Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pub. Date: 2013
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
When Cath and her identical twin, Wren, start college, Cath has to strike it out on her own with a stranger for a roommate, a fiction writing class, and an obsession with writing Simon Snow fanfiction. As she develops autonomy from her family, she is working on a two-year fanfic before the final book in the Simon Snow series comes out. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl focuses on the college fangirl whose trying to work through family trouble, writing stress and new relationships.
I won this book in the July Discussion Challenge hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight, and they were kind to me when I didn’t see the email or the notice on the link-up pages. Thank you both so much! I picked Fangirl because it fit both criteria for the prize: 1) fireworks between the main characters and 2) the main character finding herself and gaining independence. I finally had time to read it this week, and I loved it.
The characters were alive and relatable the moment they appeared on the page. Cath moved from being a spurned sister and freshman to an introverted fangirl in two chapters. Her roommate and Levi are hinted at as not-stereotypical bad roommates, and that hinting is true shortly after the first chapter. The people from Cath’s Intermediate Fiction Writing class fit the college setting, and their characters fit. I don’t like Wren or their mother, but that is to be expected. Wren was written to be somewhat redeemable toward the end, but she was mean through most of the novel. The important takeaway is that the round character develop and stay alive, and the flat characters stay flat.
Simon Snow. I loved the fangirling and the writing of fanfiction. My favorite parts were when she read her fanfics to Levi. It was sweet. The romance moved at an excellent pace.
While reading the book, I kept wishing that the entire Simon Snow series and fandom existed in real life. I have heard that Rowell’s Carry On is supposed to be the fanfic Cath wrote, but I want the whole thing to exist. I doubt it would have the popularity that the Harry Potter series does in this world, which it seems to be replacing. It worked well to receive a dose of Simon Snow between every chapter. Points to Rowell for making me fangirl about a series that doesn’t exist.
The themes include developing autonomy, writing, and dealing with relationship struggles. Cath develops identity from her sister and finds a way to keep up her love of Simon Snow fanfiction. Writing is her life: she writes fanfiction and wants to continue writing fiction. The fighting between herself and her sister, their mother, and a couple of her friends makes the entire story more than just about college and loving fanfiction.
If you are a fangirl or fanboy, if appreciate books in general, you will love this book. This coming from a shameless fangirl.