Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
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 fanfiction, 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 that 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 fanfiction 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?
First Sentence: There was a boy in her room.
Fangirl is probably one of the most hyped up books, ever. With over five different editions – the U.S. light teal cover, the Canadian yellow cover, the UK special pink bookmark edition, the Amazon light pink cover, the Barnes & Noble pink cover, do I have to go on? – and all my friends fangirling over Fangirl – no pun intended – my expectations for Fangirl was sky-high. However, I am also extremely wary of Fangirl as I usually don’t enjoy books other people loved. In fact, I can’t think of a single hyped up book that I genuinely enjoyed reading and can rave about. I didn’t pick up Fangirl for many years even though it was sitting on my shelf for FOREVER until I was sort-of forced to – I had to decide whether or not Fangirl would be one of the books I would be keeping.
“He’s just a guy,” Reagan said. “Of course he’s different from you. You’re never going to find a guy who’s exactly like you – first of all, because that guy never leaves his dorm room….” (184)
I was surprised to find that I did enjoy reading Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell’s adult book was a different story altogether – but Fangirl wasn’t anything memorable or amazing. I understood Cath – I felt some of her anxiety, but mine isn’t as extreme as hers – and really connected her. (Let’s face it, I’ll connect with any book where the character hates going into the school cafeteria because of all the people there.) Cath was pretty much what made the book for me.
For me, the biggest problem in Fangirl was the romance that developed between Cath and Levi. One moment, Cath and Levi were strangers and in the next moment, they suddenly had strong romantic feelings for one another. (I really hope this isn’t a spoiler for anyone – everyone I’ve talked to knows about Levi.) Levi was just the kind of weird guy that hung out in Cath’s room all the time, being a bother, and I understood it when Cath and him slowly got closer. Suddenly, Cath and Levi were kissing and Cath reveals that she had had romantic feelings for him all along. It was also revealed that Levi was hanging around her room so often because he was romantically interested in her. At that point, I was just like whaaat? I can understand that Levi was interested in Cath and that’s why he hung around in her room so often, but since Fangirl is told from Cath’s point of view and we get to know her thoughts, the fact that she had strong feelings for Levi came so suddenly and without any warning. There wasn’t a single hint that she was interested in Levi; in fact, one can argue that Cath wasn’t interested in Levi because she thought that he was her roommate’s boyfriend.
A few minutes later he texted her: “IDEA..if your bored and you miss me you should write some dirty fan fiction about us. you can read it to me later. great idea right?” (356)
The ending was also unclear. Rainbow Rowell introduced several topics – the direction Cath and Levi’s relationship is heading towards, the race against the eighth Simon Snow book, and other topics that would spoil the book if I mentioned it – and suddenly, Fangirl just ended without solving anything in depth. It felt like Rainbow Rowell gave us a glimpse into Cath’s life and quickly pulled us out of it before we get to see the whole saga. It also felt like Rainbow Rowell quickly solved how those introduced topics ended without going in depth because she ran out of pages to write.
In the end, even though I enjoyed reading Fangirl to a certain extent, I doubt it’ll be a book I’ll be keeping. (Aka watch out for a giveaway.)
Random comment: Did anyone else notice how many times Rainbow Rowell mentioned/Cath thought about Levi’s hairline? She thought about it so much that it started getting really disturbing…