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.
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(Warning: Review contain spoilers!)
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.
*SQUEAL* oh sorry, I was just casually fangirling x 100 for this book
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Very 3-dimensional characters
Addresses mental illness
Made me understand fan fiction
When I heard about this book I had just finished Eleanor and Park and I anything by Rainbow was going on my TBR pile. And then I found out what the book was actually about and I actually fangirled thinking about it. I knew that I would absolutely love this book. I mean come on, it was basically a book about my life. (In the fangirl aspect, not fanfiction.) But unfortunately, (and I already know I'm the black sheep in this situation) this just wasn't what I expected.
Don't get me wrong, I did like it. I absolutely loved Levi. He was super sweet and so nice it killed me. Then there was Wren. Sde wasn't afraid to live and be her own person after being Wren AND Cath for so long. (Don't get me wrong, she did go over board, but at the same time, she wasn't afraid to let it happen.) Last but not least, I loved their father. He was so driver by work that sometimes he let it consume him. I can't lie, that's kind of how I feel sometimes. But unfortunately, that's basically all of what I liked. Cath was not a great character. Her anxiety and fear of change made her sit in her room through out everything and it seemed like she did nothing but mope. Now I understand that there may actually be some people out there like that (hell I'm one of them, just obviously not as severe) but I mean really, I won't not EAT because I'm too afraid. I would at least take it back to my dorm to eat or something. I just felt like it was a little too much.
Then there was the romance. It was sooooooo slow, but once it got going it was AMAZING. Like I said, I loved Levi. He did have his bone head moments, but without them he wouldn't have been a guy. But really, he was the sweetest kid EVER! And he was a nerd. What I wouldn't give for my boyfriend to say "Read to me , sweetheart." They were beautiful together and I was so excited that they finally made it work.
What I didn't like was the fanfiction parts. At the beginning I felt that it was pretty cool that Rowell had written fiction inside fiction, but towards the end I felt like it was just there. Like it didn't have a real reason to be in the story. After a while I found myself skimming it t see if it helped out the story in any way.
Overall, I didn't just head over heels love it like I loved Eleanor and Park, (and yes I know I'll be the black sheep), but I just couldn't fall in love with it.
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!
-Cath is so relatable to introverted Fangirls everywhere
-It's a well paced story
-Makes you want to read the Simon Snow series
"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.