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? Writing her own stories? Open her heart to someone? Or will she just go on living inside somebody else's fiction?
©2013 Rainbow Rowell (P)2013 St. Martin's Griffin
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This book was kind of adorable, and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. While it definitely fits into the Young Adult and Chic Lit categories, there is a lot of nerdiness and a little more depth than you usually find in either genre. While I'm not a fan of Fan Fiction in general, I enjoyed the incorporation of the culture in the story, as well as the interweaving of the main story, the FanFic story, and the Harry Potter-esque world that Cath's Fan Fiction derived from. It was a fun read (listen), and Rebecca Lowman and Maxwell Caulfied add a lot to the audiobook version with great narration.
This is a fantastic, entertaining, make you laugh and cry, make time fly by fast, very credit worthy audiobook. Rebecca Lowman gives a brilliant performance. She makes the characters and the story come alive in such a way that after a while you stop noticing the narrator. The story just happens inside your head. I like the world of Fangirl very much. It's a small world, but a place I enjoyed spending time in and populated by characters I cared about very much. I especially enjoyed Levi, he's not a conventionally handsome or perfect guy who never puts a foot wrong, but there was just something about him that made me root for him and made me smile inside and out, even when he screwed up. We should all have a Levi in our lives at some point.
Since I liked Elenor & Park a lot, I went straight to the next Rainbow Rowell book. The recently released Fangirl. What a wonderful love story. Rainbow Rowell wields an effortless power over words and characters. I became a Fangirl-fan after only a few minutes, the story has a great flow and is extremely addictive without being overly dramatic. No villains, no death, no great deception, not a lot of crying and all the same. I grew so attached to Cather and all her friends. I would have loved for the story to never end.
The Narration by Rebecca Lowman is perfect. Her voices are distinctive without being overacted. Five Stars. Maxwell Caufield is a bit over the top for my taste, but since he is only reading the Simon Snow Excerpts at the beginning of the chapters, it was sort of funny.
I will listen to every book Rainbow Rowell writes, but it will be a while before I re-listen. When I want to time travel to revisit my own early college anxieties / small victories, I will re-listen to this book. For now, I'm jealous of people who haven't listened to Fangirl yet -- it was a delight.
Rainbow Rowell won my heart with "Eleanor and Park." "Fangirl" is less fraught and stressful, but drawn just as well. In both, Rowell conjures the awkwardness and excitement of teen emotions with disturbing accuracy. The "Simon Snow" fan-fic plot was a lot more endearing than I expected it to be. I loved the overt and subtle allusions to Harry Potter and Twilight. This element reminded me of "Ready Player One" because it was both funny and nostalgic.
Rebecca Lowman was an excellent narrator for the main story. I enjoyed the interludes of Maxwell Caulfield reading excerpts from the Simon Snow stories. The combination was such a smart idea.
I listened to the book Fangirl because my older sister read it over the holidays and told me I would love it and then took it away with her. I had an Audible credit and was agonizing over what to buy when it hit me that I could buy this book by some chick named Rainbow Rowell and I’d get to “read” it. So I did. And it pretty much changed my life.
The book is about Cath and her relationships. Her relationship with her twin sister, Wren, is changing because they’re going to college and Wren wants more independence from her family. Cath doesn’t feel that same need and doesn’t want to be too free. Her relationship with her dad is changing, because he’s home alone for the first time since their mom left, and she worries over him. Her relationship with her fan-fiction community is changing because the demands of college life is somewhat overwhelming. And now she has to deal with her roommate, her boyfriend, her sister’s roommate, her writing partner, and her professors.
Cath writes fan-fic about Simon Snow (a bit like Harry Potter only different) and she’s very serious about it. I wish I had the dedication that she does to her craft. It made me insanely guilty.
Okay, there are so many things I loved about this book, I almost don’t know where to begin. Levi, I’ll start with Levi. Levi is such a beautiful optimist and a treasure. He is Cath’s roommate’s (Reagan) friend, initially thought to be her boyfriend. He has never read a novel all the way through, and Cath actually get angry about it (something I would totally do).
She decides to help him with a test and reads the entire book The Outsiders aloud to him. It was my second favorite scene in the book.
Reagan is a pretty awesome character herself. She’s completely kick-ass and I-don’t-give-a-crap-what-you-think, but her relationship with Cath becomes one of my favorite in the book. They sit in the cafeteria and make fun of people. Reagan is a good reminder to Cath that there are other things in the world besides fan-fic. Like, take this quote for example:
She’s a perfect person to befriend Cath.
And Cath, oh man. I am her, in so many ways. Like she wears her fandom t-shirts every day and is introverted and awkward. She’d prefer to read or write to any other activity. And she cares so much about everyone and doesn’t know how to express it well. My heart bled for her when Wren walked away from, leaving her to room with someone else and basically deal with her freshman year alone. Cath deals with it by isolating herself and writing her fan-fic novel. Which, again, I relate to so well.
The most emotional point in the book for me was the end. That seems cliché and expected, but it isn’t for the reason that you might think. Since Simon Snow is the equivalent of Harry Potter, I felt a kinship to Cath merely because her level of Snow fandom is the same as mine to Potter. At the end of the book, the last Simon Snow novel comes out and Cath and Wren get emotionally overwrought and I lost it. I sat in the dark of my room bawling as I listened because all of my Harry Potter feels resurfaced after seven years and I couldn’t help myself.
ALL THE FEELS!
Rebecca Lowman is one of my favorite narrators of all time and she did such a good job reading this book. Although, I have to say, some of my favorite parts were the Simon Snow bits before each chapter, which were read by Max Caulfield. It was a phenomenal narration.
