Thursday, 31 October 2013

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: September 10th 2013
Publication date: St. Martin's Griffin
My rating: 4.5 stars


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?

To be honest I really wasn’t really sure about picking up Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, I read Rowell’s Eleanor & Park earlier this year, and whilst I knew everyone around me loved it, I was left slightly disappointed. But despite this I decided to risk it with Rowell’s Fangirl, and I’m actually glad that I did.

Cath and her twin sister Wren have moved away to college, Cath has grown up her whole life with her sister beside her and so doesn’t expect college to be any more different. But Wren has other ideas, she decides it’s time for them to live apart and do things on her own. When you first meet Cath you can tell she’s lived in the shadows of her sister, as soon as she moves into her dorm, she cocoons into herself, not really getting to know her roommate Reagan. She doesn’t even venture out of her room unless to go to class. She doesn’t even know where the dining hall is until a few weeks into term and this is rather reluctantly because Reagan and her friend Levi think she has an eating disorder (all Cath has been doing since she came is been bingeing on protein bars). Cath was a character I could easily relate to, I never liked venturing out to try something new, I’m always anxious of what others might think or I might be doing something wrong. At home and with people I know I have the biggest mouth ever, but in any new situation, you won’t hear a squeak out of me. So I understood Cath being anxious about studying away from home, she had to start all over again, because she didn’t even have Wren by her side either.

I was team Cath from the very first page, however at times I did feel like shaking some sense into her. It would take Cath forever to realise that she had something good going for her, seriously this guy was the sweetest guy ever but she was constantly pushing him away. Like when he was carrying her dirty laundry, which I thought was a really nice gesture, she just made a huge deal out of it. I do think this was because of the big insecurity Cath had about getting close to somebody, but also because of what happened early on. But when a guy, proves time and time again that he cares about you, just let him in. That was my only real problem that I had with Cath. Whereas Wren was just a completely different story.

I really disliked Wren, I know she just wanted to be her own person, for the last 18 years it had always been Cath and Wren, but did she have to be a real cow about it? It was obvious that Cath was suffering from anxiety issues, but she kept constantly brushing her off, even when Cath came to search for her in a bar completely out of her comfort zone. I actually even liked it when Cath and Wren weren’t talking because it gave Cath the opportunity to get to know other people around her such as Levi and Reagan.

Levi and Reagan were just two of the best characters of this book. They really did bring alive this story especially Levi. At the beginning I wasn’t really sure of him, but he just grew on me with his bubbly personality, his huge hair and his patience he showed for Cath. And he was there for her when things fell apart. Which guy would drive a girl home a few hundred miles in the worst snowy weather ever and the roads were the worst to drive on? That would be Levi; he would also give her the time and space when she was writing her fan fiction. Levi was a real surprise of Fangirl, that I honestly wouldn’t mind him bringing me a gingerbread latte!

Fangirl was a book which completely took me by surprise; Rowell did a fantastic job of keeping me entertained with surly characters such as Reagan and bubby energetic characters such as Levi. Also she did a wonderful job of focusing on a lot of tough issues that Cath had to go through, such as family break ups, break downs and fallings out. But she was also able to bring a lot of fun and hilarious moments that easily brightened up a tense situation. The only thing I didn’t however care about was Simon Snow aspect, I was interested in reading about Cath’s obsession with Fan Fiction and how she was getting on with writing it, but the long passages of Simon Snow extracts I didn’t care for. That’s my only gripe, other than that Fangirl was a wonderful story which dealt with growth, maturity and finding your place in a beautiful way.



24 comments:

  1. I'm so glad that you really enjoyed this one, Jasprit! I ordered it one TBD after you and Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary's persuasion :D

    Fabulous review! <33

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  2. "At home and with people I know I have the biggest mouth ever, but in any new situation, you won’t hear a squeak out of me."--LOL! That's 100% me, too. Wren seems kind of a bitch, but I guess she has her reasons. Sometimes it's hard to get out of the shadow of a friend or even a sibling and just be yourself, I can't imagine what it'd be like with a twin sister. Though, it doesn't justify the bitchy attitude O.o Levi seems a bit like Cricket Bell which I don't mind at all. I loved Cricket--his sweet, bubbly, carin personality--and I can't wait to spend time with Levi :) This is such a "me" book and everywhere I look--there're people reading Fangirl or Eleanor an Park. Luckily I own them both in HC and I can't wait to pick their paper slips already :) Gorgeous review, babe!

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    1. Oh my gosh you're right Levi does remind me of Cricket too, I think Cricket's probably a lot sweeter, but they have the same massive hair going on! I really hope you read this soon and end up enjoying it! :)

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  3. I agree with everything in this review!! Loved the book, loved the story, loved Levi, hated Wren, could've lived without the Simon Snow passages. But overall one of the best books I've read this year! I loved reading about a college experience that felt REAL for once.

