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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


by Rainbow Rowell

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Cath and her twin sister Wren have always been close, and they’ve especially bonded over their love of Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-esque series of books with a huge fan base. Cath is even writing a slash fanfiction novel about Simon and Baz (think Malfoy from the HP books), with some help from Wren. But now that they’re starting their freshman year of college, Wren wants to branch out and meet new people — which means she doesn’t want to be Cath’s roommate. Which means Cath is all alone in a strange place, with a painful amount of anxiety and no idea where the dining hall is. Cath’s only solace is hiding out in her dorm room and writing fanfiction, but slowly she begins to make friends and come out of her shell. She even meets a boy and experiences the shock of falling in love for the first time. But can Cath embrace these new experiences and emotions without losing the person she’s always been?

I’ve absolutely loved both of Rainbow Rowell’s previous novels, Attachments and Eleanor & Park, so I had high expectations for this book; happily, I wasn’t disappointed! Cath is a character I can really relate to, as I think most readers and book bloggers can. She knows what it’s like to get lost in a fictional world and really engage with the characters in a book. I also really liked the way fanfiction is portrayed from various perspectives. There’s Cath, who uses it as an outlet for creative expression; her roommate and friends, who think it’s weird; her creative writing professor, who views it as plagiarism; and a devoted fan of Cath’s work who eagerly awaits each new installment of her fanficiton. The romance is very well done, as always, and I loved watching Cath slowly let down her defenses. I wasn’t nuts about all the excerpts from the Simon Snow books and Cath’s story, but other than that, I really enjoyed this book!
  christina_reads | Sep 2, 2014 |
I read this monster in less than 12 hours. That should say something.

As I was a fic-reading, naive freshman once, I really identified with Cath. ( )
  owlbeyourfriend | Sep 2, 2014 |
I could not put this book down! I loved every painful, hysterical, endearing second of it and it made me love Rainbow Rowell even more! I thought Eleanor and Park was good but this is EVEN better. It rang soo true and I love how real it felt. The characters in this story are so believable that it's sad when you realize that they are fictional. This story follows identical twins, Cath and Wren, has they embark on their first year of college. Wren is outgoing and quickly turns into a party girl but quiet, reserved Cath has a hard time even leaving the room. It's safer when she's working on the latest installment of her fanfiction. Cath is an amazing writer and she loves to lose herself to the world of Simon Snow. It's hard for her to adjust to a big state college with lots of people, hard assignments, and a new social order. When Cath's roommate Reagan and her friend, Levi, take her under their wings she starts to wonder if there is maybe more to life than her fanfiction. It's a story of friendship, first love, growing up, and obviously fanfiction. It's funny, believable, and oh so good. What are you waiting for?!? Read this book! ( )
  ecataldi | Aug 27, 2014 |
I ran into "Fangirl" while on a trip to visit Magdalena in Oxford and I almost didn't buy it. Mostly because I have a tendency to buy books and then end up reading fanfic instead. I love all kind of stories, but like Cather, I am entranced by a world you can revisit in different forms and with different writers at the steering wheel. A world that is already so REAL that reality pales in comparison. "Fangirl" is a story about a fangirl in real life, not in fandom, so it focuses on Cather's life in her new dorm, her roomate and her boyfriend, as well as her shifting relationship with her father and twin sister. Cather is being pushed to
expand her universe to cover RL interactions besides virtual ones, which is all well and good, except that the virtual relationships that have (beside her family and a pseudoboyfriend from her hometown) sustained her for years, seem to be of little value to her (not a single name is given). For all she is a BNF, Cather doesn't have online friends, she has fictional ones: Simon and Baz. So if you are looking for something along the lines of 5U175 or Merlin/Pendragon then this isn't it. While I was admittedly more taken with the fragments of Simon Snow fic and books, I did enjoy Cather's story, particularly her understanding of writing.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS SPOILERY in a super analytical way:

Something else "Fangirl" has a lot of are disability issues. It seems to run in Cather´s family, her anxiety is disabling, while her father´s not "just a little manic" but can end up in hospital if he overdoes it.

Cather first decides that Levi isn´t worth her time because he claims not to be a "book person", which I have done in the past, but it turns out Levi has trouble reading books on his own (while he is great with audiobooks or other people reading to him). It is actually Levi´s need that brings them together, so while he´s been trying to play gentleman or knight in shining armour (walking her when it´s dark, driving her places, etc) it is her that rescues him in a time of dire need.

Like reading issue, the psychological problems are never truly fixed, the characters simply find ways to cope with them. ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
It's very difficult to write true characters - true to life, true to themselves; but Rainbow Rowell does it. Every time. She clearly studies people all the time and listens to how and what they talk about, and then puts that education to good use in her fiction.

Here she has a host of character who jumped off the page and walked around my loft in front of me - the troubled, single father, overly indulgent with his twi girls because their mother abandoned the family; the twin girls who are close but both very different personalities - one extroverted but needier than she realizes and one introverted and closed off but more resilient and stronger than she realizes; and lots of smaller characters who are just as perfectly drawn.

The thing that didn't work for me was the Fan Fiction. I admit that I'm a Harry Potter fan and I even attended a couple of the late night parties in order to get my hands on the newest book a few hours earlier. However, I'm not enough of a fan to read fan fiction. The author's take on the book is sufficient for me, I don't need nor want more. I read the fan fiction in this book for about 60 pages and then quit. I didn't care about it and wasn't going to waste the time. it wasn't central to the story and added nothing for me. I understood the concept and that was sufficient. Besides, vampires leave me cold (no pun intended). i think I'd have given this book a higher rating if there were only the portions of fan fiction on the chapter headings. For me, that was enough to tell me what Cath and Wren were doing and I needed no more. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Aug 16, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

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
"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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