Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
Release Date: September 10th 2013
Page Count: 445
“There should be a word for a laugh that ends as soon as it starts. A laugh that’s more a syllable of surprise and acknowledgment than it is anything else.”
Fangirl. Probably the most hyped up and talked about book by Rainbow Rowell. It seemed as though everyone had already read Fangirl multiple times by the time I got to it. The funny thing is that I purchased it quite a while ago and I just kept putting it off. I’m not quite sure why. Possibly because it was so over hyped that I was worried it wouldn’t meet my expectations.
Fangirl isn’t my first read by Rainbow Rowell. Eleanor and Park takes that title. I did really enjoy Eleanor and Park, although it wasn’t the most amazing thing I had ever read. I think that may be why I have never been in a hurry to read Rainbow Rowell’s entire collection of novels back to back and as quickly as possible. I feel like the odd-man out because I don’t have the same connection that so many others do to her stories. Readers loved Eleanor and Park and I was mostly indifferent. Although I did relate to Fangirl more, especially with the character of Cath, it still wasn’t the most amazing thing I have ever read and I feel as though I may be one of the only people that feels this way.
“His smile widened, so she could just see his teeth. It was strange to look at him like this. Up close. Like she was allowed to.”
Fangirl is a contemporary young adult novel that tells the story of Cath and her newly changing life. Cath and her twin sister Wren are about to start their first year of college. Although they may be twins, they couldn’t not be any more different from one another. Cath is an introvert and Wren is an extrovert. Cath is nervous and worried about starting her new life in college and Wren is excited for her new start. The one thing they do have in common is their love for the popular fiction series Simon Snow. They both used to write fan fiction about the series, but recently Wren has moved on while Cath continues with her obsession.
I found this story really relatable as Cath and Wren reminded me a lot of my younger sister and I. I’m definitely the introverted one and although I don’t write fan fiction, here I am sitting in my room writing yet another book review. My sister is the social butterfly and the one who is constantly out with her friends. Although we both seem completely different, we have more similarities than most people think, sort of like Cath and Wren. It was because of this that I found Fangirl to be quite relatable for myself personally.
“‘Nothing. Just…It’s crazy that this works. Between you and me. That we can actually write together. It’s like…thinking together.’ ‘It’s nice,’ Cath said, meaning it. ‘Writing is lonely.’”
You know, I think one of the main reasons that I waited so long to read this was because for some reason I thought it was going to be just another cliche contemporary young adult romance and I hadn’t really been feeling like reading that genre lately. Rainbow Rowell’s latest novel, Carry On, was recently released and it was getting so many great reviews which made me really wanted to check it out, but upon further research, I discovered that it was a spin off of Fangirl. In fact, it was the piece of fan fiction that Cath works so hard on throughout the entire story of Fangirl. This little tidbit really pushed me to finally dive in to Fangirl.
Let me tell you, I was completely wrong about it being a cliche young adult romance. Of course it had those elements within the story, but it was definitely not the main focus. What I took from Fangirl, was that it was more of a story about growing up, overcoming your fears, dealing with mental illnesses and really finding who you are as a person. There were plenty of life lessons throughout this story and it dealt with a lot of everyday common issues that young people, who are beginning to grow and find themselves, go through on a daily basis.
“She’d always thought that either people could read or they couldn’t. Not this in-between thing that Levi had, where his brain could catch the words but couldn’t hold on to them. Like reading was one of those rip-off claw games they had at the bowling alley.”
Initially, I loved the relationship between Cath and Levi. I thought it was adorable and really well paced until the end of the novel. That’s when things started to feel like they were being dragged out and began to feel repetitive. I loved the conversations between Cath and Levi and their cute moments of bonding, but something felt off at the end. The ending of this story in general felt a little underwhelming. It kind of just reached the end and that was it. We never really find out if Carry On was well received by Cath’s many online fans or what happens to the story that Nick and Cath co-wrote. Honestly I think that whole side story between Nick and Cath was pretty irrelevant. Sure Cath finally stands up for herself, but it just felt a little random and out of place.
I really did enjoy Fangirl, I think it was just the ending that threw me off a little. It almost felt unfinished. I did love how the story surprised me though, that it wasn’t just your typical young adult contemporary novel. I loved that it dealt with issues that a lot of people have to deal with in their everyday lives. I’m glad I was finally able to cross this off of my ridiculous TBR and I can’t wait to read Carry On!