Review 299. Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl.

16068905Title: Fangirl.
Author: Rainbow Rowell.
Pages: 461.
Published: January 30th 2014 by Pan Macmillan.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate 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. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible...
Rating:

Here comes a bookish confession: I have written a Harry Potter fan fiction. It was years ago when I was writing a lot of stories and poems when I came up with a HP version and it was quite popular. Not as big as Cath’s fan fiction, but I had an audience so I know how much fun it is when people read your story. (And no, I will never share it on my blog and it is written in Dutch anyway). It’s not hard to imagine that I loved this book! I won Fangirl over at Gabby, so thanks!

Cath and Wren are twins and they are huge fans of Simon Snow. They write their own Simon/Baz fan fiction until they go to university. Wren wants to start her own life and she pushes Cath and all their interests away for parties and new friends. Cath has a hard time adapting to all the changes in her life and she is even more obsessed with her Snow-fandom. The only people she allows are her roommate Reagan and her friend Levi, but even they can’t get Cath much out of her room.

I've seen people 'complain' about the fan fiction parts between chapters and while it was a little distracting, I also liked it. It gave me more insight in Cath and while it wasn't my favorite part of the book, it seem to complete the story for me. It also helped me to identify even more with Cath and we connected on a personal level. I’m not a party type like Cath and I never let other people talk me into doing things I don’t like. I’d rather sit on my room and read a book then leave the house to go to a party. Cath is shy and quiet, but at the same time a great character to be around when she opens up. She gets anxious when she meets new people or when she is thrown into new situations. This is exactly how I am and it was interesting to see my personality reflected in a book character. It was also a confrontation and it made me think about myself.

"It's not just that.. I don't like new places. New situations. There'll be all those people and I won't know where to sit - I don't want to go." - Cath.

Her connection with Levi is adorable. I liked how he challenges her, but at the same time he understands how she feels and thinks. It’s such a balanced and respectful bond and it made me smile. He is a genuine good person and he is always there for his friends. It wasn't strange she let him into her life even when she was scared. I was definitely rooting for them.

Wren left me confused, because I didn’t get her sudden change. I understand she wanted to define herself as her own person instead of being ‘the twins’ again, but she went loose. She throws herself into parties and drinks alcohol because ‘everyone drinks it.’ I don’t care for people who think that way. You don’t have to be a sheep to be liked. I guess it was also her way to deal with some hard parts in their life, like the weakness of her father and the abandonment from their mother. I liked how these tougher aspects provided some balance in the overall fluff story.

I was very surprised by how much I liked it, seeing I'm not a big contemporary reader. If you want to read a book about a girl who starts to adapt to her new life, while dealing with a boyfriend and real life problems, this is the book you want to try.

34 comments

  1. I'm so happy that you ended up loving this book too Melanie, I tried one of Rowell's books previously, but it didn't work out for me, so I'm glad that I decided to give this book a go, as I thoroughly ended up loving it. I saw a lot of myself in Cath too, and at times was baffled by Wren's behaviour, Levi was also the best!! Lovely review as always! :)

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  2. I love Cath so much and I'm glad you got a chance to read FANGIRL and love it!

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  3. Really loved this book! I just got Landline from the library and can't wait to try it out.

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  4. I recently started this book, but couldn't finish it.I hope I'll be able to go back to it soon.
    But from what I've read so far, I really liked this book.It's always great to read about heroines who read a lot, and Cath is one of the best in that category.
    I loved the fanfiction and book reference inbetween.The Simon Snow series reminded me a lot of Harry Potter.
    Writing fanfiction is really fun, right? I used to write HP fanfiction too, but gave up since it was really time consuming and because of some copyright issues.

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    1. Haha yes, I adored writing about one of my favorite series.

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  5. The first moment I visited I thought... "WOAH WOAH WAOH. Mel hasn't read Fangirl yet?!" and the second was "the cover really blends in with the blockquote though" :P Yep! AWESOME. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one Mel!! :D And I think it's totally okay to write fanfiction, nothing wrong with that you know? (Unless it gets turned into something like 50 shades of grey... then nuh uh.) But back to the story! I really adored her connection with Levi, just like you! I just thought it was so sweet and endearing and OH LOOK THE FEELS ARE RAINING DOWN!!! xD I enjoyed the Fan Fiction parts too, personally! It really helps us appreciate Cath more as a person, her imagination, and as a writer :)
    Fantastic review Mel!! :D

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    1. Haha, you are right, they do match together. It looks so fancy :p

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  6. I also felt so close to Cath, I actually never read a book character that looked so much like me. I never wrote fanfiction myself, nor am I a big fanfiction reader but I did completely relate to the way Cath thinks. And the writing of Rainbow Rowell was really enjoyable, I should definitely read another book by her.
    Great review! :)

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  7. I love this book. It's the first book I read this year and maybe that's lucky because I've been reading mostly good books this year.

    Fangirl is the ultimate book for introverts. Cath really struck a chord in me, it was so easy to identify with her because I'm an introvert, too. And I love Levi. You are right, he is genuinely a good person.

    So glad you like this. I love Rainbow's books and I hope you read another one soon. :) - Joy @ The Bookshelf Intruder

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    1. I don't think I've ever seen a character that was SO similar to me as Cath. Sure, lots of characters with same personality traits, but Cath was like my reflection.

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  8. I was also confused by Wren's sudden change.
    It's great that you enjoyed fan fiction between chapters. For me, it was only a distraction.
    Nice review.

