In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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.
Quirky and Fun
Cath and her twin sister Wren are embarking on their first year of college. While Wren is taking the campus by storm, Cath is left behind struggling to deal with the unfamiliarity of a new environment and her often crippling fear of socializing with strangers. In real life, that is. In the world of facfiction, Cath is a star. She is incredibly popular for writing stories in which two of the literary world's most beloved characters are actually in love with one another. Along with the pressures of surviving her first year of classes and finishing her own "Simon and Baz" story before the author finishes the series and puts them to rest, Cath faces family troubles, boy troubles and her own internal debate about what she wants in life, and what she can actually have.
I loved Cath from the minute I saw the cover of Fangirl. The character inside the pages does not disappoint either. She is fun, sweet and quirky. Just weird enough to be interesting. Her whole experience the first few weeks dealing with living with strangers and not knowing where anything is or how it works reminded me why I NEVER wanted to live in dorm. It is incredibly easy to feel and empathize with Cath's anxiety at being in a new place and dealing with new people. Cath also gets to have this experience while watching her twin sister appear to thrive in their new environment in a way Cath could never even dream of. But don't get me wrong, this is not your typical "girl learns to stand on her own two feet" story. Cath is also dealing with the fact that her mother abandoned the girls when they were children and their father who has issues of his own.
On top of her familial and scholarly obligations. Cath is dedicated to her fans, of which she has A LOT. She is huge in the fanfiction community with her stories about the Simon Snow Series. The fictional set of books is about a boy who finds out he is a wizard, attends a magical school and makes an enemy in the form of his roommate, Baz. The story pretty closely mirrors that of Harry Potter, but Cath turns it on its head by making the two enemies into love interests. Her dedication to the characters is something to which I am sure any reader can relate and her compulsive need to finish her take on the series before the final book is released adds a sense of urgency. It also, compels the teacher in me to scream in frustration at Cath for neglecting her ACTUAL schoolwork for her personal project. But, I loved her enough to forgive her .... eventually. The story of Fangirl is also sprinkled with excerpts from both the official Simon Snow books and Cath's fanfiction, Carry On. These breaks aid the pacing and give interesting insight into the world that Cath has made her own.
Rainbow Rowell really knows her characters. Cath is not the only one that I loved. Regan and Levi are both awesome in the own right. Regan got some of the best lines and Levi was just so dang loveable that no one could resist his charm. I also really liked being able to see the dicotomy between Cath and Wren. So often, twins are written as complete opposites: one shy, one outgoing, one nerdy, one popular - to the point where it becomes cliche. But here we have a much more realistic portrayal. The girls have clear differences, but they have a lot in common as well. They compete with one another, but they also complement. The love interest was also adorable and so genuine. It really showcased Cath's insecurities about herself, her experience level and being the less popular twin. I also love that even though this book features college age characters, the sexual activity is kept to a minimum and doesn't overtake the story.
Having read Eleanor & Park and now Fangirl, I am officially signing on for anything and everything that Rainbow Rowell will write in the future!
Aimed at Harry Potter Fans
Character-driven from the start, Fangirl is a niche coming-of-age contemporary story centered around the Freshman year of college for a semi-stereotypical geeky girl named Cather (Cath).
Cath is a mixed bag of anti-social neuroticism, insecurity, and self-loathing. She's glaringly unenthusiastic about moving away from home and into a dorm—not to mention procuring a roommate who, for the first time in her life, is NOT her sister. Resistant to change, socially handicapped, and disinterested in anyone who isn't her family, she clings desperately to the escapist coping mechanism she's grown to rely on: obsessing over her favorite middle-grade book series and writing slash fanfiction.
Needless to say...Cath presents with considerable room for personal growth. Fortunately for those concerned with compelling characterization, there is a sympathy-inducing reason for the condition we find her in.
