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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
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Fangirl

by Rainbow Rowell

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1,4951554,957 (4.28)163
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Cath is a Simon Snow fan (the main character a series of fictional books that sort of reminded me of the idea of Harry Potter). In fact, Cath writes FanFiction and has a huge online following for her work. Cath and her twin sister Wren are freshmen at college and the adjustment is rough on them and their dad too. Their mom abandoned them when she decided she didn't want to be a mother anymore and it left ripple effects on the whole family.
Between the chapters are excerpts of Simon Snow stories and Cath's fanfiction. Her creative writing teacher sees talent. She forges a relationship with her roommate, as unlikely as it might be, and the charming, Levi.
For me, sometime the Simon Snow excerpts didn't always hook me in, but I did like Cath as a complex character for whom I cheered as she worked her way through the trials and tribulations of her freshmen year. ( )
  ewyatt | Mar 22, 2015 |
Still recovering from a brutal semester of Canadian Lit, Fangirl certainly did not disappoint! It is the first chick lit I’ve read in a while and, I must say, it succeeded in giving me those butterflies :) This quirky story about a girl named Cath who is obsessed with the fictional Simon Snow series was extremely readable and once I sat down and started reading I actually had to make a conscious decision to put down the book and venture into the real world. I probably could have sat down and read this entire book in one sitting.

So for the quick “what is this book about” bit, the main character, Cath, is not only a huge Simon Snow fan, but she is an active fanfiction writer, and the book focuses a lot on her writing and obsession with the fictional world. We journey with Cath through her first year of college and the difficulties she faces with her twin sister, mentally ill father, estranged mother and new found love interest. I have to say, for a seemingly light, fluffy read, this novel was surprisingly deep in exploring the family, friend and romantic relationships between the characters.

There are a few things I want to talk about in this book and I don’t really know how to organize this review so I’m going to just start and it probably won’t be any good, but what can you do? I guess the first thing I noticed in the book was that for a chick lit it really wasn’t all that predictable. 99% of the chick lit books out there you know exactly what is going to happen. You know what I mean? Guy meets girl, girl loves guy but he is unattainable in some way, they become friends with obvious feelings or get together, then huge fight or misunderstanding and then BAM, they get together and live happily ever after? Anyone recognize this? Anyway, with this one I felt that it threw you little curve balls, not big enough to drop your jaw, but enough to make it not so typical. I may be way off the mark here and was just too dense to see what was directly in front of me, but there were little things like how I assumed that Cath’s writing partner, Nick, was going to be her love interest in the book, but instead it ended up being the charming and funny Levi, who I took at the beginning as a funny sidekick type character. Which, who knew, was SO much better.

Speaking of Levi… LEVI. Man oh man does this guy rank on my favourite literary crushes list. Not only is he extremely charismatic, funny and genuinely the best guy you will ever meet …… he also works at Starbucks. I KNOW! Free lattes?? Perfect boyfriend ;) Levi was one of those characters that you fall in love with right away, which goes to show how his personality jumps off the page because he has that affect with everyone he meets in the book as well. The only thing about him that was a little iffy for me was that he was a little too perfect. He showed extreme patience when it came to Cath and her extremely slow warming up to him. I mean, it was weeks after they started dating that they finally kissed. He had to go for a least a month on JUST HOLDING HANDS and most of the time not even that. I feel like there is no real life guy who would actually do that. I guess that’s why they say boys are better in books.

I also loved the idea that he enjoyed just sitting there and letting Cath read aloud to him, but again who would do this? That is literally my dream relationship to just sit and read aloud to a guy and have him fall madly in love with me, but I can say with a fair amount of confidence that this would not happen. No matter how good of a guy he is I doubt someone would actually sit and enjoy someone reading out loud for hours. If you are a guy and you would do this can I please date you? I think you may be my soul mate. Please? No? Okay… moving on.

