Monday, November 25, 2013

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

From Goodreads: 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?

My Rating: 4 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: After seeing so many positive reviews for Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park and then Fangirl, I figured I should probably give one of her books a try. Since Fangirl is Rowell’s latest novel, I thought I’d start with that.

As someone who has never even been remotely interested in fanfiction, I wondered if I’d be able to relate to Cath. Fortunately, I found that I could. While I’ve never been so socially anxious that I’d resort to hiding in my room and surviving on granola bars for over a month to avoid going to the cafeteria alone, I can understand why Cath would do that because I, myself, tend to feel uncomfortable at large gatherings. Also, though I’ve never written fanfiction, I know what it’s like to be part of an online community and the friendships and drama that can come as a result of that. 

It wasn’t just Cath who was a realistic character; all the secondary characters were as well. Of those, I think Levi deserves a special mention. As the love interest, Rowell could have easily made him a physically handsome guy, but she doesn’t. Instead, Levi is described as too tall and skinny with a receding hairline. I thought that was awesome because YA novels tend to delude you into thinking that you can find guys who look like models on every corner.

Another strength of Fangirl was its focus on different relationships. The book gives equal page time to familial relationships, friendships and school relationships. My favourite of these would probably be Cath’s relationships with her father and her roommate Reagan whereas my least favourite was that of her relationship with her twin Wren, who I disliked.

Besides not liking Wren, I also didn’t enjoy the random excerpts from the Simon Snow series and Cath’s fanfiction at the beginning of each chapter. I thought they were kind of all over the place and not really necessary to the plot.

Fangirl was released in September 2013 by St. Martin’s Press. 

Comments About the Cover: I like its simplicity. It does a great job of showing off the characters of Cath and Levi.


  1. I have to read this book! It's been recommended to me by several people but I haven't had a chance to fit it in my schedule just yet. I'm also glad that she kept Levi as a normal looking guy too. Your comment of finding model guys in YA is so spot on. :) Glad you enjoyed and made time for this one despite your busy schedule, Z!

  2. YES. I absolutely loved that fact that Levi wasn't conventionally good-looking. It didn't have any impact on how likeable he was (and it shouldn't!) which only makes me wish other authors would take risks like that. I also related to Cath really well. It was scarily like reading about myself. Great review, Z! I'm glad you enjoyed this overall.

  3. I heart that cover too. <3 I also like that Rowell didn't make Levi handsome but dang, he is just as swoon-sworthy! I think my favorite relationship, aside from that of Levi and Cath, is Cath's relationship with his father. They are just so cute as father and daughter and all their interactions are always both sad and hilarious. So glad you liked this, Z!

  4. hm, everyone seems to love these books. I keep hearing how great the characters are, but not much about the actual plot (which is what I'm really the fence about, being contemporary and all). Yours is the first review that I've heard any real criticisms about the book, which is nice to hear for balance. Thanks!

  5. Wooo, how amazing were these characters?? And the relationships, too. I also really loved that Levi wasn't described as a Greek God or some such ridiculous thing like in a lot of YA novels. And that Cath wasn't instantly attracted to him. I hope I love the characters in Eleanor & Park just as much!

  6. This is one of those books that I've heard so much about - and only good things! I definitely need to pick this one up sometime soon!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  7. I adored Fangirl when I read it, especially Levi, but I also agree with your criticism. The fanfic excerpts were very annoying and distracting at the start, although they did grow on me by the end. Although the ambiguity at the end is SO frustrating, it kills me. I need to read Eleanor & Park at some point.

  8. I LOVED this book so so much
    Cath an Levi relashionship was so cute and I like the fact that it was a slow building romance
    and I love Rainbow Rowell writing style (except for her abrupt endings)
    I also read Attachments and Landline by her but this one is still my favorite

  9. I havent read this book but I need to read this! This sounds so awesome. Now waiting for Amazon to deliver my book. Thankyou for the review! 😊


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