Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Okay, may I start by saying: this book. This BOOK, man. I’m not quite sure what else I can say.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Released September 10th, 2013
Source of my copy: Gift
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?
I loved this book. I loved the concept. I loved the touch of college life (That’s next year for me. Who’s scared? Ha. Ha.), the pieces of Simon Snow, the world of fanfiction. Having delved a bit into fic myself, it was really fun to see it brought out in a novel—akin to Jennifer L Armentrout’s book-blogging MC Katy in the Lux series.

Moving beyond that, I absolutely loved the characters. They were lovely, and yet they were flawed. Extremely so. Cath is smart and loyal and supportive, but she can also be cowardly and a bit selfish. Wren, at first glance, seems reckless and hurtful and self-centered—and she is, but she also cares about her sister a lot and is just looking for her own identity, if in the wrong places. You have Reagan, standoffish but always there to lend a helping hand to a struggling freshman or friend; Nick, who’s sweet and fun but focused on his own needs; and Levi, who is kind and friendly, but who isn’t perfect and certainly isn’t above making mistakes. That’s without even getting into the cans of worms that are Cather and Wren’s parents. (I will say, however, that I approve of their choices in twin names.)

As mentioned above, one of the most interesting parts of this book was the Simon Snow snippets and fanfiction. Before I read Fangirl, I saw a lot of people complaining about these drifts from the main story, and many reviewers admitting they skimmed or even skipped these. Though they could be a bit annoying or confusing at times, however, they ended up being one of my favorite parts. I found myself irritated when a Simon Snow chapter or a Carry On, Simon update interrupted Cath’s story, but as soon as she tried to reclaim my attention I was dying to know what happened to Simon and Baz. The way Simon Snow’s world (both canon and fanon) intertwined with and complemented Cather’s story added a new layer to the story that I absolutely adored.

Overall, I just found the story gorgeous. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is interesting and lovely, the story was fresh and interesting, the characters were relatable and real, and the book was, in my eyes, quite near perfection. Since finishing Fangirl I read Rowell’s novel Attachments and loved it as well, so I can’t wait to check out more from her!

Altogether, Fangirl absolutely gets <*><*><*><*><*>


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