My favorite parts of the book were Cath/Levi moments. They get together before you reach halfway in the book, so I don’t really view this as a spoiler, but other people might. Levi is the ultimate extrovert, saying ‘hi’ to people he’s never met and starting conversations out of nothing. I admire his mad skills. Cath is the ultimate introvert and thus limits interaction with human beings to the absolute minimum. How could you not see them coming? And how could you not love them together?
This review was originally published on my blog, Infusions of Wit From an Everyday Girl.
I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.
Fangirl is about a girl named Cath who is just starting college. She leads a double life as a superstar fanfic author and now has to fit her writing into college life, and find her own voice as a writer and individual. I think all three of Rowell’s books have crossover appeal, and Fangirl deftly walks the line between YA and NA/Adult. She writes these great quirky, creative misfit types and I think Fangirl might be my favorite of the three Nebraska-set books.
Cath(er) is a twin- her sister is Wren, and they grew up with their dad in Omaha, Nebraska. Their mom took off on (the) September 11th and the trio was left to pick up the pieces. Cath retreated inward, preferring to spend time on the Simon Snow (Harry Potter-esque character) fandom and fic writing. Wren is more outgoing and vivacious and is ready to take college by storm, unwilling to take on the baggage of Cath as a roommate. Cath feels abandoned and overwhelmed, and her brash new roommate Reagan isn’t very welcoming. Plus she’s worried about her dad’s eccentric behavior at home.
Cath is a worrier, has social anxiety, and hordes protein bars so she doesn’t have to eat in the dining hall. She feels most comfortable in the world of her fic, a world where she’s quite successful. Cath is such a gifted writer she lands a spot in the junior-level Intro to Fiction writing, and hear she deals with a sketchy words-stealing writing partner, and a professor that frowns on Cath’s fic writing.
Levi is Reagan’s ex and he spends a lot of time in the girls’ room studying. He’s always around and slowly Cath realizes it’s not only to see Reagan. He is super sweet, supportive, and endearing – the perfect guy for Cath to fall for. He has a reading disability so likes to study by listening to class recordings, and loves when Cath reads her fanfic aloud to him. He is just too cute for words.
There are a lot of balls in the air with Fangirl- with the twin relationship, school, absent mom, troubled dad, and the merits of fanfic. All of these issues weigh on Cath’s mind, and make her first year of college a challenge and enlightening. I found Cath relatable, and I’ve definitely fangirled over books and TV series. It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone and move away from home, and I felt Cath’s struggle to balance real life and the characters in her fanfic.
Speaking of the fanfic, the book includes excerpts from Simon Snow, and Cath’s own fic so you’re following a story in the story in Fangirl. The transitions are easy to follow and let you see where Cath’s head is. The fandom is shown through the eyes of a writer, and show Cath worrying about getting her story finished before the last Simon Snow book is released, and keeping up with reader comments. It seems like Rowell knows a lot about fanfic.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Rebecca Lowman (Eleanor & Park narrator) and Maxwell Caulfield (from Grease 2!) Caulfield only reads the Simon Snow and fanfic passages, transporting the reader to Cath’s other world. I liked Lowman’s narration in E&P so it was an easy decision to pick up this audiobook. She’s great with voices, and I liked her sunny, gregarious voice for Levi, and her jaded, blunt voice for Reagan. Cath’s worries and insecurities come to life with Lowman’s delivery. The time flew by while I was listening to this audiobook. I have the book too since I love the cover and I like to experience my favorites in print and audio, but I don’t think you could go wrong with either.
There were a lot of lines I loved in this book, but I was listening to the audiobook so I didn’t really keep track of them. I’m eager to experience the book in print so I can take note of my favorites. I think Fangirl definitely has crossover appeal for readers of YA/NA and Contemporary Fiction, and you may love it even more if you’re a closeted (or not) fangirl yourself.
The main character was continually, stubbornly unlikable. I found myself actually yelling at her to get over herself, stand up for herself, and other things that might give away spoilers. I forced myself to finish it hoping for some development and growth, but I was disappointed. I picked Fangirl because I loved Eleanor & Park so much- but this was the complete opposite.
Nothing by Rainbow Rowell.
Rebecca Lowman was brilliant as always. She's fast become my favorite reader. She was the most enjoyable part of this audiobook.
Maxwell Caulfield was great as well.
Cath. All the secondary characters had purpose, growth, development, etc. Cath was a complete doormat waste of space.
Eleanor & Park blew me away with how much I nostalgically related to the adolescent angst, so I was expecting something similar with Fangirl. It didn't happen. I'm just glad it's over, and I only wish I'd quit it when I first realized how wet-rag Cath is for a protagonist instead of wasting the next 10+ hours hoping for some growth.
The characters are fantastic. Levi was my favorite.
I have not listened to other performances. I did not care for having two readers. I realize it helped separate the book within the book, however I would have preferred one narrator.
Anything Levi said.
I listed to Rainbow Rowell's first YA book (Eleanor and Park) and fell in love with it. When I heard that this one would have the same narrator, I knew I'd have to listen to it also. I haven't read the print version to compare, but I absolutely love Rebecca Lowman's narration! I also enjoyed the 'fanfic' parts read by Maxwell Caulfield. It was a good way to separate that part of the story from the actual story.
The awkwardness of Cath. It felt very real.
I think the fanfic portion of the book would have been a little less exciting in print. Having Maxwell Caulfield read it made it really stand out.
Yes! But at the same time, I didn't want it to end.
I loved Rainbow Rowell's first book and am also a big fan of Rebecca Lowman, so this book was a double whammy for me. Rowell is so skilled at writing about young love without sounding too angsty. I loved the characters and various story lines in this book. My only gripe is that the ending was a bit rushed - I would have loved to know more about each character's path and outcomes.
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