Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Released September 10, 2013
Borrowed from local public library
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?
There has been so much hype surrounding this book that it felt like everyone and their mother had read it (well, everyone except for me). I finally decided to give it a try since I had been in a reading slump because of ACOMAF, so I thought I would read a light contemporary to cleanse my system.
Let me start with Cather’s character, which I honestly enjoyed. I felt that she was real and I was able to relate to so much of her personality. For example, she’s the type of person who doesn’t half-ass relationships; you’re either in her life, or you’re not. Also, she has anxiety and at times it causes her to miss out on situations that she might have enjoyed. Finally, she puts her family before everything else. I respected her and I enjoyed her moments of sass and sarcasm. I also liked seeing her develop as an individual and grow up a little bit, which was ultimately her biggest struggle.
As for the other characters, I think what I liked most about them was how real they felt. They didn’t feel like these completely made up no-way-would-this-person-exist-in-real-life kind of characters (*cough cough* TFIOS, *cough cough* Augustus). Yet, they never felt dull to me. It was the coming together of these realistic individuals that was so fun; their interactions and the way they dealt with one another made the story interesting.
The third biggest element of this story that I enjoyed was the romance. I don’t like to admit this, but I’m a sucker for the sugary sweet slow burn romances. All things considered, I should be the type of person who rolls their eyes in disgust at the cutesy little love moments, but gosh darnit I really do enjoy them. I actually had to release a few happy little sighs while reading this book. So, all in all, I loved the romance.
Now let me move on to my gripes. While I loved the romance, I thought the book was a little boring until it really started developing- which was somewhere around the halfway mark. Also, so much book space is taken up by the Simon-Baz thing which I really was not enjoying. In fact, I skimmed through a good portion of it. The only reason I didn’t skip it entirely was my fear that I would miss something important or relevant to the storyline (which didn’t happen). I like that Rowell was trying to suck us into Cather’s world by giving us pieces of that story, but I just found it so boring and unsatisfying. Also, I somehow kept imagining Simon as Harry Potter and Baz as Draco Malfoy (sorry, not sorry).
Overall, I felt that Fangirl was just okay. It was a cute read, and I did enjoy it. However, for all the hype it got, I was expecting something life changingly amazing. I rarely pick up contemporary novels, and so when I do pick them up I really like them to be emotional and the kind of books that stay with you forever. This just wasn’t it for me.