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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
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Fangirl

by Rainbow Rowell

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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 |
Read my full review here.

I love Rowell’s writing style. The novel is witty, clever, deeply emotional, and so incredibly real. Every nerdy joke and pop-culture reference had me smiling or laughing. There are so many references in Fangirl and they aren’t thrown out arbitrarily at all.

Cath is amazing. I adore her. Is she perfect? No. Is she incredibly relatable? Duh. (See what I did there?) Her struggles are something a lot of people go through, especially once they hit college. No one prepares us to handle the pressures of school after high school. And they certainly don’t talk enough about mental health. Depression is not uncommon for students. People probably know someone who has a mental disorder. But it’s still somehow a taboo topic in society. Well, thank you, Rowell, for unapologetically facing these issues head on and reminding us that there’s hope.

Cath is shy and nerdy and it’s so easy to see parts of myself in her. Right from the beginning, I was rooting for her. I hurt when she hurt. I was angry when she was angry (or angry when she was too hurt to be angry). I sensed that Nick would betray her and like Wren, Levi, and Reagan, I was ready to figuratively tie him to the rail-road tracks too. When things went well for her, I was silently cheering.

Cath and Levi are actually one of the most adorable fictive couples. I was worried for a bit there (insecurities can be roadblocks), but their relationship is so real that I adored everything about them. They are both so quirky and just…perfect for one another. They support each other and love every little thing about on another.

I detected a feminist undertone in the book, and for that I am glad. Cath - and the other characters - was one way to show that we shouldn’t feel shamed about the pace we want to go, ever. All women and men should be respected.

Another aspect of the book I love is the meta-fictive motif. Cath is a bibliophile and a writer. The fact that reading helps bring her and Levi together is beautiful. Her writer’s block when trying to write original work is also relatable. I’ve been there myself for, go figure, a short story writing class. It’s not easy to come up with a new story sometimes. In fact, it can be so daunting that you have to force yourself to sit down and just write.

Fangirl is an amazing novel. I am so glad I read it, and I’ll definitely re-read it many times. ( )
  CaitlinAC | Aug 10, 2014 |
"Just … isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”


Actual Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Cather Avery is a very shy person, very different from her twin sister Wren. Since birth, they do all things together. They were a package deal, get this one and you'll get the other one. But when they started college, Wren decided she wanted to face it by herself and that she didn't want Cath to be her roommate. Cath is not very enthusiastic about it, though. Between the two of them, she's the socially-awkward one. How was she going to face college life alone?

I actually laughed out loud in the part where Cath pretended not to notice someone who is desperately trying to get her attention. LOL. Is really being a fangirl going to make a person that socially inept?

I actually liked Reagan. She's the kind of person that doesn't let you in inside her life until she trusts you enough. She's kind of guarded. But when she does, let you in her life I mean, she's really a good friend.

I loved Levi! But not the part where he kissed another girl just because Cath is not at that party and he's kind of hurt because she's not talking to him. Seriously? That's his reason?. That's just unacceptable. But he redeemed himself quite enough, I think. I'm just reading this book and I'm also being affected when he smiled. He's really a huge nerd inside.

I feel conflicted about Wren. She's not a perfect character, far from it. She does these things that makes me want to hate her. Like ridiculing Cath's love for Simon Snow as if she wasn't a fan of it too. But, at the same time, she's also a good sister. I don't know where to stand at the issue about their mother.

Some ends were not closed like did Cath finished her fanfic story? What happened with their mom? Will they forgive her?

I liked this book but not REALLY liked it. Some parts really bore me and this book is really slow-paced. I actually scanned the parts about Simon Snow. Not that interesting for me lol. It's still worth reading though. :) ( )
  margaraawr | Aug 8, 2014 |
Rating: 3,5/5 It was ok, I guess

What it’s about: Cather and Wren are twins that are complete opposites. Cather is an extroverted partygirl and Wren is an introverted bookworm and hobby fanfiction author. When they both go to college, they deal with the experience very differently.

Writing 5/5
That’s some kickass writing. Clear and solid, to the point just like I love it. Nothing else to say. Homegirl is a great author.

Characters 2/5
Add an eye-roll here. I never understood the need to write romance novels about extremely boring, super-introverted characters that in real life wouldn’t make a move on anyone. No. Cather is one of the most boring characters I have ever read about. I don’t understand what Whats-his-face sees in her, because she made me almost fall asleep. I guess it’s personal preference. At least Rainbow Rowell is able to make me feel this way! Loved Reagan, loved Wren and was indifferent about Eli. At least her characters show some diversity! But boring protagonists without a drive/goal in the novel just … why would I want to read about the everyday adventures of some random girl at college? Already have that in my life, I don’t need a novel about it. The certain spark that makes me want to get to know the character is just missing. I’d rather have read about Wren or Reagan.

Plot 0/5
Nope. Loose ends everywhere, random people making short appearances that have no impact on the entirety of the novel and important characters just having cameos. I’d love to have seen more of Wren’s boyfriend or the girl’s Dad. Instead I get a halfassed squeezed in story with a stupid douchebag aka Nick that is oh so rude to Cather to force the readers to like Eli. Also Love-Triangle. Don’t you think I didn’t see that you were implying it, Rainbow.

Overall: Do I recommend?
Yeah, I guess. Just because I know that the idea probably intrigues a lot of people. But I just couldn’t handle the novel. These unnecessary passages about Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy Simon Snow and Whatshisface just made me wish I could fast forward because they had no impact on the novel. Also a horrible loose ending that just made me think - wow, somebody just wanted to get this thing over with.

More book-related stuff on My Blog. www.bookavid.tumblr.com ( )
  bookavid | Aug 8, 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
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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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