Book Title/Author: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher/Year: St. Martin’s Griffin – September 10th 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
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.
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?