Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Age Group
Date Published: September 10, 2013
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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Look at the cover. It's adorable, right? It looks like the book's going to be a cute little love story about a nerdy girl who writes fanfiction and a cute boy who thinks her fanfiction writing is cute. Wrong. Er, not wrong, exactly, that's just the very miniscule tip of the iceburg. Fangirl is poignant, it makes you think and question everything you're doing in life. It's not just a love story. It's a family story, a friend story, a coming-of-age story. It's about defeating fear or letting it rule your life. It's about mental health and the effects of not having a mother in your life. It's about finding yourself and figuring out what to do after high school is over. It's about boys and awkwardness and standing up for yourself. So, yeah, Fangirl is about so much more than boy meets girl. It's a beautifully written story that will bring you to tears and make you laugh and want to hug your family and all the people you love in life.
I really related to Cath. She was shy and nervous to be starting college. She didn't venture out of her dorm room other than to go to class. She was afraid of making friends, she was afraid of looking stupid. She tries to give up on her dream of being a writer because she doesn't think she can do it. She wants so badly to hold on to her high school self, that she's strangling the new Cath that wants to come out in college. Cath and her sister pretty much drift apart on the very first page. They're twins, and they've always been together. They wrote Simon Snow fanfiction together; they went to dances together; they had the same friends; they shared clothes; they shared a face. They basically did everything together. Until college, when Wren decides she needs some independence. Cath is the Shy One, the one who's afraid of everything, and without her sister there to hold her up, she feels so lost.
This is where Reagan and Levi come in. Reagan is Cath's roommate, and Levi is the guys who's always with Reagan. Reagan basically adopts Cath after about a month because Cath's pathetic. They become friends, shockingly, and it helps Cath venture out of her world of Simon Snow fanfiction a little more. Reagan is scary, but really cool.
Levi is perfect. He's got this goofy hair that makes him look way older than 21, but he loves it. He has this crazy widow's peak and it's so cute I want to kiss it. He loves to smile and make other people happy and brighten their days. He's lanky, and goofy, but has a good heart. Levi works at Starbucks, and turned Cath on to coffee. He made her a special drink when she came in to see him. He has a weird thing with books, but it's a major plot point so no spoilers from me. He's adorable, and I just want to cuddle with him all the time.
The characters were great, but I want to tell you more about how much of a genius Rainbow Rowell is. So, Cath writes fanfic for a books series Rowell made up, yeah? In between every chapter is an excerpt from this series, or from Cath's fanfiction. Rowell came up with this interesting Harry Potter-esque series, came up with a plot for it, and then wrote excerpts that matched what Cath was going through in her life at school. When you read the book, pay attention to who writes the fanfiction, because that's important and I didn't figure it out until later in the book and I was sad because I didn't get everything out of it that I could have.
Also, Cath's writing class made me rethink my writing style. She has this writing buddy for a while, Nick, whose writing Cath describes as a "waltz." It got me thinking about how choppy I write, and how nothing I write could ever sound like a "waltz," not now anyway. I loved how Cath got her writing practice through writing fanfiction, because that's what so many teenagers and young adults do these days. Cath became this amazing writer, yeah because she had natural talent, but also through a lot of practice. I just thought that was such a good message to aspiring writer out there reading this book.
Basically, this book was incredible and powerful. It got me thinking about what college is going to be like next year, and how it's okay that I'm scared. But, it's not okay to let that fear rule what I do. Fangirl is an important read for every shy, awkward bookworm out there. It deals with so much, and I just really think that it's one of the best books out right now.