Book Review: Fangirl
By: Rainbow Rowell
Published By: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Page Count: 445
Audience: Young Adult/New Adult - Contemporary
Fangirl is a multi-faceted book and completely different from Eleanor & Park. I didn’t know that going in, but I wish I had. It took some time for me to get into the rhythm and flow of this book, but once I did, I enjoyed the ride.
Cather and Wren are twins who have been raised by their father since third grade. Their mother left them on September 11th – yes, THE September 11th. Cather & Wren were always best friends, but as they are heading off to college, Wren decides to go her own way. She chooses not to live with Cather, and chooses a different dorm. Their father suffers from a manic disorder, so it was especially hard for Cath to leave her father at home alone. This book follows Cath through her Freshman year of college and the struggles she goes through to find herself and find her own identity separate from being Wren’s twin sister. As teenagers, Cath and Wren were heavily into the Simon Snow fandom, which seems to be a Harry Potter-ish kind of world. They have Simon Snow t-shirts, posters, fan art, and even wrote fanfiction about it. Cath is still very much into the fandom in college. However, as she and Wren grow apart, Wren’s interest in the fandom wanes…as does her interest in Cath.
Cath’s roommate Reagan is unhappy because she was supposed to get a room to herself, but got stuck with Cath instead. She’s snarky and intimidates Cath, who is quiet and reserved. To add to that, Reagan’s “sometimes” boyfriend Levi is around quite a bit. Reagan and Levi used to date, but now Cath isn’t sure what is going on. Levi’s easy going smile and flirting seem to confuse Cath and she can’t quite figure out what is going on between them. But Reagan and Cath eventually work through their issues and develop a friendship. This leads to some great dialogue.
“I feel sorry for you, and I'm going to be your friend."
"I don't want to be your friend," Cath said as sternly as she could. "I like that we're not friends."
"Me, too. I'm sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”
Cath goes through a lot of trials in this book with her father, Wren, Reagan, Levi…the list goes on. But each one teaches her more about herself and allows her to develop her own personality apart from Wren.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book once I got into it. But the side plot of her Simon Snow fanfiction story was a bit distracting and confusing at times.
Side note: As a die hard Twilight fan, I loved the Twilight reference! “Have you been watching me sleep?” “ Yes, Bella.”
Content: Alcohol usage & language. I guess this book might be considered New Adult since it takes place in college. And apparently people in college like to say the F word a lot. Who knew? Personally, I would have preferred fewer F-bombs.
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?