Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Source: received from publisher via Netgalley
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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?
I think Lauren said everything I wanted to say in her letter to the author, but I'm going to reiterate why I think this book was so awesomely adorable and why you should totally read it.
Fangirl is a novel with heart. It's so clever and humorous and brilliantly written. This book is easy to relate to, even if you weren't the shy, nerdy fangirl that Cath was. Going off to college is a daunting experience, and I think Rainbow Rowell captured the nuances of that experience marvelously: the separation anxiety, the homesickness, the trials of living with a complete stranger.
“It’s just … everything. There are too many people. And I don’t fit in. I don’t know how to be. Nothing that I’m good at is the sort of thing that matters there. Being smart doesn’t matter—and being good with words. And when those things do matter, it’s only because people want something from me. Not because they want me.”And the portrait she painted of Cath! That girl had some serious issues to work through, but being a fellow introvert, I could really relate and empathize with this character. Her mother abandoned her family when she was just a young girl, and now her twin sister is essentially doing the same, just when Cath needs her most. It's almost too much for Cath to bear, but she soldiers on, makes friends with her roommate, develops a crush or two, AND she manages to come out of her shell a bit...after some hiccups and bumps along the road.
“No,' Cath said, 'seriously. Look at you. You’ve got your shit together, you’re not scared of anything. I’m scared of everything. And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster.”I loved the importance of family in this novel. Just because you move away from home to start your own life, doesn't mean your family is less important or that they're not still there when you need them. So many young and new adult novels completely gloss over this aspect, but for someone whose family has always meant the world to them, I really appreciated the inclusion of family drama in this story. And I appreciated the fact that the issues didn't simply resolve themselves, that the author took the time to delve into these matters and portray them realistically.
The romance in this book is sooooo freaking cute and sweet and adorable. It almost makes your teeth hurt! I loved the guy when he was initially just a friend, but I loved him even more as their relationship became something more. I loved their adorable flirting and how patient he is with her, knowing this is all so new to Cath. I just love him! And that he loves her fan fiction....gawd, there's nothing sexier to me than a guy who takes an interest in your interests.
“You look so blindingly cute right now, I feel like I need to make a pinhole in a piece of paper just to look at you.”What I liked best about this novel, though, was that even though Cath grew as a person, grew into herself, she didn't become someone else entirely. At the end of the book, she is still just Cath, nerdy fangirl extraordinaire. I loved these characters, I loved their relationships...I just loved this story! I've never read or ever considered writing my own fan faction, but after some of the questions left lingering at the end of this book -- Do they make it work? Does she kill off Baz? -- I might just have to. =)
About the author:
Rainbow Rowell is the author of ATTACHMENTS. She has two novels coming out in 2013 -- ELEANOR & PARK in February and FANGIRL in the fall.
Rainbow lives with her husband and two sons in Omaha, Nebraska. Right at this moment, she is probably arguing with someone about something that doesn't really matter in the big scheme of things -- or trying to figure out how Sherlock faked his death.
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