Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publish Date: September 10th, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
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?
“Touching and utterly real.” — Publisher’s Weekly
I liked Fangirl a lot more than I did Eleanor & Park but I was still let down by it. I’ve heard from many people about how much they loved Rainbow Rowell’s books and I still haven’t felt that magical love for her books that I’ve been expecting. It hasn’t met up to the hype that it gets.
Cather is a freshman at her Omaha college. She is a huge fangirl when it comes to Simon Snow and has been, ever since she read them. Her twin sister Wren, originally her best friend, has decided to room with someone else and make new friends. This wouldn’t be that big of a problem, if not for the fact that Cather is socially inept.
Fangirl covers a few ideas. Coping mechanisms, growing up, divorce, plagiarism, etc, but it didn’t really go as deep as I would have liked it to be. Many of the details seemed glossed over. Her mother leaving her is one of the central conflicts of the book, yet it’s barely even explored. In this case, I felt like the romance in the book drowned the other parts. I would have liked the book more if the romance was more of a side to the other plot aspects. I mean, obviously the book is literally about how Cather, her fangirl-ness, her family issues, and how she learns to not depend on it as much. The fact that Rowell chose to focus on the romance aspect instead annoyed me.
The characters were alright but I didn’t really feel attached to any of them. Simon Snow was clearly a reference to Harry Potter. Cather was a complicated character and I enjoyed her growth from the beginning to the end of the book but I never really connected. I didn’t like her but I enjoyed reading about her, if that makes any sense at all. I wasn’t ever emotionally invested in this book. I never shipped Levi and Cather. I didn’t empathize with the characters. The book was enjoyable but it was missing that connection that would have made it even better.
The plot was pretty dull. It was interesting enough for me to continue reading, but it wasn’t really anything that I found new. I liked the little excerpts of the Simon Snow stories. The ending was terrible. Abrupt and ties nothing up.
The one thing that was the bulk of the good aspects of Fangirl was the relationships the characters had. I loved the relationship between Cather and her sister Wren. They were drawn extremely well. Cather’s relationship was her father was explored excellently. It was probably my favorite relationship in the book. I do feel that Rowell could have explored Cather’s relationship with Laura more. It too, was glossed over.
There honestly isn’t much to say about Fangirl. It was a solid book with great writing. The only problems was that it was hard to connect with the characters (to me at least) and that it felt shallow. The raw issues that Cather faces aren’t brought to light and dealt with in a way that’s realistic to the situation. This is something that I’ve noticed is consistent throughout her novels. She chooses to discuss difficult topics, but then she does not talk about them in a way that makes it realistic. People fawn over how her novels have lots of verisimilitude in them, but then important issues such as these aren’t discussed in a way that is realistic.
It’s safe to say that I will not be picking up any more Rainbow Rowell books from here on out.