Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Book Review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Book Title/Author: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
: St. Martin’s Griffin – September 10th 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Eleanor & Park, Attachments
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!




Cath and her twin sister, Wren, are HUGE fans of the Simon Snow book series — so much so that they even wrote fanfiction that is hugely popular, were super involved in forums, & have gone to every premiere. Wren hasn’t been as into it lately and Cath feels the distance but not entirely until Wren drops the bomb that she doesn’t want to be roommates with Cath when they go off to college together in the Fall. Without her sister by her side, Cath struggles to not isolate herself in a situation that is completely out of her comfort zone. She’s not as outgoing as Wren, struggles to open up and doesn’t adjust as well to the huge life changes happening — a new roommate, cute boys that seem to always be around, difficult professors, being away from her dad who isn’t always stable and has never been alone, etc. Cath isn’t sure she can do all of this without her sister by her side but she knows she is going to have to start learning who she is — apart from the things that made her feel secure before.

If I hadn’t already fallen head over heels with Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell I’m not sure I would have picked this up just because I’ve never been part of any sort of fandom or have even read one lick of fanfiction and so the premise didn’t really speak to me. I mean, you guys know I JUST started the Harry Potter series this week so I haven’t even been super involved growing up with any sort of series. I was SO scared I wasn’t going to connect to this one because of this but Rainbow Rowell certainly proved me wrong and wrote a story that I related to in so many ways that it honestly surprised me and I found myself devouring it.

Rowell weaves the fanfiction that Cath writes along with the story. It honestly took me a little bit to get used to but Rowell wrote it in a way that I realized I could skip it or skim it if I wanted. I opted for skimming so I’d get the sense of what she was writing about but didn’t take my time reading it like I did with the rest of the story. So don’t be afraid of this aspect if you aren’t into the fanfiction aspect! While I didn’t connect with the fandom/fanfiction life of it I totally connected with this passion that Cath had and related it to our little book blogging community in ways. Cath is so wrapped up in her fanfiction world and at times I see myself so immersed in our community.

Sure, a lot of this story has to do with Cath and her fanfiction writing and how she and her sister have bonded through this but it’s about way more than that — feeling your way through that weird transition between kidhood and adulthood, seeing people for who they are and not who you WANT them to be, first loves, sisterhood, independence and so much more.

Fangirl was just one of those books that was a delight to read and so, so funny. I loved Cath’s story and her journey — even though she was a tough one for me to warm up to at first. My first I LOVE YOU CATH moment was a certain Emergency Kanye Dance Party part. She’s flawed, kind of judgmental, not exactly comfortable in her own skin, holds people to wicked high standards, doesn’t like change, etc. Even though I don’t think I immediately would say Cath and I were super alike, I could feel in my core some of these same things manifested in my own self. I related so well concerning her struggles with her sister because I definitely had tension with my sister as we both changed and stopped being best friends because of these differences. I wanted to HATE Wren but I recognized that we are ONLY see Wren through Cath’s POV so it’s not the whole picture and I KNOW when I was having issues with my sister I definitely only painted a bad one. I also learned that I couldn’t expect my sister to uphold the same things I did — so I really UNDERSTOOD Cath but also saw the error of her ways. Her flaws and her journey to grapple with some of these things made me love her. Also I can’t say enough about some of the other characters. Reagan & Levi <33

I will say that I saw a Twitter exchange ( I can’t remember who) mention that they were turned off because of how little we saw of the fandom and the WHYS of it being so important to her and I didn’t think of it while I was reading but I actually really agree as much as I loved this book. I initially felt my disconnect with the whole fandom thing as why I didn’t SEE how it was so important in her life but really I do think, looking back, it wasn’t really explored as much. We just KNEW it was important but didn’t really at all feel why.



Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was absolutely wonderful. It’s honestly hard to pin point what I loved about it but it was just THAT FEELING you get when you read something and can’t pull yourself out of it. That CONNECTION to the story and all the FEELS. What I do know is that Fangirl was delightfully funny and a great story that I fell in love with. I’m glad I didn’t get hung up on the fact that Cath’s story was so heavily rooted in fanfiction/fandom because it was about SO MUCH MORE. Reading the premise could have turned me off had I not known Rainbow Rowell’s books are MUST READS for me no matter what. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Let’s Talk: Have you read Fangirl? Heard of it? What did you think? Did you feel similarly to me or different! I’d love to hear your thoughts! Did you connect with the fandom aspect?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I haven’t read this one yet but I’ve heard some amazing things about it.Hoping to get to read it SOONISH.

