August 15

Book Review – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

August 15, 2015

From Goodreads:
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’ve been wanting to check Rainbow Rowell out for a while now, and when I saw that the audio version of this book was available at the library, I snatched it up for a recent road trip.

Pros:

  • I enjoyed the narrator. She did a great job with the voices, and she kept me drawn into the story the entire time.
  • I loved the romance that developed in the book, and I like that it wasn’t love-at-first-sight. Initially you question who will fall in love and when, and the slow burn really helped build the anticipation of what happens. The romance also has a very sweet element that draws you in as well.
  • Rowell did an excellent job of portraying the relationship between Cath and her sister Wren. I appreciated that she showed how their relationship evolved (through some ups and downs) as they made the transition to college. It is such a time of growing and finding your independence, and I think Rowell depicted the different ways it can look through the eyes of the two sisters.
  • The novel includes a wide range of very well-developed characters. I wish there was a follow-up to this book because I would love to see what happens with Cath, Wren, and Reagan.

Cons:

  • I often struggled with the switching back and forth between present time, Cath’s fan fiction, and quotes from the Simon Snow books. I think this may have been a book that was better read than listened to, because I’m sure there were visual elements that made these different facets stand out.

Have you read Fangirl or any other novels by Rainbow Rowell? How does Fangirl compare to her other novels?

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Posted August 15, 2015 by Lisa @ Reading, Writing, and Random Musings in category "book review

9 COMMENTS :

  1. By Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction on

    I loved Cath’s story, but I had a little bit of a hard time with the switching back and forth between the fan fiction and the regular story too (not that I didn’t realize when it was switching – that wasn’t a problem with reading the book).

    Reply
  2. By Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight on

    Ah, I admit, I still haven’t read Fangirl, OR any other of Rainbow’s books :( I read a short story that I LOVED in My True Love Gave to Me, and then swore I’d read one of her full books ASAP but then… time. I do plan on getting to it- this one is absolutely first on my list- when I have some time to catch up. Great review!

    Reply
  3. By Bregje on

    I haven’t yet read a Rainbow Rowel novel, but I’ve hear only good things! I really want to pick up Eleanor & Park but somehow I don’t see myself checking out Fangirl anytime soon. Eventhough I do sometimes read fanfiction myselfe I’m not really sure if I would like it as much when it is part of a normal book…

    Reply
  4. By Kaja on

    I wonder what this audiobook would sound like… I just finished reading Fangirl last night (my review’s up tomorrow) and I really liked it! And I think that you’re right – switching to the Simon Snow bits and Cath’s fan fic wasn’t a problem at all, they’re always at the end of the chapter and on a separate page + the font is smaller.

    I read Eleanor & Park and I REALLY liked that one, too! :) I love how Rowell writes her characters.

    Reply
    1. By Lisa @ Reading, Writing, and Random Musings (Post author) on

      Thanks, Kaja, for letting me know that the physical book is easier to follow than the audio. I might have to go back and read this one, because I did really enjoy the story despite that. Eleanor and Park is next on my list! I actually planned to read that one first, but when your audio comes in at the library, you have to snatch it :). Thanks for visiting!

      Reply

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