Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
St. Martin’s Press, 433 Pages
Source: ARC via BEA 2013
Age Group: Young Adult
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
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?
You know that awkward moment when all your friends (and the rest of the world it seems like) love something and you’re just like – oh, yeah..not really my thing. I feel like this happens to me A LOT with books. The people whose opinions and tastes I respect the most LOVE something – and it makes me sad when I don’t like it. And here’s yet another example – though this one does have a twist – and that is that I can appreciate it and I understand why people love it; it just wasn’t my type of book.
First things first – Rainbow Rowell is a wonderful writer. I adore her writing style but unfortunately the actual content of her books just don’t jive with me (so far!). It happened with Eleanor & Park and now again with Fangirl. While my issues with Eleanor & Park were mostly character-based (please don’t get me started on Eleanor), the main problem I had with Fangirl was that I felt like absolutely nothing happened. There was no plot. Yes, I know that not all books are plot based but there are many character-driven books that I love – Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – tons of contemporary YA novels aren’t plot-driven – but I felt like things actually happened in them. And, yes, I realize that things happened in this book but I mean that I don’t feel like anything happened in a substantial way – Cath’s moment of realization never really hit me. I found her boring and plain – I would have much rather read about her twin sister, Wren’s college experience. She was a vibrant character – she had spunk. So did Cath’s roommate. So did Levi. Everyone in this book was interesting except Cath.
I will say that I found Cath’s Simon Snow fanfiction to be best part of this book. I would 100% love to read those works of fanfiction. And that’s how I 100% know that I do love Rainbow Rowell’s writing; it’s just that this character and this time in her life didn’t work for me. College isn’t as bland as it seemed in Cath’s world and I couldn’t help but think to myself “That was so not my college experience.”.
I know that there will be a Rainbow Rowell book out there for me one day – (maybe it’s Attachments – tons of people have told me try this one) – but I just haven’t found it yet.