Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

August 12, 2013 Book Review, YA, Young Adult 54 ★★★★

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.

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press on September 10th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: Netgalley
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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!

About Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is the author of ATTACHMENTS. She has two novels coming out in 2013 — ELEANOR & PARK in February and FANGIRL in the fall.

Rainbow lives with her husband and two sons in Omaha, Nebraska. Right at this moment, she is probably arguing with someone about something that doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things — or trying to figure out how Sherlock faked his death.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

54 Responses to “Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell”

  1. Lisa (Lost in Literature)

    Eeeeek!!! Okay, I have to be honest… I didn’t read your review because I will be reading this soon, and I’m one of THOSE weirdos that won’t read reviews right before I read the book. But 4 stars – yay!!! This is one of my most anticipated reads for this year. I read Eleanor & Park and instantly fell in love with it. All of it. The story, the characters, Rowell’s writing style… everything. So I’m beyond eager to read this!!! I’ve been trying to be patient and have it wait its turn in my review pile, but I’m slowly finding it more difficult to wait, and I have a feeling it will be jumping to the top very soon. 🙂

  2. Becca

    This sounds so adorable. I love that we’re even able to see Cath’s writing. I think that’s pretty interesting addition! I’m most definitely going to read this. Like you, the premise just completely hooked me 😀 Great review, Sara!

  3. Joyous Reads

    Okay, I’m convinced. I’ve had this book for a while now but have yet to pick it back up. I too can relate to the fandom movement because I couldn’t get enough of the fanfics. Lol.

    Awesome review, Sara.

  4. Sallie Mazzur

    Loved your review, Sara! I enjoyed all the things you did about Cath. She’s such a quirky but likable character. You can’t help but want her to do well. 🙂

  5. Rachel

    I’ve never read fan fiction but I know some who’ve really got into it. This sounds like a cute contemporary read, Sara. Great review. 🙂

  6. Nick

    I’ll admit that this book never caught my attention and then all these fabulous positive reviews started to come out and I knew for sure that this would be a book I would try.
    I like how fan fiction is a huge part of this story. I used to love read fanfics when I was younger too, so I will surely connect with Cath. I’m a lot like hew when it comes to socializing. I’d rather be in my room reading than be going out to parties and socializing.
    Anyways, enough of me babbling about my personal life. I will be sure to grab a copy of this when it comes out.
    Fabulous review, Sara! 🙂

  7. Tanja - Tanychy

    I’m not a fan of fanfiction and honestly I have seen this book around I was not so interested in it. But then again I have seen several amazing reviews and well I might give it a try after all. It’s really easy to love a book when you can find yourself in it. Great review Sara 🙂

  8. starryeyedjen

    I just adored your Goodreads updates for this one. I liked E&P, but I have a feeling this one is going to be more my speed. Good to know it’s just as funny as that summary made it out to be. 🙂

  9. Lauren @ Love is not a triangle

    I didn’t read this one too closely, because I can’t wait to read it and I don’t want to be influenced a lot. But I LOVE Rainbow Rowell and I am dying for this one. I love how she can cut through everything and show us the details of life that we all can relate to (like feeling awkward at first and not knowing where the line starts!!). So so glad that this was a hit for you.

  10. Shooting Stars Mag

    I still need to read Eleanor and Park, but I can’t WAIT to read this one. I’m such a fangirl myself. Totally wrote Harry Potter fan fiction when I was younger and I was obsessed with reading it…still do every now and then. I also dressed up as Hermione for Halloween once and as a Ravenclaw student for the last HP film. So yeah, I can totally relate to this book. Glad you loved it overall.

  11. Sunny Duvall

    I am so happy that you loved this and all the little elements that made it so great! From what it sounds, I’m definitely not as anti-social as Cath, but sometimes reading is a great comfort zone. The fanfiction interests me because I’ve never been pulled in by it, but would love to see a different perspective on it, even if it’s from a fictional character’s POV. Great review!

  12. Amanda

    I really do think that Rowell has touched upon something here in writing about fan fiction that’s been previously untouched, and yet has the potential to be super relatable. I also was a huge fan fiction fan for a while, so I know the fact that I actually was involved in a fan fiction community will probably help increase my enjoyment of this novel. And I imagine that’s true for a lot of us who grew up with Harry Potter and all. I also need to finally read a work of Rowell’s, and this definitely sounds like the best place to start for me. Great review, Sara!

  13. Hannah

    Eep yay! I’m glad you really liked this one!! I’m planning to read it soon and it looks absolutely DARLING. Squeee! Love your review Sarabear!

    <333 Inky

  14. MåїÐ»-(¯`v´¯)-»

    I just recently heard of this book, and I am soo very intrigued by the concept of it. Cath seems like a realistic character, what with her trying to balance all the mundane things such as school, life, and her fan fiction. I can’t wait to meet her and the secondary characters. A book is really made for me if the cast of characters are well-developed and likeable. I think I am going to enjoy this very much! I’m glad you enjoyed this! Fab review, Sara! 😀

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

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  17. Vivien

    I’ve been hearing excellent things about this one! As soon as I finished and loved Eleanor & Park I knew I’d read anything by this author!

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