Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: September 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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 finished college this last May (WHEE!) and I remember avoiding YA for a while during that time because it felt like none of the stories really applied to me. The characters were struggling with - more often than not - high school issues and which college to go to. But what about those of us that are struggling with what major, what choice, which way? Fangirl is the exact book I was yearning for in those days & even now, months after graduation, it still feels like Rowell is speaking to me.
THE CHARACTERSI loved Cath right off. Beyond her love for Simon Snow (which made me think of my obsession with Harry Potter), Cath's yearning to keep things exactly the way they are really struck home with me. Change is terrifying, and her character's struggle to deal with it makes the heart of the entire story.
Levi and Cath's slow relationship was one of the highlights of this book. Cath had to learn how to change (one of the main themes of Fangirl) and to let someone into her life. It's always been just her and Wren - a team. Learning to let Levi into her life was one of the most romantic and lovely moments I've had in YA.
I just love Reagan's character. Her hard, gruff exterior hides a character that is a fantastic friend, warm, and witty. She is the perfect roommate for Cath in that she dislikes change just as much as Cath does.
Cath's struggle to accept change is the beginning of the plot, but when it is forced on her, the real conflict begins. As a twin, Cath has never really been on her own; suddenly, she is in a strange new place with her twin, Wren, more interested in partying and boys than the Simon Snow fandom. Cath's struggle to accept (and sometimes fight) all the changes in her life, from family to her writing, make Fangirl extraordinary.
It was extraordinary how each character in the novel became alive. I felt like I was living in Cath and Regan's dorm room or sitting with them at dinner, people-watching. I loved the feeling of being immersed in Rowell's world; it was hard to surface from this story to go to work or make dinner.
Rowell's writing is familiar, smooth and flowing. I never felt bored or inclined to skip a few pages. There was always some conflict, something for Cath to work out, and I had to stay with her until she did. It's a mark of good writer when I can't help but stick with your character.
I loved, loved, loved this book. I don't know what took me so long to get on this bandwagon, but now I'm on for life. Fangirl has something for everyone: romance, family, drama, and the love of a good nerd. I adored this book.