Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin Press
Publication Date: September 2013
Rating: 5 stars
There was a boy in her room.
There’s something about Rainbow Rowell’s writing that completely absorbs me as a reader. Her plots are interesting, her narrators are captivating, her dialogue is fun and witty, and her prose is brilliant. I’ve had Fangirl on hold at the ODL since Summer and, quite honestly, I’d forgotten about it shortly after requesting it. Fall semester of my junior year of college began and all my free time was whisked away in an instant. Honestly, this is the first YA novel I’ve read since Summer. (Or is it New Adult since she’s in colleg?) It is truly heartbreaking how little time I have had to read this semester; I’m hoping to change that next semester. I promise to read more YA. I promise to read more, in general. My Goodreads Reading Challenge is looking really sad in these last couple months of 2015. Thank you, college.
Though I haven’t read much fanfiction in my life, I completely understand the draw of it. Rainbow Rowell is the perfect author to tackle the struggles of writing fanfic and, honestly, writing in general. My favorite English professor here at school says fanfiction is on the rise and so is her growing appreciation towards it. (Her friend wrote a fanfic of Pride and Prejudice called Boots and Backpacks … though I’m not the biggest P & P fan, I’d like to check it out sometime. She actually got it published!)
Fangirl is the perfect novel to read if you are 1) Interesting in writing, 2) In college, 3) A fan of fanfiction, or 4) A combination of the three. The novel is about a college freshman named Cath who loves to write fanfic about Simon Snow, the character in her absolute favorite series. She’s quite good at it, too, with thousands of hits per day. She’s obsessed, and her twin sister Wren used to be too, until the girls started going their separate ways in college. Wren turned into a party girl, while Cath stayed up late at night either writing Simon Snow fanfic or assignments for her Fiction Writing class. Life seems to be okay, until she gets her first F on a writing assignment, and her dad succumbs to his loneliness, and her sister starts drinking too much, and she begins to fall in love with her roommate’s maybe-boyfriend, maybe not-boyfriend. For Cath, freshman year isn’t going quite as planned. She’s not sure how to be any of the things she wants to be — a good daughter, a good sister, a good writer. And she’s not really sure she wants to even be a writer if it means leaving Simon Snow behind.
Though I’m in my junior year of college, I’m really glad I had the chance to read this while in college. Cath is one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever read. I was pretty much the real-life version of Cath during my freshman year (and I kind of still am). All I want to do all day is sit in my room with my laptop and/or a book. Ah, the life of an English major. College doesn’t really work that way, though. At least, it didn’t turn out that way for me. Cath is a great narrator, too — she is witty, smart, and definitely overthinks things like I often do. My heart ached for her any time something bad happened because I just felt so close to her. I really like that about Rowell — she creates characters that you connect with and feel close to. And, of course, you can’t resist falling for Levi, the cutest college kid that is nothing like any college kid in real life, because he’s too perfect. I mean, he works at Starbucks, for God’s sake, hello. Seriously, though, I rooted for Levi throughout the whole novel. Some of you might fall for Nick, but I definitely got a bad vibe from him right off the bat But hey, you guys can form your own opinions.
The plot was always interesting and kept me engaged throughout all 435 pages; I was never once bored. I especially like how, at the end of each chapter, there was either a a passage from Cath’s fanfic, Carry On, or an excerpt from the “original” Simon Snow (it’s not a real book, just something Rowell made up, of course, and then also made up the fanfic for it). The dialogue was probably my favorite part, though. I always love witty banter and intelligent conversations, and this novel had plenty of that, especially between Cath and Levi, and Cath and her roommate Reagan. It wasn’t all cute and witty, though; Fangirl actually made me tear up a little, like most YA books do. And for a YA book, this was a great one, and if you haven’t read it already, go pick it up. In fact, just this past October, Rowell published a book called Carry On, based on the story and fanfic in Fangirl, about Simon Snow and Baz and all, so I’m definitely going to add that to my list. It’s great stuff! Definitely check it all out, because Rainbow Rowell is amazing.
Favorite Quote(s): “She’d majored in English, hoping that meant she could spend the next four years reading and writing. And maybe the next four years after that.”
“I don’t want to do anything. I don’t even want to start this day because then I’ll just be expected to finish it.”
“…the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”