Review: ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

Blurb from GoodReads:

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?

Review:

Having never read a novel by Rainbow Rowell before, I really wasn’t sure what to expect (swords and sorcery is kind of more my thing,) but I was so pleasantly surprised by this witty, whimsical and heart-warming novel. It follows the journey of Cath, as she deals with both crippling social anxiety and a massive obsession with Baz and Simon (OMG I LOVE THEM,) two (fictional) characters from a fictional series- ‘Simon Snow’- clearly based around Harry Potter. She loves them so much she writes insanely-popular fanfic about them falling in love (YES to gay romance!!) but she finds real-life romance much more difficult to deal with- especially when she develops feelings for her roommate’s friend/boyfriend Levi. I loved Levi too- loved that he wasn’t a conventional YA dreamboat, with his receding hairline and job in Starbucks. I also loved how witty he was and that he was on the same level as Cath.

I found Cath’s identical twin, Wren, annoying at times but loved Reagan, her badass no-nonsense sarky roommate. (Thank god she wasn’t a stick-thin beautiful clone like you see so much in YA!) Rowell’s writing was also very moving at points- her characters felt real and worked as relatable, charming yet flawed individuals. I wish Cath could have been a little bit more brave in the beginning and less vulnerable, but I guess that was all part of her journey. Oh and DID I MENTION that each chapter ends with some of Cath’s adorable Baz and Simon fanfic? GAWD, it’s amazing. I ship them sooo much. I love that LGBT characters are portrayed with such sensitivity, humour and respect. (You’ll never look at Aero bars the same way again.) Oh, WAIT, Simon and Baz have their own book? And it’s bascially Cath’s fanfic? Sign me up, Ms. Rowell- you already have my heart (Simon and Baz FOR EVAH) you might as well take over my bookshelves. ‘Carry On’ looks set to win my heart.

Overall rating: 10 out of 10!

Read if you enjoyed: ‘Eleanor and Park’ by Rainbow Rowell (ELEANOR IS MY NAME!!! COULD THIS GET ANY COOLER???)

This book in four words: Funny. Different. Real. Moving.

PS. Special mention goes to Noelle Harrison’s amazing illustrations of Cath and her gang, both on the cover of ‘Fangirl’ and on the inner pages as well. They’re so sweet and endearing and they really make the book for me

 

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