  2. I love this book to pieces! best book of the year for me. I also never before had tears in my eyes because of a kiss, but this first kiss was so sweet and moving? Broke my heart with its sweetness! Levi was perfect – love this boy so much!

  3. This book is probably going to be my favorite contemporary of 2013. I loved it so much. I related to Cath and her love for the Simon Snow fandom a lot. That is probably why I loved it though because I saw so much of Cath’s personality and struggles in my past self and sometimes present self. I have always been some sort of fangirl growing up so I think that Rowell’s portrayal of girl who was able to always love her fandom but still gain the friends, experiences, and better family relationships and become a better version of herself was uplifting and effortless. Such a great review! I see what you’re saying about the fanfiction/fandom parts though especially if you’ve never experienced it yourself. Also LEVI – my favorite book boyfriend <3

  4. I haven’t read it yet but I want to soon! Great review! 🙂

  5. When I first heard of this book, I wasn’t planning to read it but after I read Eleanor & Park I changed my mind and I’m really glad I did. I found it easy to relate to Cath because I think I was very similar when I started college too.

    I still prefer Eleanor & Park but I really liked this book and want to give her book for adults a try also.

  6. I thought this one was wonderful. I finished it Friday and I already want to re-read it. Great review!

  7. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH I CAN ONLY TALK ABOUT IT IN ALL CAPS! Just kidding (only kind of). Seriously though, such a lovely story. I’m glad you liked it! 😀

    I agree, Rainbow Rowell has this amazing ability to make her books feel so personal regardless of how similar you are to the characters. I felt it with Eleanor & Park and even more so with Fangirl.

  8. I LOVE this book. As a huge Harry Potter fan I really connected to it. It gave me ALL THE FEELS! I don’t usually rave so much but this book was perfection.

  9. I’ve read so many reviews of this book in the last few days, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading it. I thought I was the only person on the planet who hasn’t read Harry Potter – I’m glad to see there is someone else who is late to the party.

  10. I get what you mean about her not explaining WHY the Simon Snow fandom was so important but since I grew up in the Harry Potter fandom, I got it. I also think it’s important to point out that this book wasn’t about her fandom, it was about her growing up. So I don’t really think it was important for Rowell to explain why Simon Snow was so important to Cath — either you got it because you grew up in a fandom yourself or it’s something you have to accept.

  11. I’m actually reading this one now! Started it over the weekend and didn’t get very far in, but I’m enjoying it. I’m glad you did too, girl! It’s so weird to think of you not having that series growing up you were so intense over. I MAY need to talk about my experience with Sweet Valley High/Senior Year/University, and the fan fiction *I* wrote, when I review this one, because. 😀

  12. I can relate to this review so much. I was turned off by the fan fiction aspect as well (I prefer to leave characters in the hands of their original creators and have never gotten into fan-written stories) but it does not hurt the book at all. I’m glad to hear you skimmed the fanfiction inserts, though, because I did too and I felt kind of bad. But now I know I am not alone, haha. 🙂 It works because Cath’s obsession does not define her; it simply gives her a quirk that helps to show why leaving for college is so hard for her. And that makes the book all the more relatable.

  13. Ughhhh I don’t know if I’m going to read this one. I have it on hold at the library and I’m like the millionth person on the list, so eventually I’ll try it, but I can’t see a whole lot of things I’m going to relate to. Some of my friends think I’ll relate to Cath on a basic level with the whole self-esteem self, but idk. At one point in time I probably would’ve, and I totally was into fandom culture when I was in highschool, but like, I am SO different now. We shall see on this one.

  14. This has been my favorite book of the year (so far)! Which was a total shock for me, I liked Eleanor and Park, but I didn’t really connect with it. And, somehow, despite never reading any Harry Potter or any fanfiction, I totally connected with Cath and her story. I agree that you can skim the fanfiction and the fake book excerpts although by the end I did feel kind of invested in what would happen to Simon and Baz, I still want to know!

  15. Ha, I skimmed the fan fiction too, and I was into HP fan fiction a little bit. Basically, it seems like most people did that, and that’s why I couldn’t give this one a full five stars even though I loved everything else with an intensity that is almost worrisome. SO. MANY. FREAKING. FEELS. I was a hot mess. When she went to that party and saw…things. MY HEART.

    Oh, see, the fandom was important because she could have friends and connection without having to interact with people. Sort of like me and Twitter. Haha. And the reason she got even more obsessed is because college was so overwhelming and she didn’t know who to be without her sister to help her adjust. That was my thought anyway.

  16. I actually didn’t really love Eleanor & Park, but I did adore her earlier book, Attachments. I really love the premise of this one, even the fan fiction aspect. Loved hearing that you enjoyed it despite being wary of that aspect of it!


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