From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
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?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
"Touching and utterly real." — Publisher's Weekly
Rating: 5 Stars
Book Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: September 10th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
This was my first introduction to Rainbow Rowell’s writing and I am officially a fan (pun intended). I was enthralled with Fangirl from the get-go. Cath’s personality was charming and so easy to relate to, and I love that the book starts with their (hers and Wren’s) first year of college. Perhaps it was just because this book paralleled my own college experience, but I fell in LOVE with Fangirl. As someone who really struggled with dorm life my freshmen year of college, I couldn’t help but love Cath SO MUCH. There were a lot of tears reading this!
I think the reason I felt so much for Cath’s situation is because she’s someone a lot of us book fanatics can relate to. If, like me, you would rather be inside reading on a Friday night than going out to parties, you’ll totally understand where Cath is coming from. As a big Simon Snow fan, Cath writes fan fiction for this book series. Now, it might not seem like that big of a deal but to Cath this has always been her whole world. Then when she leaves for college she’s forced to room with someone who initially, she thinks she has nothing in common with. It’s hard for Cath to fit in with college life because all she wants is to be left on her own, free to write and keep up with her fans that read her fan fiction. As if moving away from home wasn’t hard enough, Cath’s twin sister, Wren, doesn’t want much to do with her when she gets to school. She begins distancing herself shortly after they arrive and Cath can’t figure out what she’s done to upset her sister.
The hardest parts for me to read (emotionally) were the scenes when Cath’s anxiety gets the best of her. When she first gets to school the biggest obstacle she deals with is having to leave her dorm to go and get food. Getting her meals means having to visit the dining hall though, and interacting with other people that she doesn’t know. I actually cried in more than one scene when Cath rations her granola bars she brought to college. Instead of going to get food she would rather eat one of her bars for dinner or lunch, even if she was still starving when she was done. It broke my bleeding heart I swear! I loved when Cath’s roommate (who is super sassy but really cool) eventually forces her to start leaving their dorm room to get food from the hall. It also made it easier on Cath to have someone to go with.
Cath: You already know how much I adored Cath so I won’t keep talking your ear off about it, but I will say one final thing: even if you can’t understand where Cath is coming from because you have more of a Wren personality, I think it’s important for people to note the struggle Cath is going through. I’m sure there are thousands of girls (and boys) out there each year who have a really hard time when they first get to college and could just use a friend or fellow classmate to help them get through it. If you think you know someone, say your next door dorm neighbor, say hi and ask them to dinner! You don’t know how much that might impact them and make their day. We all just need a friendly face from time to time!
Levi: OH LEVI! If someone has a Levi in their life that is single, send him my way!:) What I loved about Levi was his persistence. Even when Cath shuts down and has a hard time communicating with him, Levi manages to pull her out of her bubble and get her more involved. And my favorite part was that even when Cath didn’t want to go out, Levi was willing to sit with her and just be there with her, while she wrote her fan fiction. It was stinkin adorable guys and will give you all the feels I swear! Talk about a great support system in a relationship!
Wren: I remember commenting on another book blogger’s review of Fangirl a while back and mentioning how I thought Wren was a total nightmare but that I had so much compassion for her towards the end of the book. Weird, right? And somewhat contradictory, but hear me out. Initially I disliked Wren so much because I loved Cath and I couldn’t help but relate with everything she is going through. But as I got closer to the end and saw how hard Wren was dealing with things and all the stuff she was struggling with, I started to rethink my whole opinion of her. I have friends and family that are twins and I know how hard it is for them at times to be a twin. For some reason our culture seems to think that’s a huge part of their personal identity instead of separating the two twins into individuals. How many times have you been introduced to someone who is a twin and that’s one of the first things you find out about them? Or why should a twin feel the need to say “Hi my name is__ and I’m a twin.” Yes, they’re a twin and I know that is really cool, and some might argue, something to be really proud of, but they’re also their own person.
Essentially I’m trying to say that despite Wren’s faults, and the fact that Cath is constantly having to pick up the pieces of Wren’s mistakes towards the end of the book, I started to feel a little for her because I can imagine what her life was like. College gave her a chance to break away from her life as a “twin” and find herself, without the inclusion of Cath. Yeah, it may have turned her into a monster for a little bit, which weighed on her relationship with Cath, but I think it was crucial to showing just how difficult it can be to find yourself as a twin. I thought Rainbow Rowell did a phenomenal job of showcasing this by including this in the book.