I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by St. Martin's Press on September 10th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
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From the author 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?
Fangirl was one of those books that as soon as I read the synopsis, there was no question, I needed to read it. A huge aspect of this story deals with fandoms and fanfiction, a world I know very personally. I’m not a writer, by any means, but I’ve been reading fanfiction for years, and still do! It’s been a huge part of my life, introduced me to some great online friends and I’m so thankful Rainbow Rowell wrote a story about that.Our main character, Cath, is starting her college journey, somewhat reluctantly. Her twin sister, the closest person in the world to her, is happily setting herself apart from that bond, wanting to do things by herself. Cath is shy, uncomfortable and hates to do things that are new by her lonesome.
In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t google.) Like, where does the line start? What food can you take? Where are you supposed to stand, then where are you supposed to sit? Where do you go when you’re done, why is everyone watching you?… Bah.
Boy can I relate. That is so me right there! Like seriously, thoughts that go through my head in new situations are just like this. Cath, you are not alone! But, I was never quite as anti-social. Cath full out avoided making new friends at all costs. She didn’t want them. She’d rather sit in her room and write fanfiction for her favorite book series, Simon Snow. She sometimes came off a little naive too. If I didn’t know her age, I might have assumed she was a much younger character. But that’s okay, she also had a lot of spunk and wasn’t afraid to be herself. She wasn’t ashamed to be who she is, and THAT is the type of confidence that matters most.The author takes us through Cath’s first school year as she tries to balance schoolwork, drama in her family life, and her beloved fanfiction. We even get snippets of the actual writing she is doing, which was pretty interesting. It reminded me a bit of Harry Potter. I didn’t always like this addition, but there is one point where she is reading something she wrote out loud to Levi (I’ll get to him in a minute) and at that point I was really into it.A few secondary characters really made this story for me. For one, I absolutely loved Cath’s dad. There were a few scenes that made me giggle. Telling her that she needed to go out and have fun, not worry about him and comparing it with 90210. Or when he said both girls were rubbing off on him to the point he was convinced Magneto and Professor X were in love (they liked to write their fanfiction with the two male characters in love). And then there was her roommate Reagan who was quite comical as well. Levi was so very sweet and patient (mostly) with her. There were a lot of special moments between the two of them that I absolutely loved, especially the kisses.I could go on and on about all the little aspects of this story that meant something to me and how well everything came together but I’ll leave it to you to discover on your own. If you’ve ever been in a fandom, I implore you to read this book. If you just enjoy a wonderful coming of age story with a lot of heart and humor, than this right here is the book for you!