May 18, 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


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?

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date:  September 10, 2014
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press

Available for purchase:

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Gabby-2013Just from seeing the title of Fangirl by author Rainbow Rowell I was dying to get reading. There are so many teenage girls who identify themselves as fangirls (like myself) so getting to read a novel about one? Uh, hello! Totally spoke volumes to my soul before I even got reading. From start to finish I was addicted to Fangirl and was so sad to see it end because I just loved it so much. An awkward female protagonist who writes fanfiction about her favorite pairing from a part of pop culture? You had me at fanfiction.

Fangirl is the story of main character Cather who is going away for her first year of University with her twin sister Wren. The two girls are total opposites but the one thing they have in common is Simon Snow. Simon Snow as in the bestselling book series involving fantasy and magic where Cather and thousands of other teenage girls have come to ship Simon and his roommate Baz. Cather spends her free time on a fanfiction website writing what she believes the final novel in the series should be in her fanfic Carry On.

Adapting to University and her roommate and her cute, flirty boyfriend; her sister changing and growing out of control; a creative writing class with a teacher who despises every form of fanfiction; Cather has to try and face reality even if it means leaving precious Simon Snow behind.

So… I loved Fangirl. I understood everything Cather was experiencing in terms of her fandom with perfect clarity. Having a ship (one character + one character = love/a ship) that you adore and would write fanfiction for and interact with other people online to express your love for that ship and your fandom—I could put myself in Cather’s shoes so easily. Since that’s basically every single day of my life. For every girl that is dedicated to a fandom and is aware of the fact that they’re a fangirl needs to read Fangirl as soon as possible. It’s a beautiful, funny-but-also-serious novel that was meant for all of us.

The only thing that deterred me from reading was the fact that Cather is going into University while I’m still in High School. Maybe I’d have not experienced some of the things that Cather already had that would make my reading her University experience feel awkward for me. Not the case at all. Experiencing everything with Cather felt so natural and like I was going through it with her. The way that Rowell writes Cather’s character and her thoughts all just clicked so perfectly.

There is romance in Fangirl that had me pulling out my hair (in a good way). All I could want was for Cather and her male love interest to just notice their feelings for each other and come together. Except that there are obstacles in the way and their relationship is built up so realistically and is slow burn. It (just like so many other things in this novel) was amazing. The romance in Fangirl isn’t forced, it isn’t unnatural. It feels real.

Fangirl is written in a way that’s smooth and picks up the pace without being in your face. It’s a realistic novel but there are so many incorporations of actual Simon Snow chapters from the novel used in the book between chapters and scenes where Cather is reading fanfiction that we still get to experience some Harry Potter-esque action in the story.

I would recommend Fangirl to any readers who are fangirls (as I mentioned earlier), any readers who want a funny realistic novel need to look at Fangirl. Basically if anything mentioned above relates to you or interests you, you need to get reading Fangirl as soon as possible. Simple as that.



Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANO