September 8, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. 

Description: In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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?

My Review: In my recent review of Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls, I discussed my personal history with fandoms, starting with 'N Sync (words cannot describe how excited I was when they briefly reunited at the VMAs!). Well, I am proud to say that I am definitely a Rainbow Rowell fangirl! I've read all of her published books so far and plan to read everything else she writes.

It was fun to read excerpts from the Simon Snow stories and Cath's fanfiction. It helped me imagine the books as having a following on the level of Harry Potter.

One thing I really love about Rowell's book is the characters. They are flawed and realistic, but you can't help identifying with them and rooting for them. I really identified with Cath's introvertedness and awkwardness. (I probably would have avoided the dining hall, too, if it weren't for the fact that I roomed with a high school friend so I had a built-in security blanket.) I also love how the characters grow in her stories. Cath had to find her own way in college and also deal with her family issues, neither of which came easy to her.

The following paragraph is slightly spoilerish, so you may want to skip it!
Another thing Rowell is great at is making me develop crushes on the boys in her books. (In my notes for this review, I have a line that just says "LEVI!!!") There is no insta-love in her books. It's more of a slow burn romance, which is the best kind. The scene where Cath is reading to Levi...swoon! And that first kiss scene. WOW. That's all I can say about that.

Can we get more well-written books set during the college years, please? I'd love to read them! And can we get another Rainbow Rowell novel ASAP? I think I've gushed long enough...time to close by saying that you should definitely purchase a copy of this book or request that your local library purchase it. It was the top pick for the September 2013 Library Reads list!


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