Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: New Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Publication Date: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Cath Avery is about to start her freshman year of college and her identical twin, Wren, has announced that she doesn’t want to dorm with her. Cath is miserable. She doesn’t want to leave their dad, doesn’t want to meet new people, or find out where the dinning hall is. Her only consolation is writing Simon Snow fanfiction.
I had been wanting to read Fangirl for a while—not only does it have a lot of hype, but I loved Eleanor & Park also by Rowell—and I’m so glad I got around to it. In two words it’s ‘adorably relatable.’ Rowell is such a master at creating characters and weaving a story that is full of emotion and evokes empathy. I just can’t gush enough about Fangirl, I think everyone should give it a read.
Cath was perfect. Like absolutely perfect. She’s literally a Simon Snow fanfiction superstar. As someone who guilty pleasure reads fanfiction I thought it was so cool to have a protagonist who wrote it. I mean she’s so deep into the Simon Snow fandom. And I mean she’s a writer, I’m a writer. I related with her so much as she struggled through her advance writing class and finding inspiration.
She also has has such social anxiety. It’s so palpable throughout the book. Cath literally eats protein bars and peanut butter as meals for weeks because she’s too nervous to go and find the dinning hall and have this new experience. I feel like I went through my freshman year of college very similar to her. Cath has become one of the characters I relate most to for this reason, and I’ve heard a lot of other people say the same thing.
Back to the Simon Snow thing. It’s a book series—with the eighth and final book about to come out—that’s very similar to our Harry Potter. Excerpts from the books as well as Cath’s fanfiction are placed between chapters. I really loved it and found myself super invested in Cath’s version of the story where she ships the protagonist Simon and his nemesis Baz. Solely because of Fangirl, Carry On is next on my tbr.
Cath’s twin Wren actually used to write fanfiction with her but has recently stopped. I was so annoyed with her. I mean she ditches her sister with this dorm thing, she’s not sympathetic about Cath’s or her father’s anxiety, and she ends up acting like this typical freshmen college girl who parties too much.
That being said, I’m so glad that Cath ended up with Reagan. She’s no nonsense, blunt, and rational in a way that Cath definitely needs.
Romance wise, you’re kind of left guessing for a while. There’s Levi who is introduced as Reagan’s boyfriend. He’s sweet and kind of goofy. And then there’s Nick who’s from her creative writing class. That’s about as far I’m going to go in order to avoid spoilers.
Just a last thing I want to slip in here character wise is Cath’s parents. I really liked that they both play a significant role—both physically and psychologically. Rowell really rounds out the story by including her parents. I feel like parents can be so overlooked in young and new adult genres.
The only fault I found with the book is the ending. It just happened so soon and so abrupt. Like I didn’t realize the ending was the ending until I was flipping through the acknowledgments. I needed at least another ten to twenty pages.