Reagan, and Reagan’s “boyfriend”, Levi, to her father is so well thought out, and so relatable. You find yourself seeing so many of your own friends and family in these characters, and seeing yourself in them as well. Please pick up this book. You will not be disappointed. It will not be hard for this to become one of my favorite books.
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Thanks for stopping by for the Book of the Week, I hope you enjoyed it and are able to pick up a copy of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl!
Don’t forget to check out previous reviews in the Book of the Week here.