Published by Macmillan on September 10th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
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#1 New York Times bestselling author!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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2013 A New York Times Best Seller!
“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”
I enjoyed Fangirl. Though the way I feel about it is almost exactly how I feel about Eleanor & Park. They are both cute books with complex, well-developed characters, and yet I feel like something is missing that just holds both books back from being truly memorable.
Rowell writes quirky, detailed characters that are different and honest. I liked the antisocial, awkward and weird Cath. I thought her story – both as a popular fanfic writer and as a new college student – seemed very unique and it was, for the most part, enjoyable, funny and occasionally moving. I have my own history of social awkwardness so I related to a lot of the strange and hilarious things she did.
Some readers didn’t like Cath’s desire to hole up in her room and eat protein bars because she wanted to avoid the awkwardness of the cafeteria, but this wasn’t an issue for me. Unfortunately, I get these little things that plague us socially awkward people. I actually found it quite endearing.
And, unlike some other readers, I enjoyed the fanfiction aspect. I’ve never been much of a fanfic reader/writer myself, but I have been the kind of person who has been completely obsessed with a fandom, and I have never read a book that has done anything quite like this one. Props for creativity.
So… yes, I like the characters, and yes, I like the dialogue, but I feel there is something lacking in the plot/story arc of the two Rowell books I’ve read. I guess they are introspective “coming-of-age” books that don’t really have much of a story, and I tend to feel like not much has happened or been achieved by the novel’s close.
It’s odd, though, because I often enjoy character-driven stories. For some reason, with Rowell, it never seems to be enough. I quite like her books while I’m reading them, but I get the impression that in a month’s time, I won’t be able to name a single character from this book.