It takes a number of chapters in to reveal the root cause, but readers eventually come to realize that Cath and her identical twin sister, Ren, have been shaped (and emotionally stunted) by severe maternal abandonment issues. Cath's own assessment of this feels most apt and accurate: Ren started acting out, while Cath acted in. The two are a sort of equal-yet-opposite dichotomy of dysfunction. Cath attempts to root the bulk of her identity in her re-writing of fictional characters she's “borrowed” from a famous author. Ren, on the other hand, dives headlong into the party scene and discards Cath almost completely.
Left to her own devices, Cath is more or less taken under the pitying wing of her otherwise prickly roommate, Ragan—and by extension, Ragan's country-boy pseudo-boyfriend, Levi. Cath proceeds into the realities of new-adulthood, all but literally kicking and screaming the whole way.
Unfortunately, the only character this reader was able to form any fondness for was Levi. I love to see an unconventional male protagonist, and Levi fits the unusual bill. He's the positive charge to Cath (and everyone else's) negativity and the kind, refreshing counterbalance to the story's abundance of narcissism. The fact that he's “not much of a reader” makes him all the more charming juxtaposed to Cath's exceedingly narrow literary fixation.
The prose is workable—with a fairly even number of awkward similes to poignant ones. The pacing moves along well for the first 40% or so, but then seems to lag—with no obvious external conflicts to propel the plot onward. Once our heroine (and I use the term loosely) gets her guy, readers may be left wondering what overall goal remains to look forward to. For those hoping for an impactful wrap-up, this book's ending may prove more forgettable than anything.
As for the plotline, I appreciated the complexity of the author's stories-within-a-story approach. Truly! It was gutsy, ambitious, and different. (And this reader is no stranger to the concept of a “fandom” nor to the pastime of fanfiction writing/reading.) But in the end...I'm not entirely sure how well it served the primary story.
Initially I thought the Simon Snow (i.e. shameless discount Harry Potter) excerpts and fanfic segments were intended to somehow parallel the “real-life” story Cather was living out. But there didn't seem to be much for true connectivity, and so the resulting sense was a bit scattered—wrenching me out of the primary storyline at the end of most chapters.
Alas, not one this reader particularly enjoyed. But Rowell writes such drastically different kinds of stories, I'm not dissuaded from giving another of her works a try.
Fangirl Right Here!
What I liked: Cath is one of the most realistic and lovable characters I have read recently. Her anxiety and nerves about college and real life is just so real. I totally got her-I was her my freshman year in college, minus writing fan-fiction, having a twin sister and in general being much cooler and funnier than me. You can't help but love Cath and all she brings to the table in this book.
I also really liked Cath's roomate, Reagan. She's hardcore and the perfect roommate for Cath. Imagine if Cath and Wren would have been roommates...how different might this story have been.
What left me wanting more: I could have stayed in Cath's world the whole time. I understand the importance of the fan-fiction aspect to the development of the story but Cath's real-life journey was my favorite. I don't want to discredit the fan fiction aspect of this though because it does play such an important part. I just want to read more Cath!
Final verdict: The romance is sweet and the characters are as true to life as you can find. I highly recommend this book.
Absolutely Loved This
What I Loved:
Can I just say "everything" and get away with it? Because really, I loved this book to pieces. This is the first time I've ever met a heroine who reminded me so much of myself. Cath is a distinctive heroine who will either resonate with readers or confuse them. She's an introvert, a misanthrope, and fiercely loyal to the few she allows into her life. She's also a fangirl of Simon Snow (the equivalent of Harry Potter) and writes extremely popular fanfic. Cath's character arc is well-developed, she grows both as a person and as a writer, and being inside her head was like finding a voice for myself.
The romance is sweet and slow and lovely. Fans of Anna and the French Kiss will adore this romance. The other relationships are all nuanced and complex, and every piece of it resonated with authenticity. Even the relationships in Cath's fanfiction resonated with authenticity, which is part of what reveals the kind of incisive, observant romantic Cath really is beneath her anxiety and her introversion.
The writing is lovely. The author notices small details about her characters and approaches her romance scenes with a deft, insightful touch that will delight readers who love to feel fully connected to the characters and their relationship.
What Left Me Wanting More:
I would have loved to see how Cath resolved her piece of fanfic, but as the *not* resolving it was actually part of her own character growth, I can accept that it was left out of the book.
