Thursday, 12 March 2015

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Review

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published by: St. Martin's Press (in 2013)
Content Warning: Estranged parent
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
My Rating:  ★★★★★

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?

          All my contemporary buttons are being smacked lately and I am on a roll! I've managed to find Fangirl on sale, I've ordered Popular by Maya van Wagenen online, and pretty soon I'll be reading
To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han which is in my possession at this moment! *does
excited girly clap*

          I know my past (three wahwahwah...) reviews contained spoilers as I tend to go into detail when blabbing about the events that happened in the book. But not this time. NOT FANGIRL. I am determined to leave this review of the book SPOILER-FREE, because I enjoyed reading it SO MUCH that I want everyone (well, selective everyones) to experience reading it for the first time, feel the warm light that glows from every page as you turn it, and set free the curious baby bunnies that are ready to burst out of your heart hallucinations may vary with different readers. However be warned that I have about 85% of self-control in me so I might drop little tidbits. Don't worry, I will hide them.

          I feel like Fangirl has a specifically targeted audience and so will my howl for this post. To all the never been kissed, never had a serious boyfriend college/uni students, and all the girls who find that the very magical world of fiction appeals to you more than the real world:


          Fangirl is about Cather Avery and her experience of muddling though college as a bewildered freshman. She is introverted with a dash of social anxiety, geeky, conservative an avid fangirl of the Simon Snow series, which is a book series with massive hype and fan-follwing equivalent to the Harry Potter series in our universe and a SHIPPER of its two main male characters. (Highlight for spoiler: though at one bizzare point, Harry Potter was actually referenced so I'm guessing Cath's universe and ours is the same??? It was SO WEIRD because Simon Snow IS supposed to be the equivalent of Harry Potter, so if her universe has Harry Potter is Harry Potter a less popular series or what??? gahhhhhhh *brain officially wrinkled*) She has a twin named Wren, who is her complete opposite, and both Cath and Wren attend the same college. Cath's college experience truly starts when Wren, whom she has been super tight with since young, decides that they should live separately rather than room together, and Cath is left to fend for herself in the wild abyss that is the college dorm, unravel the mysteries of its rules and order, and forced to make social contact with actual new people.

          All the characters in Fangirl were written really well. The author was meticulous in giving equal attention into shaping them as individuals. Each character had their quirks, habits and way of doing things, and best of all, each of them had their signature epic lines and even negative attributes. Not a single one of them was perfect and had life figured out, but not everyone was messed up to the point of no return either. They all had a certain level of attractiveness that made you want to read more about, and even meet in real life. When strung together, these characters create this clever and extremely amusing cloud of awesomeness.

          The book was also balanced in its themes. There was fanfiction-writing, romance, family relationships, friendships and the college experience. Most of them were dealt with fantastically, particularly the family relationships between Cath, Wren, and their dad. It was bittersweet, heart-melting, and many times my mouth would curve into a smile because of how much they cherished each other. Another highlight was the romance. Ahhhh the romance. When I was a few chapters into the book I did not expect Cath to end up liking who she ended up with. Like her, I wasn't even aware that he had feelings for her! But even before they got together he had so much good vibes just radiating off of him that I could almost smell how rainbows smelled like. Even if you aren't into the fanfiction and Simon Snow excerpts, read Fangirl for his ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND SMILES❤
The one aspect I was a little disappointed with was the fandom part. With the book title being Fangirl, I expected that there would be cons, cosplay, Q&A with the author at panels and TUMBLR. However, most of what Cath does as a Simon Snow fan is writing fan-fiction, which Cath does really well, and wear Simon Snow-themed T-shirts. I enjoyed them, but I wanted more representation.

         I give Fangirl 5/5 stars, because this book ticked all the boxes in what I liked in a contemporary read. Most importantly, I feel that Cath's experiences were frighteningly similiar to mine. The awkwardness of getting to know your roommate, weighing the option of whether to eat in your room or face the dining hall full of people, and the HARRY POTTER FEELS. If you're a Harry Potter fan when the books were still coming out YOU WOULD GET IT when you read the Simon Snow parts. So yes people, don't wait. Go read Fangirl and bathe yourself in rainbow M&Ms and macaroons.

Other books mentioned in this post:


  1. Glad to hear you loved this book! I loved it too. Especially the characters :)

    1. Yes! The characters were definitely the highlight of the book :)