by Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Source: Hardcover borrowed from school library.
Synopsis: 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, 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 fanfiction, 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 fanfiction 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?
So by the end of last year reviews of this book were all over Goodreads and book blogs, but even seeing the interesting synopsis for the book and the excitement in reader’s reviews, I just wasn’t sure about the book. I’m not a huge contemporary romance reader, and tend to stick to fantasy. The first book I’ve ever tried along a similar genre was ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, and while it wasn’t as amazing as everyone had led me to believe, it was nice. A little too sappy for my tastes maybe, but nice. This book was along the same lines. ‘Fangirl’ isn’t the type of book I’d read over and over again – or read in one sitting – but I’m glad I gave into my base urge to check the book out from the library because “it was so pretty!”, since the story within the pages is one of a kind.
I loved the characters in the book so much! Levi, Cath’s father, Reagan…all these characters are people I’d like to meet in real life. They each had such unique personalities and made the story come alive. Of course, my favorite person was Cath, the main character. It’s probably because she is so much like me. I could use the same words to describe both of us: obsessive, loyal, shy, quirky, and just a bit pathetic (in the cutest way possible of course). It is both funny and scary how Cath’s actions and thoughts were so similar to mine; I feel like her social disability is supposed to come off as slightly ridiculous, but I’m almost exactly the same O_O
The book started out strong and for the first two-thirds of the book I just couldn’t stop reading. Up until there, this novel wasn’t big on boy troubles and focused more on Cath’s family problems, her obsession with Simon & Baz – two wizards reminiscent of Harry Potter characters – and her quirks. And of course there was Levi. In the beginning we’re led to think that he’s Reagan’s boyfriend, and while I’m not denying that he is, from the very first time we met him I knew he was going to play a major part in Cath’s life. I loved how unlike male characters in other books, he wasn’t perfect. He had a receding hairline, an old pickup truck, and was getting a degree in agriculture. Plus, if you had any protein bars, he’d steal them. Making up for his “flaws” was his ever-present smile. He was the opposite of Cath in every way, and that’s part of what I think makes readers love him so much. And just when I felt like things were getting too mushy, the author brought in new problems and pushed Levi to the side for a while. The pacing in this book is great!
My favorite characters in the book – possibly even more than Cath and Levi – were Simon and Baz, the wizard and the vampire wizard, the stars of Cath’s fanfiction and her favorite children’s book series. When I found out they were gay at the beginning I was a bit surprised, but a few chapter into the book I got used to it, and sometimes their romance was even better than Cath and Levi’s. It was actually disappointing reading the excerpt of author Gemma’s last book of the Simon Snow series after reading Cath’s amazing fanfic ‘Carry On.’
‘Fangirl’ is an amusing coming-of-age novel with unexpectedly unreal characters who made this book next to perfect. I’d recommend it for fans of ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and ‘Eleanor & Park’.