Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: St. Martin's Press via Tumblr


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? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

My Review

I am Cath. Cath is me. There is no other way to put it. And I'm sure that so many other people can identify the same way. It is like Rainbow Rowell got inside the minds of anyone who has ever had even the slightest obsession with a book, movie, or TV show and wrote it down in her wonderful new novel, Fangirl.

(Beware there are some spoilers after this point)

It would be so easy to try and compare Fangirl to Rowell's New York Times Best-Seller, Eleanor & Park, but it is just so different. However, while the content of Fangirl is so different, Rowell's beautiful style and language is still there. It is the mark of a great author when they can write two completely different stories and yet still have both be just as captivating.

What strikes me the most about Fangirl is that there are no flat characters in the story. Each characeter has their own character development arc and you can see how they change as the novel progresses. And just like in real life, each characters growth and development impacts other characters. Their is no superfluity in terms of characters or how they develop in relation to one another.

In contrast to many young adult books recently, the romance between Cath and Levi does not feel at all forced. There is no "insta-love" as it is so fondly called within the community. They do not immediately fall in love or even "in like" the minute they lay eyes on one another. Cath is her own person and she needs to grow in her own right before she can be with Levi. It is so important to show your girls that they do not need a guy in their life to feel fulfilled. Cath has her writing and her love of Simon Snow, that was there long before Levi. One of the most beautiful things is that Cath doesn't change who she is for Levi, and he accepts her in all of her fangirl glory.

Overall, I think Fangirl had such an impact on me because I can relate so well to Cath and to her life. As college student, I can remember what that first year was like and how difficult it can be to adjust. I was lucky to make such good friends, but at the same time, if I hadn't I would have fallen back on the familiar fan community that I grew up with. The best book is the one you read and realize you are not the first person in the world to experience the feelings you feel and thought you think. Being a called a fangirl used to have such a negative connotation, but with Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell reminds all of us that loving something, whether it be a book, a movie, TV show, video game, or comic book, with such a driving passion is a beautiful thing and should never be put to shame.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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