Quirky, sweet, and heartbreakingly insightful, this is one book that deserves the hype.
Heart-warming, Witty and Romantic
What I Liked: Heartwarming, engaging and humorous look at one girl's journey to find out who she is when she steps away from her computer and into real life. FANGIRL has a witty MC and colorful cast of supporting characters, several of whom aren't even real. ;)
Cath is a bit neurotic and faces all kind of challenges like, meeting new people, figuring out where the dining hall is and how to live apart from her sister for the first time, ever. But she also learns how to better her craft, develops her own friends (apart from Wren), falls in love and discovers a strength she didn't even know she had.
I LOVED the humor and I appreciated the sweet fragility of the romance. And can I just say that the kissing scenes in this book are some of the BEST I have ever read? Because they totally are! *fans face*
What Left Me Wanting More: I wanted to meet Levi's Mom. :)
Final Verdict: The kissing scenes alone make this book worth the read!
Favorite Quote(s): "I'm the cool one," she told herself. "Somebody give me some tequila because I'll totally drink it. And there's no way you're going to find me later having a panic attack in your parents' bathroom. Who want to French-kiss?"
"Head, heart, hands, health. They don't have 4-H in South Omaha?"
"They do, but it stands for hard, hip-hop, and Homey-don't-play-that."
"Stop," Reagan groaned, "don't make me look at you. It's like THE SHINING in here."
"Fangirl" was a fun and sweet story, similar in tone to Eleanor & Park. Cath and her twin sister have gone to college, and college is quickly becoming a time of independence and discovery. Cath finds herself adrift as her twin begins to separate and party, while Cath deals with the family drama and her ever-present love of fanfic for Simon Snow (think Harry Potter Harry/Draco style fanfic).
Cath is taking a fiction writing class, but it is not quite what she thought- her fanfic won't work there. Add to that, her growing crush on her roommate's boyfriend, who seems to always be around and is interested in listening to her fanfic. On top of all the newness, her father is having the same troubles, and their absent mother may be popping back into the picture. With a whole storm of emotions- and lots of fanfic- this was a heart-touching story of finding oneself and loving who you are.
Overall, I thought it was a fun story, although somewhat emotionally difficult (similar to Eleanor & Park). I definitely recommend it to lovers of contemporary YA fiction.
Unique, tender and sweet
This book was touchingly beautiful. Cath was a perfect protagonist and I connected with her quite intimately. Despite the heartbreak, the book was also funny and I loved the inclusion of quotes from the Simon Snow series and Cath's fan fiction. Also, be prepared to cry a lot.
Don't Give Up On It
I almost gave up on this book. Several chapters in I was not identifying with the main character. She was so weird and introverted and anxious that she seemed extreme to me, and I'm an anxious introvert. Maybe she struck me as what I could be if I didn't try extremely hard every day NOT to be like her. Anyway, she was frustrating me with her weird choices and problems that weren't really problems.
But Cath grew on me.
Because, you see, Cath is adorable, and smart, and talented, and charmingly quirky. You just have to let her come out of her shell a little bit.
I left the book with a deep affection for her, and if anything I wanted to stay in her world longer to make sure everything would be okay.
I like that she and one of the other characters turn up in a cameo in Landline, because it helped tell me what happened after the book ended.
Addresses mental illness
Made me understand fan fiction
A Read For Fangirls Everywhere
I don't even know how it took me so long to read this book or rather to think about reading this book. Maybe it was because although I'd seen it everywhere I didn't actually know what it was about.
To be honest, I didn't actually READ this one, I listened to it. I got my copy via AUDIBLE and can I just say that I forgot how much I loved listening to audio books. I haven't listened to an audiobook since that time I re-read Order of the Phoenix with my Walkman in 2005. (Yes, I still owned a Walkman in 2005, get over it).
Let me start out by saying that I hated Wren. I have two sisters that I'm really close with and if either of them behaved like Wren had behaved in this book, oh boy. I would have had it out with them.
