Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905 In my little twitter-sphere and Facebook world this book has a TON of hype behind it and in general I really hate to read books with a lot of hype. Because almost always I end up feeling just meh about the book or movie and then think well there is obviously something wrong with all of these other people because that was just not that great! So I tend to just read my own thing and it all works out just fine. But there was an insanely good price drop and I couldn’t resist buying it because that IS the way into this book lover’s kindle. Also I did read Attachments at the recommendation of Vi who has about a 98.4% track record of recs for me (and I loved it). Then I read Eleanor and Park and I loved it too. All that to say basically fine, I succumbed to the hype, I’m weak. Whatevs.

How do you not like the Internet? That’s like saying, ‘I don’t like things that are convenient. And easy. I don’t like having access to all of mankind’s recorded discoveries at my fingertips. I don’t like light. And knowledge.’

I started to read and fell in love with Cath, the main character, immediately. But it wasn’t fair because the author somehow made her exactly like me in every way but completely different at the same time. Cath and her twin sister, Wren, go to college after spending their whole lives being together. When Wren decides not to be roommates with her Cath is kind of crushed but finds solace in her hobby of writing fan fiction for the series Simon Snow. But not just any fan fiction, like really epic fan fiction that has hundreds and hundreds of followers online.

So while her college life is just not going that great – her roommate seems to hate her and has a boyfriend(ish) who is always around, Cath’s professor thinks fan fiction is plagiarism, and she can’t seem to make any friends – her fan fiction is the only thing that seems to make any sense. Like always.

“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. I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”

There is so much going on in this book it would be so easy for it to just fall apart if something wasn’t done well but it was, just ridiculously done well! There is a beautiful family story being told here. Partly with the twins and dealing with going to college and the ramifications of being apart for the first time. Cath can’t understand what Wren is doing and can’t comprehend why she doesn’t want to be around her anymore. But at the same time she can’t see what Wren herself is going through. They’re both grappling with bigger issues of leaving their father at home alone, and dealing with their mother who left them and how they want to handle her possibly entering their lives again. Neither can understand how the other wants to deal with it.

On top of that is the coming to college story, Cath dealing with being introverted and not being able to even go to the cafeteria by herself to eat. This was part of the book that made my heart ache for her because I was having flashbacks to my freshman year in college, dealing with a hated roommate of my own. Going hand in hand with the college and coming of age story is of course the falling in love for the first time which was so awkwardly well done. Cath falling in love and acknowledging how incredibly weird yet awesome this was for her was hilarious and heart breaking to see.

“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”

“How do you feel when I smile at you?” he asked – and then he did smile at her, just a little.
Not like myself, Cath thought.
“Like an idiot,” she said softly. “And I never want it to stop.”

All of this being tied together of course was the fan fiction. I’ve never written fan fiction and barely read some so I’m not super familiar with that world but wow does the author just pull you right into it and make you feel like you’ve lived in it your whole life. There have been comparisons made of Simon Snow to Harry Potter and that is obviously what my mind went to as well. I loved the snippets and I loved reading pieces of what Cath wrote throughout the book.

Somehow Rainbow Rowell managed to take all of these different pieces of these huge stories together into one and make a complex book that made total sense. I’ve seen many books fall apart trying to tie just two of these themes together so I’m still not quite sure how she managed to do this but in my opinion she was very successful. Besides combining all of these into one she also made me laugh. This is an extremely quotable book and I love that.
5 Stars

~Clio

Buy it Now Fangirl

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