Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

A coming-of-age tale of fanfiction, 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?

Review: I just want to know if Cath finished her fanfic and if she killed Baz. I know there’s going to be some sort of sequel to Fangirl, but I want to know now. I’m not that patient.

Fangirl is about Cath’s freshman year at college. It’s her first time away from home, her first time living without her twin sister, and the first time that boys are truly interested in her. Cath feels alone and overwhelmed. One thing that connects her to her pre-college life is her obsession with fanfiction and the Simon Snow book series. However, she may be forced to give that up.

This is the best book I’ve read so far this year. The characters and the relationships between them are well-developed and realistic. Cath is the most relatable character that I’ve read in a long time. I think a lot of people can see some part of themselves in her. She’s insecure, awkward, funny, stubborn, determined, and trying to figure out what she wants in life. It’s hard not to root for her.

The dialogue is amazing. There are a few literal LOL moments. I loved the back-and-forth between Cath, Levi, and Reagan. The characters have very distinct personalities that really come out during conversations.

Usually, I have a lot of issues with the romances in YA books. There are way too many abusive relationships that are presented as healthy and normal. This isn’t a problem in Fangirl. I actually like the relationships in this book. Levi is slightly too clingy for my tastes, but he treats women (and everybody else) nicely. He apologizes when he screws up. He’s not overly jealous. He respects his girlfriend’s privacy and doesn’t pressure her into doing anything that she doesn’t want to do. And, best of all, he’s not an airbrushed supermodel. He’s a realistic-looking person. You don’t know how happy this makes me.

I know that a lot of readers criticize Fangirl for misrepresenting the people who are involved in fandoms. I’ve never cared enough about anything to participate in a fandom, and I’ve never written fanfiction. I have no idea if Cath is a realistic fangirl or not. She seems pretty realistic to me.

My criticism is about Cath’s mind-blowing stupidity in her fiction-writing class. She turns in fanfiction for one of her assignments, and then she’s confused when she gets an F. I have a hard time believing that Cath is this stupid. The point of fiction-writing class is to learn how to write fiction. If you’re borrowing another author’s characters, setting, magic system, world building, etc., then you’re missing out on a lot of learning. In fiction class, you’re supposed to come up with these things yourself. Of course the professor is going to get irritated if you use material from another author. “Borrowing” is basically cheating.

Also, Cath knows that she isn’t allowed to make money from her fanfiction, but she seems stunned when the professor calls her work “plagiarism.” Fanfiction is plagiarism. That’s why Cath isn’t allowed to make money from it. She shouldn’t be so shocked to hear somebody call her work what it is. She should also know that universities don’t allow plagiarism.

Other than Cath’s stupidity, I enjoyed this book. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it. Now I’m tempted to start reading fanfiction.


  1. Hi,

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  2. I've read so many good reviews about this book and yet, I haven't even read it yet! I am one book away from reading this book though so I can't wait! It definitely sounds amazing! :D

  3. Hey there! I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award: I hope you'll consider this nomination as an extension of blogging friendship, as well :)