I get that Cath is shy, and anxious and overall uncomfortable. I get it because I AM Cath in so many ways. My blog is even titled Fangirl. Still, if she and Wren really were as close as she claimed through the entire book, then she would have had no problem telling her what a downright awful bitch she was being. At first, I saw it from both of their sides. I got that Wren wanted the independent college experience and agreed that Cath should be forced to meet new people (because look what happened she met Levi and Regan!).
As the story continued, though, enough, Wren was just awful. Like that 'want to be independent' streak that had saved her in my eyes was quickly overshadowed by everything else. Even by the end, is it bad of me to say that I was ecstatic when she was shut down by Cath on the roommate offer? I know she had her own problems but I guess I wasn't as forgiving as Cath was.
There were a few times where I wanted to grab Cath by her hair and slam her head into the wall. Like when she's arguing with her Professor about Fanfiction. Like when she refuses to do her project. I get anxiety, trust me do I get it, but that whole situation was infuriating. Maybe this is because I caught H1N1 and then pneumonia in my freshman year before finally recovering only to roll my ankle and my professor still failed me in Dance. I would have killed to have Professor Piper rooting for me.
Levi, oh Levi. I knew that he was eventually going to become a thing. I knew the moment that they met and she panicked thinking that he was her roommate. I fell in love with him long before Cath did and when he was misguided, I was in pain. Eugh, I love this book.
Overall this was a great book. I was left wanting more. It felt, unresolved in some way. Maybe because the resolution was the final Simon Snow novel and given that, although we were read snippets of the novels, and fan fiction throughout, that wasn't really a resolution because I had never read the supposed Simon Snow series. I wanted more Cath and Levi, I wanted to know how they worked out over the summer, how the next year of school went. I guess I could take to writing my own fan fiction!
-It's a well paced story
-Makes you want to read the Simon Snow series
Book Review: Fangirl
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The first thing that I like about the book is the part when Cath and her fiction-writing classmate, Nick, meet at the Love Library to co-write their own story. Nick prefers to write in a notebook, while Cath is more comfortable typing on her laptop. I like how this is so realistic and yet very contrasting because Cath is more content typing her stories on her laptop rather than jotting it down on a notebook. This reflects how technology has defined our modern generation. Some of us don't even know how to write in cursive anymore, to be frank. Our alphabet appears to have expanded, with all these different characters and emoticons teenagers have been using lately to substitute or shorten some words.
The story-ception idea is absolutely my most favorite thing in the book. I'm positively sure that a bunch of people have said this before, but Cath—or Rowell, really—had made me a fan of Simon Snow. Jumping from the real world to the World of Mages is entertaining because Rowell takes me to two different worlds, and I really enjoyed it. Rowell is already telling you a modern tale about a socially inept college girl, while at the same time, she's also narrating a story about Simon Snow. It's kind of like getting the best of both worlds. (Oh, I also just found out that Rowell is releasing a book on October 6th about the Carry On fan fiction Cath is writing in Fangirl. And I am seriously more than excited to get my hands on it!)
Another thing that I like about the book is Levi and Cath's relationship. He is open about his flirting, but he seems to be sending Cath mixed signals because since he hangs out in her dorm room a lot, he's sort of transmitting the false message that Reagan is his girlfriend. But my most favorite thing about their relationship is how Levi would ask Cath to read to him, mostly her fan fictions. She's never read her works out loud, so reading it out to Levi shows that she's fond of him, that she trusts him. And Levi, in return, has never been more than supportive of Cath (you should see him at the end of the book, just saying). I also like how Rowell didn't make it a love triangle between Cath, Levi, and Nick. The latter boy is merely a distraction—a not-so-minor-but-also-not-so-major character of the book. I have to admit, Rowell fooled me there when she first introduced Nick.
Now, let's talk about Reagan's character. I really enjoyed her only because I have a friend exactly like her, the "I don't like you, but I secretly do" kind of friend. Her friendship with Cath is so weird—in a good way—but the way I see it, Reagan posed as Cath's older sister. She's that older woman figure that Cath never had because her mother abandoned that duty. Also, Reagan being supportive of Cath is a total plus. A surly girl like her going with Cath to the bookstore to get the final Simon Snow book? I'm not even going to doubt that Reagan has grown attached to Cath.
