Saturday, January 4, 2014

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication: St. Martin's Griffin (September 10, 2013)

Description: 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? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Thoughts: Wow! I get it! Rainbow Rowell is a rock star! I had heard many good things about Rainbow Rowell and her writing and was just a little skeptical. I am not her target audience. I left young adulthood behind many years ago. But FANGIRL swept me back to the days when I was an avid Star Trek fan who couldn't get enough of the books and fanfiction. 

Cath Avery is a freshman, away from home for the first time, and living in a dorm with an older roommate. Her twin is at college too but decided it was time for each to do their own thing and not live together. Since Cath is quiet, shy, and lives almost entirely in her own head, she is out of her depth until her roommate takes pity on her and decides to be her friend. 

Cath has good reason to live in her head. Her mother abandoned the family when the twins were seven and left them with their manic depressive father. The fan fiction she writes about the Simon Snow series gives her a way to control something since she doesn't feel that she can control her real life. 

The book is filled with the adventures and changes the first year of college brings. Cath watches her sister Wren become a party girl until she almost kills herself with alcohol poisoning. She meets a writing buddy in her advanced fiction writing class who challenges her but who ultimately uses her for his own advancement. She also meets Levi, her roommate Reagan's friend, who hangs out in their room a lot. She thinks he is Reagan's boyfriend. I takes a long time and a lot of slow steps for Levi to convince her that he wants to be her boyfriend.

This was a compellingly readable book. I read it until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, slept for a couple hours, and then read it to its very satisfying conclusion. I can't wait to share it with my high school students. 

Favorite Quote:
"I feel sorry for you, and I'm going to be your friend."

"I don't want to be your friend," Cath said as sternly as she could. "I like that we're not friends."

"Me, too," Reagan said. "I'm sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here


  1. I loved this one too though I prefer Eleanor & Park. I could really relate to Cath's difficulties in adjusting to college life. She was really lucky to get such a good roommate and to meet Levi. I really liked how the book focuses on both college life and family relationships. This is definitely one of my favorites of 2013 and I'm glad you enjoyed it too. If you haven't read Eleanor & Park, I hope you will give it a try.

  2. I loved your review. I am not in the target audience either, but I loved Rowell's writing style in Attachments, an adult book. And I actually sometimes enjoy college experiences in stories (high school, not so much!).

    And I love books with underlying issues.


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