Published by Macmillan on 01/30/2014
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Half Price Books
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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I’m a little floored by how much I enjoyed Fangirl. You see, YA isn’t really my “thing”. Every time I read it, I love it. But I never want to read it. I don’t seek it out. I don’t crave it. I never think, “You know what sounds good right now? A good young adult novel.” I always read it sort of against my will and only because someone has highly recommended it. But I always end up loving it.
The main detractor for me is that the characters are usually high school age-ish and that was like a lifetime ago. It’s hard to for me (or so I think) to read about characters that are in a different stage in life than I am. I assume their problems are trivial. Rainbow Rowell did a fantastic job of bridging the age gap. Even though Cath’s “problems” were very different from mine, I was still able to connect, sympathize, and even be completely engaged. I remember feeling the exact way Cath does (some of which I still experience today with the social anxiety and a fear of crowds). When you’re that young, everything seems like the end of the world. I remember it well.
I have owned this book for a while. It’s been collecting dust on my bookshelf, potentially never to be read if it weren’t for the urging of a trusted book friend. It had two strikes against it – it’s YA and I hated Rowell’s book Eleanor & Park. I was extra hesitant. I’m so glad I caved.
I identified so much with Cath and I fell equally as much in love with Levi as she did. Though, probably much faster. In fact, all of the characters in this book were very well written. I found things to like and dislike about all of them. They’re perfectly imperfect. With the exception of Levi, who is, in fact, perfect. Actually, thinking back, he’s really not. He broke my heart there for a while. But he’s pretty damn close.
I do have to say I didn’t care much for the whole Simon Snow fanfiction part of it. I read it because I was afraid that I’d miss something if I didn’t, but it was kind of a necessary evil for me. I’d kind of dread happening upon it and then grudgingly read it. Just know, that if you read this book, you can safely skip those parts if they’re not your thing and still enjoy the book. They’re not necessary, though I do have to admit they add an extra element to the story.
If you’re a fan of YA, read this book. Even if you’re not a fan of YA, you should read this book. I think it’d be a nice departure for you. It’s good to break out of the book every once in a while. Now I think I’ll go back to romance for a while.