Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

“Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I'm a complete disaster.”

I fell in love with Eleanor and Park when I read it last summer, so I've been eager to read more by Rowell (I just realized I never reviewed E and P...I might need to do so!).

Fangirl is the perfect book for anyone who has been obsessed with a certain franchise of books (Harry Potter definitely came to mind when I read this). Cather is obsessed with a series about a character named Simon Snow, and with her sister, Wren, has built a huge fanbase online writing fanfiction. Now that she is older and in college, awaiting the release of the eighth and final book, the pressure is on to finish her own novel for her own adoring fans.

The only problem is that she's starting her freshman year of college, dealing with a difficult roommate, her roommate's odd boyfriend, trying to understand why her sister is pulling away, avoiding reconnecting her her estranged mother, and worrying about her father who now all alone at home and definitely empty-nesting. 

In one word, I would classify this book as adorable. Because while there are certainly enough negative things going on in Cather's life, the story is heart-warming. Cather undergoes a big transformation from the beginning of the novel to the end. She enters college unsure and scared-afraid to even venture into the cafeteria for fear of being alone or not knowing what to do. Eventually, she finds her place among all the craziness around her and we see real growth in who she is and what she wants.

 “In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)”

Some of what I enjoyed most about this book were Cather's little quirks-many of which I have myself. I've also felt a bit of fear about going into a new situation and not knowing what to do. Her fear of being alone and uncertain in the cafeteria is a fear I've felt many times-going to conferences, etc. She is also a bit of a recluse, choosing to stay in and write or read than go to a party. She's also a person who cares for people who ask her for help. First, the boy from her fiction writing class. Then, her roommate's odd duck of a boyfriend.

I was also fascinated by Cather's writing and her devotion to her craft-and props to Rowell for using fanfiction in such a positive light! While I've never written fanfiction (I know I couldn't do justice to someone else's characters), my younger sister did for quite some time. There are so many big communities out there, and for many, it's a great way to extend the life of a well-loved series. In Cather's case, it was also a way for her to play with her words, and push her to trying something else.

However, the thing that I most loved about this was Cather's love interest. Can I say a huge thank you to Rowell for showing a male love interest who is actually a really good guy? Who doesn't do creepy/stalkerish things that are "romantic?" THANK YOU.

In all, this was a sweet book that left me with lots of warm fuzzies and a desire to read more by Rowell in the future.

"Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”


  1. I really want to read this book. I think it would be perfect for our "freshman read" at the university where I work. We're a small private women's college and I just think it would be perfect.

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  2. This one has been on my wish list for so long, and yet I haven't made the leap to actually buying it yet - despite the fact I clearly should. This sounds like a book I would love.

  3. I love Rowell and this is the only one of her's I haven't read yet. I need to get a copy!

  4. Oh I loved this one! Something that always amazes me about Rainbow Rowell's books, she always manages to get my feelings down on the page in a way that I've never read before. It's so shocking sometimes, that moment when you realize that other people are going through the same thing and have felt that exact same thought before.

  5. I was never interested in E&P, just didnt' sound like my kind of book, but Rowell wrote a good pep talk for NaNo this year, and mentioned the way she wrote this one. I just started listening to it a few days ago, off and on, and am enjoying it so far!

  6. I listened to E&P but really wish I had read it instead. I adore that last quote you included and this seems like a great spring book. Hopefully my library has a paper copy!

  7. I really enjoyed this book, although I found the fanfiction a bit much sometimes. Loved the relationship between Cath and her sister. And their father. It was nice to see Cath grow but also not change too much of who she is. Love all of Rowell's work!

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  9. I did not think there would be a book that captured my heart as much as Eleanor and Park did, but Rainbow caught me off guard with Fangirl. It was pure perfection. I instantly became attached to the characters. The book stirred more emotion in me than anything else has. I was unable to put the book down until I finished. Absolutely everyone should read all three of Rainbow Rowell's books!
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