The last part of this longer than usual review will be dedicated to Cath. I completely one hundred percent could relate to her with the whole first year of university hermit thing. That was me, only I didn’t get an extremely perfect boyfriend in the deal. I had a really difficult time adjusting to uni, just like Cath so I think that may be why I took a liking to her and felt a deeper connection with her. And also fandom obsession? STORY OF MY LIFE. This character is pretty much me. I have to say I have rarely met characters in books that I have related to so strongly. Harry Potter, Doctor Who, I mean what’s wrong with having a fictional world take over your real one? Nothing I tell you!

Well now, what was I saying? Okay, moving on now to some more *ahem* real things, I loved what Rowell did with Cath’s relationship with her mother. I’m not going to ruin anything by saying what happened, but I thought it was an extremely realistic portrayal of what would happen in that situation. The only qualm with Cath I had was that maybe she was too awkward and socially inept to a ridiculous extreme. And the…. slowness? with which she approached her relationship with Levi. I mean come on girl, it’s been more than a month. Give the guy a peck on the cheek at least. But then again I am probably ten times worse so I can’t really criticize :P

All in all I highly recommend this book for a cutesy romance, chick lit type thing, but also because it is a chick lit that has a lot of depth. It is just so much more than your average fluffy read. This book kept me up reading all night until I finished it! That is a very good thing in my opinion. ( )
  ceecee83 | Feb 28, 2015 |
A thousand points for writing about fan culture as a part of growing up. A thousand points for writing the book within the book, and then the FIC about the book within the book. I devoured the whole thing in a weekend. More, please. ( )
  bexaplex | Feb 16, 2015 |
On my book blog

Cath may be the most selfish fangirl. This whole book is all about her, her, her, her, her, her, her when it comes to fandom.

I am not a huge "fandom" person. I've never been to a midnight release for anything, I've never tried writing fanfiction, and the only fandom that I've been in that lasted longer than a few months was sports fandoms. So I may not be the best person to judge a book about fandoms and fangirls. But I do know that the most important part of sports fandom to me is the other people. Talking to other people. Crying over sports with other people. Seeing the same tweet 37 times from 37 different people because no one knows what else to say other than "ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW DID THAT JUST HAPPEN." I am not a fangirl and I may never be. But as far as I'm concerned, neither is Cath.

Cath never talks about midnight releases (except once). She never talks about being on forums with other people until 5 am. She never talks about other people, period. You know what she does talk about? How many page views her fanfiction story gets. Seriously. That's about the depth of her "fandom" that she goes into.

I know for a fact that Rainbow Rowell has a Tumblr (because I follow her) so why doesn't Cath have one? Like I said, I'm not part of a fandom. But I do know that Tumblr is FILLED with fandoms that just go crazy. When Supernatural and Game of Thrones or Sherlock or whatever is on, you can tell. There are thousands and thousands of people on Tumblr and Twitter that are joined together and talking to each other about these shows. Cath is too busy writing her fanfiction and not talking to anyone else about the actual books to worry about Tumblr though.

I should also state that I've never read Harry Potter. Simon Snow is Harry Potter. I could tell and I've never read it. I have no problem with this. I'm sure others have because they DID read HP, but to me it didn't make a difference because I haven't read what Simon Snow is based off of.

Now, onto other matters. I liked Cath. And other times I wanted to punch myself in the face because I couldn't punch her. How the hell did she get into a junior course without having any other writing experience except for her fanfiction, that she obviously didn't turn into the school? Did she just write them a letter "hey I'm a good writer, put me in this advanced class as a freshman"? She also was very uppity about who constitutes as a fangirl and who doesn't. She sees a girl wearing a sports shirt and then says "she doesn't look like a fangirl" yeah god forbid she not wear Simon Snow t shirts every single freaking day of her life. I'm not even going to get into when she refused to go to the dining hall. Over it.

At this point you're probably wondering "how did you give this four stars if you are complaining about it this much?" Well because I actually didn't hate the book. I rather liked the book. I would reread it. I just didn't like some of the things in the book and I needed to complain about them.

Now onto the things I did like! Rainbow Rowell has a way of writing relationships between characters that make me feel everything they are feeling. When Cath would talk about how worried she was about her dad, I wanted to call my dad and make sure he's alright. When Cath was worried about her sister, I wanted to call my siblings and tell them I love them. Rowell writes characters so well.

