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
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'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.
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.
I would definitely recommend this audiobook. I really love how there are 2 different narrators that break the story up by the story and what Cath has written/read.
I just love this story. I relate to Cath in a way that I have never related to another character before. The story is heartwarming at times, funny, sad, uncomfortable- a wonderful roller coaster of emotions!
I did basically listen to it in all one sitting- more than once :) In the car, doing housework- it was on all the time and even my husband laughed and listened with me.
I'm the first to admit that the premise is a bit hokey...a young adult book about a girl who writes thinly veiled Harry Potterish slash fanfiction...but remarkably it works. I think this book resonates so well because it tells the story of a girl who is having a hard time growing up and finding her away in a new and unfamiliar life. Transitions are such a natural part of life, yet for many people (including me) it is hard to let go and move on. I actually loved the fanfiction aspect as well. There have been a few cultural phenomenon recently (Harry Potter and Twilight come to mind) that can be difficult to say goodbye to. RR captured that level of devotion and relative importance so well.
At the end of the day this book feels like a warm and wonderful hug. I have recommended this book to several friends already.
After listening to a dark crime/mystery story, I wanted something lighter. I had hoped for funny, interesting, sweet or romantic, even silly would have worked. Drab did not work. About a quarter into the book, I found myself slogging through it. I stayed with it trying to give the story a chance. I found I didn’t like the main story or the secondary story. I didn’t like the family dynamics, the school experience, and I am still not certain if there were romantic or funny parts. I found the real characters OK – barely, but did not see anything appealing in the secondary characters. I didn’t like either reader. The female reader had an almost whinny thing going on, and the male reader had very little to work with. (SPOILER ALERT – when the main character was reading a fan story she had written to a guy, I was surprised that he didn’t fall asleep or beg her to stop – or throw himself out of the window. That is when I stopped listening, almost half way through the book. The story was inconsistent – for days the main character was too afraid to go into the school cafeteria to eat, but instantly walked home alone on campus at midnight with no problem. The fantasy character asked someone to take him somewhere in a boat, but was surprised that he actually had to get into the boat?!?! That ended it for me. I would agree with the teacher and give the whole thing an ‘F’. It might work for some, but did not work for me.
I loved this book. I think Rainbow Rowell is a phenomenal writer who has thoughtful and brilliant character development. This is an intelligent book but also sweet and romantic. For me that's a winning combination. I loved Eleanor and Park as well but this was even better. I think I would read anything she writes.
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