Independence seems to be the main theme of Fangirl, which I really love, because not only does the book provide you with a fun read, but it teaches you about individuality as an independent person as well. Cath depended on Wren too much that when her twin sister decided to move on, Cath felt lost, constantly asking herself the same questions: "What will Wren do?" "What will Wren say?" "What will Wren think?" "If Wren was here . . . ?" Wren. Wren. Wren. It seems as though Cath is defined by who Wren is and what Wren does. However, as the story progresses, I've noticed a patent development in Cath's character. From someone who's scared of change and is socially inept, Cath grows into a strong and independent woman, who took on the role of being the mother of the Avery household. She took care of her dad when Wren is busy attending frat parties and drinking up to the point that she has to be admitted to the hospital due to alcohol poisoning. She grows into this girl who is capable of standing up for herself, of making her own decisions. Of finding out who she really is.
The Simon Snow series also contributes to the theme of Fangirl. I like how the fictional book series have played a big part in the book. It is what mended Cath's relationship with her twin sister. It is what made Levi fall for her—at least it is one of the reasons why he likes her. He likes how she reads her gay Simon Snow fan fictions to him, and he adores how passionate she is about them. Most importantly, it is what made Cath find her own voice as an author. Her fiction-writing professor is pushing her into doing something that she doesn't like, but by being adamant with her argument that she can never write her own fiction, Cath is able to distinguish her individuality. Cath has found her true voice because she finally realizes who she is. She knows what she wants to do, she knows her capabilities, and she sticks to what she believes. She doesn't have to let go of anything that she likes just because her college professor doesn't know how to appreciate it.
There's really nothing that I did not like about the book—at least majorly. I did not actually enjoy the parts when Cath comes home from college on the weekends . . . But that's only my opinion. Although the aforementioned parts are only written in short chapters, I personally think that the story is sort of slow in those specific parts. I enjoyed the entire book nevertheless.
Different races; social anxiety; divorced parents; the realities of being in college; fan fiction. These are all aspects of realism. I have never related to a young adult novel as much as I have related to Rowell's Fangirl (well, if you count out the social anxiety and the divorced parents part). I am an 18-year-old who is a soon-to-be college student. My chosen university is a two-hour drive away from where I live, which doesn't seem like much of a distance, but driving from my home to the university every day is only going to be a waste consumption of gas. I'm going to be moving in to one of the residential buildings on campus, and I'm going to be meeting a lot of new people . . . Just like Cath. So, Fangirl really is the perfect read for me. And I also write fan fiction, which is another plus, because, well, the book is totally inspired by fan fiction.
If you are just like me, who is a soon-to-be college student, or if you write fan fiction, or you're both, you may want to pick up this book and engage yourself in the world of college . . . and fan fiction—Simon Snow fan fiction.
It's addicting, trust me. And you surely don't want to be missing out.
Forget about Alex from Target and meet Levi from Starbucks!
Do you love cute lovestories, geeks, fangirling, fanfiction and a bit of fantasy? If so, this book might be a good read for you. In my opinion it was way better than Rainbow Rowell’s other book Eleanor and Park.
I gave the plot 3 stars, not because I didn't like it, but because it was what I expected it would be after reading the first chapter.
The characters were lovely, I gave Rainbow Rowell 4 stars for making such awesome characters!
Fangirl is about a student named Cath, she is a person who really looks like me: she loves books, she writes fanfiction and is a shy person. I understand her way of thinking and her problems and that’s why I understood her way of thinking easily. Although she was so annoying sometimes. Like seriously.
Levi is so adorable! Like, excuse me he is just perfection and I love him so much! He is a FANBOY and a STARBUCKS BOY and everything you search for in a boy and he is so sweet and ugh. Totally love this character! I just want my own Levi, I think everyone deserves their own Levi.
