Sunday 20 October 2013

Fangirl review

Rainbow Rowell
September 10th 2013
St Martin's Press

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
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 that it is going to be very difficult for me to put my love for this book into words. When I started writing this review, my first instinct was just to sort of keyboard smash for a few paragraphs and hope that something good came out of that, but that wouldn't be much use for anyone, so I shall try my hardest to communicate with actual words.

Fangirl is a probably one of my favourite books that I have read this year. I knew as soon as I read the description that I'd love it, and then I saw the cover which was done my one of my favourite webcomic artists and I was just like 'I NEED THIS BOOK' and so I bought and read it and it was everything that I wanted it to be. It was funny, and sweet, and emotional and it felt like the book that I needed to read right now. At the minute, I'm sorting out my uni application and sort of stressing about it more that I probably should be, and I'm just generally worried about everything to do with higher education right now, so it was kind of comforting I guess to read about some one who is kind of like me who goes off to college or uni and who does kind of okay at the end of it. So, as you may have gathered, I really liked Cath.

I also really liked Wren, actually. At the start of the book, Cath and Wren aren't really getting along all that well, and they still fight a lot during the book, but I think that their relationship was really great to read about because I haven't read that many books about twins. Also, Reagan was so much fun and I thought that Cath's and her friendship was great, too. And, obviously, Levi, who is like a golden retriever who smiles sunshine and has beautiful floppy hair and he did do some stupid stuff but I feel like the aforementioned smiley puppy qualities make up for that.

The other thing that I loved (apart from everything) was the fact that at the end of each chapter there were snippets from the Simon Snow books and from Cath's (and sometimes Cath and Wren's) fanfiction, and that was just the loveliest thing to get to read. I feel like Rainbow Rowell should just write the Simon Snow books now, but where Simon and Baz actually get together. Though the only thing that I didn't find quite believable about the whole Simon Snow thing was it existing in a world where Harry Potter also exists. And that there would be a school for Mages in Watford. Watford is not a magical place, I can tell you that. And not only that, but the times where Cath would read to Levi her fanfiction, and that time when she read him the whole of The Outsiders. It was just so sweet and Rainbow has this way of writing about simple sort of things and making them feel so intimate and special when you're reading it, like the hand-holding in Eleanor & Park, y'know?

I could write so much more about this book, but I don't want to go on and on. I want you to read it for yourself and discover all of it's brilliance. Because it is brilliant. It's been a while since I saw how close I was to end of a book and dreaded finishing it, because it would mean that I couldn't just read that one story for ever. I want to read it again. 


  1. Hee, a Golden Retriever. Such a good comparison! Soooo glad you loved this book, since we did too. And btw, Rainbow has posted some Simon Snow bonus excerpts to her website/Tumblr, if you want to check those out!

  2. I'm dying to read this. Everyone only has amazing things to say about it!

  3. Yay! I'm actually SO GLAD you liked the fanfic bits and the simon snow bits cause every other review has said they didn't like them and skipped over them and I loved them :( I figured this was an alternative universe where HP didn't exist cause clearly SS was inspired by it and by the whole fan phenomenon that came about as a result of it. Like, she wanted to write about HP but eck, issues so she made up a HP homage instead.

    Fab, fab review Cicely, I knew you'd love this one.


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