Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: September 10, 2013
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
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?
This is one of the books I read during Hurricane Florence with my little flashlight. I wanted something light and easy and I had heard great things about Fangirl and I figured it was a good time to read it. I went into it with a bit more clarity than when I read Eleanor and Park so I wasn’t nearly as disappointed when I realized that Fangirl was slightly over-hyped. I did enjoy reading it, and it helped pass the time really well. I liked most of the characters, though I wasn’t deeply connected to them. I thought Levi was adorable and he easily became my favorite character. He kept things closer to reality and seemed to be the voice of reason in most cases. Reagan was also likable and refreshing in her unfiltered honesty. Professor Piper is the once character that I identified with more than anyone. She had high standards as a teacher and didn’t let students get away with stupidity. To be honest, the character I liked the least was Cath. I know a lot of people identify with her and I will admit I did see a lot of myself in her: the nerdy-ness, the social ineptitude, the introvertness. But overall, she became that typical millennial stereotype who refused to look outside her tiny, safe bubble, and didn’t like doing things simply because they were too hard.
And listen, I love Harry Potter as much as the next booknerd. But I also realize that while books are an amazing escape, they cannot be substitutes for life. Watching Cath spend all her time writing characters that didn’t belong to her, refusing to use her creativity in any other way, actually using her fanfiction as an excuse to quit classes and justify bad grades . . . not cool at all! Even the college drama didn’t bother me as much as Cath did. I read a book about college, I was willing to accept all the drama that came along with it. But Cath and her attitude really bothered me. I bought Fangirl along with a copy of Carry On, but honestly, I don’t even want to read it now. Overall, I did enjoy reading this book, it was an actual escape from the hurricane and loss of power and I appreciate that to no end. But in an honest review, I have to say that Fangirl still disappointed me and I doubt I’ll be reading any more Rainbow Rowell books.