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
I think everyone should read this book, but it's hard to put into words why. This book defies explanation and the synopsis doesn't do it justice. Rainbow Rowell is one of those writers who has the ability to write tons of emotion in as few words as possible (that's praise, not criticism). She is similar to John Green in that they both write angsty but smart YA characters. Normally when the main character whines it really turns me off, and even though Cath's musings can be construed as whining, to me she seemed more confused and socially awkward than a true whiner. She's also relate-able because no one knows how to act their first few months of freshman year. The narration is great, I really liked how the Simon Snow thread had one narrator and the Cath thread had another. I would absolutely recommend this book.
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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.
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.
This book was okay, I gave it 3 stars because the parts I did like were enjoyable. But the other parts, I really didn't. The book doesn't really end.... I'm usually okay with the unknowing but this left WAY too many things untouched. I wish Rainbow Rowell had gone further into the struggles of writing and stepping outside of your comfort zone for her fiction class. I wish she had touched more on the struggles with her mother. Some of the scenes with Levi went on forever and left me wanting to smack Cath upside the head and get on with it. The 'will I touch him?' got infuriating. Perhaps a younger audience will appreciate this. It was entertaining but will probably return this and find something better.
Loved the narrator. And the story was laugh out loud funny. Didn't love the reading of the fan fiction by Cath but other than that it was a really entertaining and funny story.
I love listening to audio books! If I go blind I will have books to listen to.
This is my first Rainbow Rowell book. I have to say I was hooked with the very first sentence. I loved all the book talk . It was just amazing book. I would recommend it anyone .
I've decided Fangirl is my "comfort listen" - I've now listened to the while thing 4x in the last 2 years. It's so sweet, and I particularly love how Rebecca Lowman does Cath's voice.
The love story was cute--until it wasn't. Once the characters were together, there were way too many tedious scenes with them adjusting to dating life. I also got bored with all the teenage makeout scenes. And with the fan fiction stories.
I also found myself rolling my eyes at the main character's crippling anxiety, which guides the story. Don't people believe in therapy anymore? No fewer than three of the characters (all from the same family) deal with issues that therapy and medication would help. They all openly scoff at such measures. Overall, there was a pretty negative presentation treatment for various mental illnesses, which I found very frustrating.
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