Book Review: Fangirl


fgFangirl, Rainbow Rowell (2013)

Goodreads rating 4.22

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose.

It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate 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.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .

There’s not a lot I can say about Fangirl that hasn’t already been said.  I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell’s other novels, and this new book didn’t disappoint.

The appeal of this book was helped by the socially awkward main character who was immersed in the internet fandom of the Harry Potter-esque Simon Snow and with whom many of the target audience (I’m going to go with 16 -25 year old girls; a category I fit into myself) could identify.  And  it was nice to read about someone like that; a girl who prefers to stay in in the evenings and spend her time on the computer rather than put herself in foreign social situations.  Many readers felt that the Rowell had spied on them in their own dorm rooms, and while I didn’t attend college in the US, there were several Cath situations that seemed oddly familiar to me.

I enjoyed the balance of home and school storylines, and adored the quirky characters in what I’m beginning to learn is typical Rowell fashion.  I especially liked Cath’s roomate, Reagan, in all of her awesome and snarky glory, and then, of course, you have Levi.  He’s not my favourite Rowell love interest (that honour goes to Lincoln of Attachments) but he was great nonetheless.  It was his patience with Cath that I found most endearing, though I have to admit, the romance kind of came out of nowhere for me.  The whole way through I was thinking she fancied World War 2 Era Soviet looking writing buddy, and then – BAM! – all of a sudden she’s kissing Levi?!

Unlike a lot of readers, I didn’t like the passages of Simon Snow and Cath’s Carry On, Simon that was dispersed throughout the book.  I found myself skim reading and wondering how long this particular passage would be.  It was a nice touch, but not one that I found enhanced my own reading experience.  And the ending came too abruptly for me – but I liked it, and I can’t wait for Rowell’s next novel.


fourstarsWhat did you think of Fangirl?  Where does it rate for you compared to Rowell’s other work?


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