Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Source: eArc via NetGalley
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?
There is just so much to say about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I loved every second of this book and was unable to put it down. It is difficult to even find a place to start with this review because the book is near perfection.
Cather and Wren (I love this, their mother did not know they were going to be twins, so she had only picked the name Catherine) are starting their first year of college. Wren decides that she does not want to live with Cather (who goes by Cath) and wants nothing to do with the fan fiction they used to write together. Cath is, rightfully, hurt by this and starts school my keeping to herself and rarely leaving her room.
Eventually Cath starts a writing project with a classmate in her advanced fiction class. This project, and the attention of Levi who is her roommates boyfriend, start to open Cath up. She begins to try to reach out. Wren begins to party and drink to excess. Both girls really represent what a lot of young people go through with their first taste of freedom in college. The struggle to find where you belong and who you are feels very authentic here.
The greatest part of Fangirl (and trust me, much of it is great) are the relationships. Rowell does such a good job with each character and the interactions. The dialogue is snappy and often hilarious. The relationship between Levi and Cath is outstanding. They are adorable, but hit some snags early on. The relationship just feels so real and I loved pretty much any part of the book that they both are in. There is just such an overwhelming need to root for them. To hope they can work it out.
Cath and Wren have a father who has mental health issues. The way it is handled by Rowell is both informative and heartfelt. The love that Cath and Wren have for their father, who was their sole caregiver after their mother left, is very heartfelt. Of course this relationship, and the loss of their mother, is used to illustrate why Cath and Wren both throw themselves into the world of fan fiction. Escapism at its best and even better than just reading a book, you can be the one to control the world.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is both beautifully written and wonderfully insightful coming-of-age story. The romance will give you butterflies and the dialogue will often have you laughing. The creativity of using excerpts of fan fiction (with the inclusion of passages from the actual book) are such a great touch. Fangirl is a wonderful book and one in which I highly recommend.
I was given a free eARC of Fangirl but all thoughts are my own.
Cover image and summary from goodreads.