Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Review: Fangirl

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Page Count: 445
My Rating: 4.5 TURTLES: A really great read, I highly recommend!
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?


What a great book! Rainbow Rowell is definitely a master of the contemporary Bildungsroman. I'm not sure if this would fall under Young Adult or New Adult since content wise it is YA, but the characters are in college. I personally think it fits more into the YA category.

This is my first Rainbow Rowell book, and let me just say what a fantastic writer she is. Her characters and conflicts are so real and relatable, and maybe more for me since I am a twin like Cath and familiar with the world of the fangirl, but even if a reader did not have that in common, the family and personal struggles Cath faces throughout is something most of us can relate to whether personally or with friends. I found myself getting mad when Cath was and upset when Cath was, and a book being able to evoke emotions like that for me is a hallmark of great writing.

As I mentioned before, I am familiar with fandom and fan girls, and for those of you who aren't, let me say that the jargon from the book is not contrived at all! If you ever "fangirl" (yes, it is a verb) with another fangirl - or fanboy- they will use words like slash, squick, or AU and for me it was a hoot to read it in a work of fiction and not just on a social media site. Not only did Rowell catch the emotions of family turmoil and growing up beautifully, but she managed to capture the essence of what being part of a fandom is like. I also thought the addition of sections of Cath's fanfic and pieces of the work her fic is based off of was brilliant. I wish it were real!

The author also weaves the different weaves all the elements of the story together, from the subplots to the main characters to the minor characters. It felt more like I was reading about Cath's life than reading about an event where Cath was the center of it and I loved that. I would recommend this book to any fan of coming of age stories, contemporary YA, but especially any fan girls out there, you'll get a kick out of this book!

Quick audio note:
I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it for the most part. There was a British male voice that narrated the Simon Snow parts which worked amazingly, and a female narrator who did the rest of the story. I liked her interpretation for the most part, but her voice sounded very mature so at time it felt like a disconnect from Cath who is very young. Also, at times the dialogue was a bit hard to follow when there were not constant tags.

Check Fangirl out on Amazon

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