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  9. YES! I am so happy you enjoyed this one Mel :D Like you, I very rarely read contemporaries so I was also surprised by how I enjoyed this one! And of course, I completely know what you mean about identifying with Cath so much, it really was like reading about yourself almost! She's such an introvert and I could totally relate with her preferring to get lost in fictional worlds rather than going out to parties and drinking. I didn't mind the fanfic bits either but like you, they weren't my favorite parts. I liked learning about the world and how Simon Snow was similar to HP :) I didn't especially like Wren either, I didn't get how she suddenly was so mean to Cath and totally pushed her away. I mean, I understand she was dealing with issues, but so was Cath and I felt like they still needed each other. I did adore Cath + Levi too though, I was rooting for them 100% :D Lovely review ^^

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    1. It was like looking in the mirror most of the times!

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  10. I could relate to Cath a lot! Though I haven't written fanfiction yet, but I do write so. :P I loved this one and I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

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  11. A lot of people can relate to Cath as a character because of her introverted nature and how anxious she gets in new situations. I just thought Levi was such a wonderful character to her that really respected her hobbies. Many people didn't like those in between chapter stories too, but I liked it too because it reminded me of HP. I'm so glad you enjoyed this book Mel, as did I! Lovely review.

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    1. Yes, it was fun to see her inspired HP story :D

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  12. Fangirl is my favorite Rowell book and I think it's because I relate alot to Cath as well. I love how easily Rowell captures all of her characters on page though because she elevates contemporary stories for me into absorbing character studies. And this book had the added bonus of being revolving around a fangirl which interested me a lot.

    I'm a bit tempted to beg you to post translated versions of your HP fanfic now, but I won't. :) It is so fun that you used to write them though!

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  13. I was also thrown by Wren's sudden change - both away from and back to normal. But otherwise, I really loved this book, and I was so, so excited to have a book feature fanfic, because I'm a huge supporter of fanfiction (and I wish it didn't get such a bad rep with the outside world! I've read some AMAZING fics that are incredibly creative and well written!)

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  14. Aw, yay :D I'm so so glad you loved this book Mel. <3 And I adore your review. YAY for writing Harry Potter fanfic :D That is all kinds of awesome. I wanted to try writing twilight fanfic years ago.. but writing is just not my thing :p Sigh. Maybe one day :D (aka a book, no more fanfic, hih.) Anyway. I also adored this book :D Loved Levi. <3 Did not like Wren. :)

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  15. I don't think a lot of people liked Wren, and I didn't like all of the Wren parts because I think it wasn't treated very well. But all of the fanfiction parts and about being a total introvert and LEVI made me feel so warm and happy inside. It's not a book for everybody, but it's still really good for people like us!

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    1. Yes, her parts could have been handled with more care to make it easier to relate to her sudden change..

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  16. Haha so you could relate to Cather! I could to because I used to write fanfiction in High School (just not HP). I cringe everytime I think about it. Haha.

    I understand why you didn't like Wren but I can understand where she came from, maybe this is an American mentality. University is stressed as this new place where you can recreate your identity, and underage drinking is a big part of it (a part that needs more discussion but the media doesn't seem to think it's a big deal). So Wren's spiral downwards didn't strike me as surprising.

    I'm happy you enjoyed this one Mel, Levi still has a special place in my heart! <3

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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    1. Aha, I guess it's a little different over here!

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  17. I'm so happy you liked this one! I was hesitant reading it because while I consider myself a huge fangirl, I don't write fanfiction, and something about adding on to the original story doesn't bode well for me. BUT, I fell in love with this book and I did feel like I connected with Cath in her love for a story. It was just adorable on so many levels!! <3

    Em @ Books & Cleverness

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  18. I didn't realize you hadn't read this until now. It feels like a Mel book to me! I absolutely loved this one and could definitely relate to Cath. I am glad you gave it a shot and enjoyed it :)

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  19. Lovely review, Mel, and glad you liked this one! It's my favorite RR book - I just adore the characters and the romance so much. The fanfiction isn't my favorite part but it didn't bother me like it did other readers.
    I would actually love to get Wren's story - I think she's an interesting character and would love to know what was going on in her head.

    Danielle @ Love at First Page

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    1. Oh, that would be a great idea! It would make it easier to relate to her :)

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  20. I've been pretty iffy about reading Fangirl because like you, I'm not a big contemporary reader. But if you really enjoyed it Mel, I might enjoy it too. o:
    Also, like you, I don't like it when characters/people try to fit in by doing whatever everyone else is doing like mindless sheep just to "fit in." It's sad that this always happens in real life and in books. ):

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  21. I LOVE this book! It's definitely one of my favourite contemporary books so I'm so happy you liked it! It's so cool you've written fan fiction- I've never tried, but I'm not sure how well it would turn out, haha. Great review :D x

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  22. I adored this book to the highest level! So glad you love it too. Cath is so relatable, isn't she? I dream to meet her someday. lol :>

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  23. I really enjoyed this book too :) I think for us fangirls it's such a easy book to relate to!! I also found Wren's change a little bit weird!

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  24. I'm starting to feel like the only person who didn't enjoy this book, haha. I just couldn't deal with all the fanfiction and the fact that Simon Snow was basically just Harry Potter - but in the book Harry Potter still exists. How did SS ever get published? I don't know why these small things bug me so much but it does, haha. Damn!!! Oh well. Clearly this is a time where I am in the very tiny minority. Happy you enjoyed this one so much, especially considering that you're not usually the biggest fan of contemporary.

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