Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Source/Format: Netgalley (Thanks Macmillan!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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? (from Goodreads)

There's just something so incredibly likable about Fangirl. It's the kind of book that stands out from the crowd, both because it's just so uniquely written and because it feels like Rainbow Rowell is telling a girl's real life story... your life story, in fact, if you're a fangirl, like me. While it didn't precisely hit my sweet spot, it certainly made a rather strong impression. There's a whole host of characters to love, relationship dynamics at play and fan fiction excerpts to sweeten the deal. 

Cath is easily one of my favorite characters. She's smart, slightly obsessive and a whole lot of awkward. She and I approached our freshman year of college the same way - filled with trepidation and fear of the unknown, and allowing that fear to hold us hostage and keep us from putting ourselves out there. Instead, Cath relies on what feels familiar and right to her -- her fan fiction, her dad, her books. Eventually, of course, Cath experiences a number of things that force her to step out of her comfort zone. Watching as she learns to navigate all these new things is really inspiring and heartwarming. In the end, Cath finds her way, reconciling her new situation with her true personality, and the book leaves us feeling warm, fuzzy and content on her behalf.

Cath's story focuses heavily on her relationships with people. There's Wren, her twin sister, who insists on having a college experience independent of her twin. There's her dad, who is wonderful man with a sad condition, and is a source of Cath's pride and worry. There's Reagan, her unexpected upperclass roommate, who's pretty cool and pushes Cath straight out of her comfort zone (a.k.a. their room). There's her mom, who left early on in Cath's life, and has chosen to make a random reappearance now that they're older. And then there's Levi, who is adorable, and happy, and just such a likable guy. The way Cath interacts with each of them, and how they manage to make her life a happy place or a living hell really adds something extra to her story. 

One thing I particularly love about the book, though I know other people didn't, was the fan fiction and book excerpts included. Even though they did take away a bit from the story, I found them funny and refreshing and just such great insight into how creative Cath (and sometimes Wren) was.

Fangirl is not only a refreshing take on what it means to be a fangirl, and a fan fiction writer at that. It's also a commentary on writing, and how sometimes, you need to take one step out of your comfort zone to tell a story that truly yours. It's also a thoughtful tale of one girl's freshman year, as she learns to navigate the waters of college, makes new friends, deals with new family situations. Rainbow Rowell beautifully melds these things into this novel, and I can truly say that I'm a fangirl for Fangirl.

10 comments:

  1. I loved this book (: I also reviewed it on my book blog www.nosedeep.blogspot.com Your book blog is so fresh and cute!

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  2. Even though some of the content wasn't to my taste, I couldn't help but ADORE this book. Rowell's writing is just... hypnotizing. The story plays out in a completely realistic way with truly relatable characters. Gah- can't help but love it. ^.^

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  3. So curious why you weren't completely over the moon. This seems like such an Alexa book to me!

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  4. I like the fact that the author incorporated parts of her fan fiction. It makes the story sound more complete :) I think Cath and I will go along just fine :D

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  5. I'm reading this now and loving it! I'm kinda digging the writing excerpts...so I'm with you there!

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  6. Yay!!!! I adored this book! So glad you liked it. I had some problems with Cath... but not also felt some real connection to her. And Levi... oh, Levi.. so good! :)

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  7. Ah I completely agree with how freaking lovable this book was. Everything i've read by Rainbow Rowell has been like that so far. But you're right, the whole writing commentary was fantastic and I love the message it gave off. Great review :)

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  8. I liked this book a lot though I do prefer E&P and Attachments-the fanfiction really detracted from my enjoyment though I'm glad it worked for you.

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  9. Eeep!! So glad you loved this one. It's definitely one of my favorites of the year. I also really liked the fanfic bits, even though some people really didn't. It totally suited the atmosphere of the book!

    *sigh* Every time I read a review of this book I want to go back and re-read but I just don't have the time! Maybe I'll just skim my favorite parts. What's definitely for sure, though, is that this is one of my favorite books of the year!

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  10. Great dialogue and story development. The right amount of time is spent on creating the rich characters and there are many hilariously memorable lines. I heart rainbow!
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