Weirdly, I think my favourite relationship in the book was between Cath and Wren and their mom. I have the same type of mom as them and one of my sisters is exactly like Wren when it comes to our mom. I am exactly like Cath. I saw a lot of me and my sister and my mom in these parts.

I don't think I can't talk about Levi. At first I didn't see them being together. I didn't think it fit. But I grew to love them together and think they are adorable. As someone that frequently reads to her boyfriend, I think it was a good part of the book, especially since Levi "isn't a reader."

Overall, this was a strong book and I can see why people like it. I can see why it has so many 5 star ratings, but I can also understand why it has lower ratings.

EDIT 10/7/14
I've been thinking of this book more and more lately and new things are bothering me more than they did when I read the book. Maybe I'm just sick of female characters being sucked into one corner and not being allowed out. I just can't stop thinking about when Cath saw another girl in the library or wherever they were and the girl started talking about Simon Snow. Cath thought she couldn't POSSIBLY be a fangirl because she was wearing a sports shirt. Seriously cut that shit out. Right now. I will throw the next book that says shit like that right out the window.

I love wearing heels. I like getting dressed up and putting make up on. I also will yell at every baseball game on tv. I watch any game I can, even if it's not my team. I (try to) wake up at 8 am to watch soccer games in England. And surprise! I'm a bookworm. If I am allowed to be a girly sports addict while also getting lost in books on a daily basis, then why the hell can't fictional girls? I hate this book more and more every time I think about that scene. ( )
  beearedee | Feb 14, 2015 |
Just…oh man. This book. I love this book so much, I can’t even begin to tell you. Rainbow Rowell has definitely become one of my favorite writers, with her ability to create these characters that you can identify and fall in love with so easily.After reading Attachments, which I reviewed here, I knew that I had to eventually own the rest of Rowell’s books.

I adore Cath, and her shy, fanfiction loving nature . She is sweet, caring, messed up just a little (aren’t we all), and completely absorbed in her writing. She was such a well written character, she almost seemed alive. I loved that she wrote fanfiction, and was this big writer in that world, though she is shy by nature. Being a big fan of fanfiction, I loved this aspect of the book. I love how much of a fangirl she is of the Simon Snow series (which is a clear parody of Harry Potter). It reminded me of the times I stood in line with my friends at midnight waiting for the next book or movie to release. Those were amazing times.

Then there was Levi, who I wish was real so that I could date him. ::I really do though:: He was so sweet and concerned about Cath when she went out, and was always there for her if she needed a ride home to rescue her dad, or save her sister. There were times that you wanted to smack him upside the head and ask him just what the heck he was doing? Was he trying to ruin his chances with Cath? but those were few and far between. I will say that Cath’s twin sister, Wren, upset me for most of the book in her selfishness to not want to be roommates, to not want to really ever hang out with her, and many other things;even though that made me sad, I understood where it was coming from, and interesting to see how that relationship would play out. Cath’s dad I just love, and feel sorry for all at the same time. After his wife up and leaves the family when the girls are in third grade, the girls struggle through life together with their slightly fragile father, who sometimes breaks down. The other characters in the book were some of my favorites as well, namely Reagan. Boy, was she a hoot! Sarcastic, slightly mean, but still caring, she was the perfect roommate to bring Cath out of her shell.

I thought it was interesting that Rowell included paragraph’s from Cath’s fanfiction, letting the reader get into her head a little bit through them. It was an aspect I found interesting, after I realized what they actually were. They threw me for a loop the first time I came across one at the end of the first chapter.

There’s not really anything negative I can say about this book. I throughly enjoyed the book and would recommended it to any person out there who is a fangirl or boy, who loves fanfiction, or who just loves to read a well written book full of characters that you can fall in love with. ( )
  kelsey.hintzman | Feb 10, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rainbow Rowellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caulfield, MaxwellReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorovoy, AnnaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grlic, OlgaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lowman, RebeccaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, NoelleCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jennifer, who always had an extra lightsaber
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The Simon Snow Series
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"Months are different in college," Levi said, "especially freshman year. Too much happens. Every freshman month equals six regular months - they're like dog months."
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Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father.

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