Also I really enjoyed reading the parts with Reagan and Cath’s family. What was such a good thing about the book is that it is pretty true to reality. It’s not like the cliche perfect relationship what annoys me sometimes in other books. Life isn’t perfect, boys aren’t perfect. In most books I read most relationships with family were always the same, but everyone who loves each other has quirrel sometimes. That’s a part of love, and yes, I give the best love advice because I read plenty of YA books. ;)
In my opinion Rainbow Rowell makes fangirls look like the worst of nerds, which is not true. She makes it seem like writing fanfiction is embarassing and weird. I don’t like that. You can go out and have lots of friends and also love reading and writing.
When I started this book I went in with an open mind, one of my friends said it was boring and an other one of my friends was totally obsessed. So I was like: okay lets see how this turns out being.
Although I thought sometimes it was quite boring and I felt like quiting. Mainly that’s because Cath writes a fanfic about ‘’Simon Snow’’. In my opinion Simon Snow is a bad version of Harry Potter, it is totally copied: it is about a boy who is a wizard and goes to a school for wizards and has to defeat this evil person. Bla bla bla. Every chapter starts with a page of her fanfic or the original Simon Snow books and she reads her fanfic to people or talks about it like 24/7. Some people really enjoyed the Simon Snow parts but I just didn’t. So that’s why I skipped the fanfiction parts of the book after reading like fifty pages, because the book was really working on my nerves, but I wanted to know so badly what would happen next. The next half really is so much better!
I don’t know if I should recommend this book to you. Without the fanfiction: yes, this book is a really cute lovestory you should totally read. But I don’t recommend the Simon Snow parts to any Harry Potter fan. I think you just have to get through the first part of Fangirl, because there will come lovely parts that you just have to read!
I first found the book browsing through my local digital library.I only borrowed it because of the cover because the synopsis sounded lame to me ( I mean come on the whole Simon Snow thing was sort of ridiculous). It did take me a while to get into it but I really liked it,Its been a long time since I was pleasantly surprised by a book. I like the characters and could relate to them,not everyone looks like Tobias from Divergent or Gale and also the authors writing style. I would recommend this to anyone really.
OH, I wanted to love all of you, Fangirl.
Why is is that the books that I anticipate the most always let me down?!
I couldn't get past Cath. She irritated me.
I loved everything else.
Rainbow Rowell's writing.
The book cover.
Levi and his truck.
Just Cath. I just couldn't.
Her complete disregard for the Fiction-Writing class. Maybe disregard isn't the right word.
(LOVED when Levi called her out on it, btw).
It was as if after she got bored with it, it wasn't worth finishing. That's NOT how school works. Like, I wish I had a scholarship to pay for all my shit when I was in college. And even then, I don't think I would've just NOT completed an assignment that mean half my grade just because I wasn't feeling it anymore.
It was after that when Cath couldn't be redeemed to me.
Maybe, hopefully, someday, I will read this again and it will be all I dreamed it would be.
Yup, I'm a Fan
There was a boy in her room.
Do you know those books that are just felt like they were written TO/ABOUT you? You read a summary and wonder if the author has secretly been following you around with a video camera? Well, that’s me with Fangirl. You see, I have a LOT in common with the main character of the book, Cath. To run it down, we both:
Fans of something to the point we write about it
have one sister(though my sister is not a twin and is much older)
Were afraid to eat in the college dining halls alone
Worried about our single-parent dads when we went off to college
How readers will view Fangirl will depend a great deal on Cath. She’s not your typical main character. She’s not friendly or nice. In fact, she’s a bit abrasive at times, mostly without meaning to be so. She’s defensive. She worries a lot, and she doesn’t stand up for herself, but instead just retreats and retreats and flees. And while I will say I am not exactly like Cath–I have a stubborn streak a mile wide and I would have definitely dealt with some of the academic issues differently–she’s a lot more like me than most protagonist I read.
