Author: Rainbow Rowell
On the Shelves: Young Adult> Contemporary/Romance
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? (Goodreads 2014)
I read my first Rowell book “Attachments” at the end of last year (click the title for my review!). Over the last year, since I follow book blogs, there has been a hype-storm surrounding Rowell’s newest release “Fangirl”, you could not avoid the hype even if you tried, if you follow the book blogging community at all! So after enjoying Attachments despite having some minor issues with it, I finally picked up Fangirl.
I opened the cover as if it were going to bite me. My history with overhyped things is not a positive one. As a rule of thumb, if everybody adores something, I’m likely to find it mediocre at best. I didn’t want to go into Fangirl expecting to adore it and be disappointed again. But I needn’t have worried.
While I did find one or two issues with this book, I enjoyed it. At the end of the day, I “enjoyed” it. I read it in three nights, and left it feeling pretty darn happy. So yes. I gave this book a solid four stars.
It didn’t quite make five because like I said, I did have some issues with it. I almost feel like Rowell studied the internet/Tumblr for months and picked the most extreme exaggerations of the “i am a fangirl” tag and used them to build a character. As a result, I did find Cath very unbelievable and not realistic at all. But this did mean she had picked an “instant popularity” horse because if you read the immediate reviews on goodreads, all you see is “THIS IS SO ME OMFG”. Well, sorry, but this is not me. Even as someone who herself is an introvert and gets social anxiety in groups larger than a three, I found Cath utterly ridiculous. I nearly lost it when she actually submitted a fanfiction as a university coursework assessment- are you kidding me?!
My other huge issue came from her sister, Wren. I hated that she didn’t respect Cath’s personal space and looked down her nose at her all the time once they got to uni (if she looked at Cath at all). She didn’t take the time to even talk to her sister, despite how close they had been before uni. Wren was absolutely horrid to Cath, making snide remarks about the “geeky” things she enjoys because she doesn’t like to drink or go to bars. As someone who actually is this way inclined in real life, I really did empathise with Cath on that much at least, and found it infuriating that Wren couldn’t even appreciate how hard it was for Cath to move away from home, never mind try to socialise in the way Wren wanted. I realise this was written on purpose and the whole point is Wren is being a little rebel in a drastic comparison to Cath being so “Tame”, but yeah. I spent most of this book hating Wren as a character.
However, I really did enjoy the relationships between Cath and her father, and I enjoyed watching Cath grow throughout the book and try to come to terms with having to grow out of her shell at least a little bit.
Rowell’s writing style is fluid and entertaining and sucks you into the story. I stayed up late reading 100+ pages per night, and it’s been a while since I’ve done that. I actually lost track of the time whilst reading this story and that doesn’t happen half as much as it should. I found the same thing with Attachments.
Oh, yeah, and I also wish to buy a Levi, where can I get one please? What a charmer.