Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Book: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Released: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 433 (Kindle Edition)
Rating: 4.5 of 5
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?
Ahhh, I don't even know where to start. I love this book so much. I've actually read it twice since its release in September. The first time was part of my Rainbow Rowell book reading binge (Attachments and Eleanor and Park being the other two). The second time was last week when I wanted something a little lighter and happier to cheer me up. It definitely did the trick.

I guess I'll start with the cover. I love the use of a cartoon. It fits the feel of this book. And as far as covers go, a fairly accurate depiction of what you're going to find inside: A cute boy talking to Cath, while Cath is trying to focus on Simon and Baz. 

Now on to the story. Without getting in to too many details, I can definitely see myself in Cath. Especially the desire to often avoid doing anything other than reading (or in Cath's case, writing fan fiction). My idea of a good night is curling up with a book. Not even kidding. 

The story starts off with Cath's first semester at college. Her twin sister Wren decides she needs to be her own person, leaving Cath alone. Wren tells Cath she's not going to live with her, as well as pretty much leaving the Simon Snow fan fiction to Cath (they used to write it together). And let me tell you, Cath is a BIG DEAL in the Simon Snow fan fiction world. {Sidebar: Simon Snow is an obviously hilarious substitute for Harry Potter, which I love}.  So what does Cath do when she feels isolated from her sister and lonely? Writes more fan fiction of course!

Rowell breaks up the chapters by including sections from the "real" Simon Snow story along with Cath's fan fiction. I know that not everyone loved this aspect, and I've heard a few people skipped it altogether, but I loved it. Then again I love fan fiction myself. Really I do. (I blame the crappy ending to Gilmore Girls for this, by the way. So not happy with how that show ended.) This aspect of the book definitely worked for me, but I can understand why some people skipped it in order to get to the real meat of the story that features Cath.

I love, love, love the supporting characters. From her roommate Reagan who is a bit on the surly side (who might be my favorite person in the book), Wren the twin sister, Cath's dad, Nick, the writing professor, and especially smiley, happy Levi, Rowell succeeds in making you care about each and every one of these characters. 

Even when all Cath wants to say is "Let it Go*" you can't help but love her.

*Cath never says this. It really doesn't even make any sense with this book.
 I just wanted an excuse to post this video. :)

Can we please talk about the LOVE INTEREST for a minute?! I'm not going to give away who it is, but seriously, I adore him. He's so sweet and kind and funny and a great book boyfriend. He "gets" who Cath is. She needs him. He's her lobster.
Ahh Phoebe.

More than anything, this book shows how books and movies are MORE than just books and movies. That people become immersed in that world and never want to leave. It's a wonderfully, well-written love letter to fans. And I LOVE it.

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