Author: Rainbow Rowell
Started: August 7, 2014
Finished: August 11, 2014
Own or borrow?: Borrowed from library
Synopsis: In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, 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? Open her heart to someone? Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?
Cath may be the most selfish fangirl. This whole book is all about her, her, her, her, her, her, her when it comes to fandom.
I am not a huge “fandom” person. I’ve never been to a midnight release for anything, I’ve never tried writing fanfiction, and the only fandom that I’ve been in that lasted longer than a few months was sports fandoms. So I may not be the best person to judge a book about fandoms and fangirls. But I do know that the most important part of sports fandom to me is the other people. Talking to other people. Crying over sports with other people. Seeing the same tweet 37 times from 37 different people because no one knows what else to say other than “ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW DID THAT JUST HAPPEN.” I am not a fangirl and I may never be. But as far as I’m concerned, neither is Cath.
Cath never talks about midnight releases (except once). She never talks about being on forums with other people until 5 am. She never talks about other people, period. You know what she does talk about? How many page views her fanfiction story gets. Seriously. That’s about the depth of her “fandom” that she goes into.
I know for a fact that Rainbow Rowell has a Tumblr (because I follow her) so why doesn’t Cath have one? Like I said, I’m not part of a fandom. But I do know that Tumblr is FILLED with fandoms that just go crazy. When Supernatural and Game of Thrones or Sherlock or whatever is on, you can tell. There are thousands and thousands of people on Tumblr and Twitter that are joined together and talking to each other about these shows. Cath is too busy writing her fanfiction and not talking to anyone else about the actual books to worry about Tumblr though.
I should also state that I’ve never read Harry Potter. Simon Snow is Harry Potter. I could tell and I’ve never read it. I have no problem with this. I’m sure others have because they DID read HP, but to me it didn’t make a difference because I haven’t read what Simon Snow is based off of.
Now, onto other matters. I liked Cath. And other times I wanted to punch myself in the face because I couldn’t punch her. How the hell did she get into a junior course without having any other writing experience except for her fanfiction, that she obviously didn’t turn into the school? Did she just write them a letter “hey I’m a good writer, put me in this advanced class as a freshman”? She also was very uppity about who constitutes as a fangirl and who doesn’t. She sees a girl wearing a sports shirt and then says “she doesn’t look like a fangirl” yeah god forbid she not wear Simon Snow t shirts every single freaking day of her life. I’m not even going to get into when she refused to go to the dining hall. Over it.
At this point you’re probably wondering “how did you give this four stars if you are complaining about it this much?” Well because I actually didn’t hate the book. I rather liked the book. I would reread it. I just didn’t like some of the things in the book and I needed to complain about them.
Now onto the things I did like! Rainbow Rowell has a way of writing relationships between characters that make me feel everything they are feeling. When Cath would talk about how worried she was about her dad, I wanted to call my dad and make sure he’s alright. When Cath was worried about her sister, I wanted to call my siblings and tell them I love them. Rowell writes characters so well.
Weirdly, I think my favourite relationship in the book was between Cath and Wren and their mom. I have the same type of mom as them and one of my sisters is exactly like Wren when it comes to our mom. I am exactly like Cath. I saw a lot of me and my sister and my mom in these parts.
I don’t think I can’t talk about Levi. At first I didn’t see them being together. I didn’t think it fit. But I grew to love them together and think they are adorable. As someone that frequently reads to her boyfriend, I think it was a good part of the book, especially since Levi “isn’t a reader.”
Overall, this was a strong book and I can see why people like it. I can see why it has so many 5 star ratings, but I can also understand why it has lower ratings.
Have you read it? What are your thoughts?