Friday, 4 October 2013

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Book: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: Knopf

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 429 Pages

Rating: 6/5 stars 

Goodreads Summary

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 really related with Cath. She is going into her first year of college and she doesn't really know who she is. All she really knows is Simon Snow, which is like Harry Potter to us. She, to an extent is defined by Simon Snow and the extremely popular fanfiction she writes. I am in almost the same position. I am headed off to University next year and fandoms are a massive part of my life. The fact that Rainbow Rowell was able to so seamlessly tap into what it really means to be a fan is incredible.

Next the plot. I loved the different story lines in Fangirl. I can tell that Rowell wants to write about all aspects of her characters, from their love lives to their family problems. And she does it without putting too much emphasis on one or the other. She creates a really good balance and I really appreciate it.

When reading Fangirl, and even during Eleanor and Park I realised what I loved so much about Rainbow Rowell's stories. Most authors create the characters for themselves (someone who they can love and sympathise with) and then tell the story for the readers. Rowell, it seems, it the complete opposite. She writes characters that the readers can love, and writes the story for those characters. If we all know that a character should pick choice A, and she picks choice B, yeah we're all frustrated, but we know that it was needed for the character to grow and develop realistically.

I also really enjoy how realistic the characters are. They are flawed in the right ways, and all have signature traits, like normal humans. My favourites, besides Cath, are Levi and Reagan. Reagan was awesome. She was so different from Cath and that's why I liked her. She brought a new sense of life to Cath's world, and showed her that there are other ways of life. And Levi. He was amazing, and dedicated, and pushy, and wonderful. And he brought Cath free Starbucks. Who doesn't love free Starbucks?

Fangirl has really stuck with me since I read it. I think about it multiple times a day, every day. Sometimes, when you read a book, and you're at the right age for it, it means a lot to you, and you fall in love with it. It's like that book becomes a part of you; like if a stranger was to read it, they'd know a little bit more about you. And that is me with Fangirl. Cath is a superhero in my eyes. She was scared, and lonely, and anxious and yet she still managed to hold her head high, make friends, and learn about who she really is, without letting go of who she was in the past. She simply adapted and made a better version of herself. And that is really who I aspire to be.

I'm giving Fangirl a 6/5 star rating. I couldn't imagine giving it anything less. I adored this book. I loved the characters and the story, and how I could see so much of myself in Cath. So thank you, Rainbow, for showing me someone so much like myself, and for showing me how she can be a superhero in her own way.


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