Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Review

October 15, 2013 Review 2 ★★★★★

inanutshell2Fangirl was my first book by Rainbow Rowell – but I can most definitely assure you that it won’t be my last. Rainbow Rowell perfectly captured the awkward, insecure girl who is trying to move into adulthood from adolescence but doesn’t know how to leave the comfort of the youth she’s leaving behind.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – ReviewRelease Date: September 10, 2013
Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 433
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: ARC Tour
Available: Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBookstore | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
5 Stars

Cath and her identical twin sister Wren have always done everything together. Wren’s friends were Cath’s friends. They shared a bedroom. And most importantly, they shared a love of Simon Snow (Simon Snow is the Harry Potter of this world). So much so that they began to write fan-fiction together. Well, Cath did most of the writing, but Wren helped. And Cath became pretty famous in the fanfic world. Simon and Baz (think Harry and Ron – only not) were real to her. While she didn’t create the universe they came from (that would be the author, Gemma T. Leslie), she molded them into new and exciting stories that were completely outside of canon. So much so, that many fans enjoyed her story more than the original. 

When it was time for the two to go to college, Cath assumed that they would continue life as normal – together. But Wren had other ideas. She applied for her own roommate and cut her hair. She began spending her time completely apart from Cath, leaving Cath floundering alone in a world that she was uncomfortable in.

Oh how I related to Cath.

She spent the first several weeks eating nothing but peanut butter and protein bars in her dorm room because she didn’t know where the dining hall was. That is so me.

I’m the type of person who is completely terrified of the unknown and I will go to great lengths to avoid it. I could see myself in Cath’s struggles and it made my heart ache for her so much.

But let’s just take a minute to talk about the writing.

Rainbow Rowell was writing a million different things in this book and she did it all flawlessly.

She wrote Cath’s story – and let’s be real here. It’s amazing. Just – go buy it now. I’ll wait.

She wrote excerpts from several of the books in the seven-book-long Simon Snow series by Gemma T. Leslie. And I really really wish this were a real series. I mean okay – it’s pretty blatantly a Harry Potter rip-off – but it’s different. Baz (the Ron character) is kind of evil. And a secret vampire. I would absolutely read the hell out of it.

Then she wrote excerpts from Cath’s fanfic from the Simon Snow universe where Cath turns everything on its head (including making Simon and Baz fall in love).

Think about that for a second. How brilliant do you have to be to keep all of that sorted out and then put it together so that it makes sense and flows in the narrative? That’s how brilliant Rainbow Rowell is.

And yes – there is romance, in case you’re wondering. Without a love triangle. Heart-fluttering, swoon-inducing romance that Cath whole-heartedly deserves.

What Others Are Saying:

  • CuddlebuggeryThe worst part of this book is that it ended. It’s not that anything was unresolved, it was perfect to the last word. It’s the worst because there is no more.
  • Once Upon a PrologueWith all that said, Fangirl is a great example of upper YA and potentially even New Adult.  To me, it encompasses SO much that I think of when I think of New Adult. 
  • Alexa Loves BooksThere’s just something so incredibly likable about Fangirl. It’s the kind of book that stands out from the crowd, both because it’s just so uniquely written and because it feels like Rainbow Rowell is telling a girl’s real life story… your life story, in fact, if you’re a fangirl, like me.

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