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  4. Jasprit, I felt the SAME WAY! I was disappointed by Eleanor and Park, but I really enjoyed this one. I also read Attachments and LOVED that book, so you should definitely give that one a try if you haven't already. Wonderful review, dear!

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    1. I'm glad to know that I wasn't the only one disappointed by Elanor & Park, I have a copy of Attachments too, so can't wait to read it!

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  5. YAY so happy you ended up enjoying it! I felt the same way in points such as shaking sense into Cath and Rowell doing excellently and Wren, "did she have to be a real cow about it?" <- HA. Love your review, Jasprit!

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  6. Oh, Cath. I loved her. She made feel all the feelz and want to be her friend or at least the mama bear who slapped the sense into her (or shook gently, as the case may be).

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  7. I have had this book for some time now and I still haven't read it because I'm afraid I might not like it with all the hype surrounding it. I'm so glad you reviewed this title on your blog, Jasprit, because now I'm picking this one up right after I finish The Beginning of Everything. I love the sound of Cath and I can tell I will relate with her too. In fact, I'd say I am Cath. I dislike going out and socializing, not because I don't want to, but because I'm nervous as hell. So I think she and I will get along well. Levi also sounds like a cutie that I can't wait to meet.
    Her twin sounds terrible. That is possibly the meanest thing anyone could do to their twin sister.
    Lovely review, Jasprit. I'm glad that you're 2nd experience with Rainbow Rowell was a positive one.

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    1. Thank you Nick, I'm glad my review was able to convince you to give this book a try, a book also works for me more when I'm able to connect with the characters and Cath was one of the easiest characters to do that with. I hope you enjoy this too! :)

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  8. I've heard nothing but positive reviews of this one (except about the potential for the book being banned...so weird). This really does sound beautifully done though, and I just love how you've described Cath. Colour me absolutely sold. Lovely review, Jasprit! :)

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  9. Awesome review! I'm glad you mostly loved it :) I loved it so much. And yay! Levi is totally awesome. <3 Thank you for sharing your honest review :)

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  10. EVERYONE is talking about this recently! I know a loads and loads of people loved it. So far I haven't really thought of picking it up because of all the hype around it but I am so tempted to finally give it ago! Fantastic review Jasprit!

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  11. YAY JASPRIT! I'm so happy you enjoyed this one and gave it a chance even though you were a little disappointed with E&P. I'm with you on Wren, I almost instantly disliked her for abandoning Cath, even if she wanted some independence she could have gone about it way differently. But of course it forced Cath out of her comfort zone a bit which ended up being a good thing. And I adored Levi, he was just about the cutest thing ever:) Really wonderful review!

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  12. Wonderful review, Jasprit. Its really great whenever a book you have less expectations turned out to be really good. I'll need to get my hands on this book soon! ;)

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  13. I have heard so many good things about this one

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  14. I've heard a lot of people don't like the fan fiction excerpts, but i'm glad you loved the book regardless! I do want to read this one. I'm such a fangirl in my own way that I'm sure I'll relate well.

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  15. Yay, so great to hear that you enjoyed Fangirl despite first doubts. I love these kinds of books. That surprise you and draw you in when you not expect it. I too liked Fangirl very much, it was my first book by Rainbow Rowell. Elearnor & Park probably won't be my second RR read, thinking about reading Attachments next.
    Hope there's an awesome guy like Levi in there, too. He really is the most adorable person in Fangirl.
    Thanks for your great review:)

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  16. Fangirl sounds so great, and I'm glad it lived up to your expectations. I actually bought it yesterday because of the sale. Great review, Jasprit!

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  17. Amazing review Jasprit!!!! It was nice to learn more about you. I find it a bit hard to meet new people to, been doing it since september but I still feel nervous occasionally.

    Levi, Levi!!! Loved everything you wrote about Levi! Who oh who would do what he did?
    Same- I wish Cath was less stringent from letting others.

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  18. I have been nervous about reading RR because so many people love her so so much! I have FANGIRL waiting TBR though, so I'm glad to see your 4.5 stars.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  19. Wow, now I feel like I must catch up and read this. Levi sounds so adorable - thanks for sharing!

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  20. Yay so happy you enjoyed this one! I really liked it and Cath was so fantastic and real and easy to connect with. I also understood more about what fanfic was and why people were fans of it. And Levi *sigh*. He definitely give this story a lot of life! Great review, Jasprit!

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  21. Fangirl was a surprise for me too because I never expected it to be as good as E&P (which is still my fave, sorry you didn't like it that much). Like you, I connected with Cath instantly, she reminded me so much of myself in college, the social awkwardness and afraid of meeting new people was to the point. And I guess that's why I loved Cath so much. Though I wasn't a fan of Wren, I felt like she changed a lot, but that's maybe because we were reading through Cath's POV and Wren was so much different than Cath. Levi was very cute and Reagan was an awesome friend. Loved them too! I'm so glad you enjoyed this book, Jasprit! Fantastic review :)

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