The characters are what make Fangirl. Besides Cath, there’s Reagan, Cath’s roommate, who I absolutely LOVE. Reagan is a bit abrasive and can be rude and snarky, but is also genuinely helpful and guides Cath. Speaking from someone who identifies with Cath a lot, I will say I have Reagans in my life and I’m SO thankful for them. Us Cath-types do very well with well-meaning Reagans. Even Wren, who I really did despise at times, came to grow on me. While Wren treats her sister pretty badly once they start college, one of the most interesting aspects of the book was watching them manage their sister relationships. I also really liked the dynamic between Cath and her father. My dad is NOTHING like Cath’s dad, but I could relate to her worrying about him. When I left for college, it was just me and my dad. I could relate so well to the worry and anxiety Cath felt about that situation.
Then there’s Levi. Levi, much like Cath, is not quite like any other character I’ve encountered. He has this way about him that makes EVERYTHING endearing. Things that would normally make me roll my eyes because they’re so unrealistic seem so NATURAL when Levi does them. He’s foolish sometimes(I mean, he is a college boy), but genuinely seems to care about everyone around him. Charisma is a good word.
There’s a reason I’ve spent so much time going over the characters in Fangirl. Partially because they really are just that awesome, but also because at heart, this is a character-driven novel. While the plot moves forward, it’s secondary to the characters. Everything that happens is because of what the characters do and their choices, rather than things that just happen to the characters. This means that the book deals with a lot of different aspects about college life, which I really appreciated.
I haven’t read many books set in college, but most of the books I have were all fairly predictable. Fangirl has really gotten to the heart of the college experience–at least what my college experience was like– more than any other book I’ve read. Even the things from being afraid to go to the dining halls alone(Yes, I realize how pathetic this is, but it’s true. I didn’t eat only granola bars like Cath, but I did take every meal to go unless I was eating with my roommate. How very Cath of me.), to parties and social life as well as the lack of. Rowell also does a good job of not forgetting the whole, you know, academic side of college.
As someone who used to read and write a lot of fanfiction, I REALLY enjoyed getting to see inside the Simon Snow fandom, but I’ve seen many people who have enjoyed the book without having to care about those aspects. I really loved seeing what the fandom meant to Cath and how it was clear it helped her out of some of her most difficult times. In a way, it reaffirmed all the ways I often love the internet and how easy it can make community. With the rise of the internet and how many YA authors got their start writing and reading fanfiction, it’s a little surprising no one has written a similar story before, but I think Rowell was the perfect writer to do it.
Also, this has no bearing on the quality of the story, but a thousand bonus points for Gilmore Girls reference.
Final Impression: Oh man, so I’m mostly still wondering how Rainbow Rowell managed to get a video camera into my freshman year door room, because Cath & I are SCARILY similar, but I’m also SO glad to have read such a different main character. This book will depend for most readers on how they view Cath and I totally get that, but for me this book was perfect.
*SQUEAL* oh sorry, I was just casually fangirling x 100 for this book
If you thought Rainbow Rowell couldn't get any better after her novel Eleanor and Park guess again. Now, take what you thought of that book and times it by a hundred million million! And you, my friends, have gotten this amazing spectacle of a book. Cather "Cath" is a shy, socially awkward girl who spends her time writing Simon Snow fanfiction. While heading off the college, she thinks that she will just room with her sister Wren, and everything will be the same as it was in highschool. Wrong. Turns out, Wren wants to have a college experience away from her sister and Cath is left hanging and breathing from a brown paper bag with the thought of a roommate other than her sister. Regan, Cath's snarly chain smoking back talking hilarious roommate was amazingly amazing and I couldnt have asked for a more well written character. Regan helps Cath come out of her shell and become her own person outside of her sister. Cath was also funny too, and I liked how she progressed as the novel went on, and how she learned to stick up for herself, and that Simon Snow isnt everything. Levi was swoonworthy and just amazing. I havent read a romance this good in a long time. This one is the best kind. The one that develops and isnt a SLAP in the face that leaves you wondering when the hell did they have time to fall in love? I loved how this book deals with so many issues such as parents who leave, sanity, social awkwardness, alcoholism and so much more other that just one boring old thing. This book has me craving some more Rainbow Rowell as soon as humanly possible before I die from Rowell withdrawal!