Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published September 10th 2013 by Pan Macmillan Australia
Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren has 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 civilised 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 realising that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.
I’m a pretty visual person. But somehow, despite Fangirl being on many people’s most favourite for the year lists, I hadn’t heard much about it and it wasn’t really on my radar. That was, until I saw THIS fan-made video. And OHMYGOSH… I was sold. I NEEDED to know more about these characters and the story. So the next chance I got, I bought it and was reading it as soon as I got home.
And I’m so happy that I watched the clip, because I LOVED this book… to infinity and beyond. It’s absolutely, most definitely a favourite. I had to force myself to put it down (because, you know, there was this thing called life going on). It kept me up past my bedtime a few nights in a row. It brought ALL of the feels. And it without a doubt gave me a book hangover, which lasted days after I had finished it.
The story was way deeper than I expected. It wasn’t just cute, quirky and fun, as the blurb suggests, although it certainly does have it’s moments. It was cleverly written, it pulled me in and more than anything, it spoke to me and it just GOT me. It felt real; both the characters and the story. I related to it, and I related to Cath. In a lot of ways I saw myself in Cath. Introvert? Check! Socially awkward? Check! Loves staying in on a Friday or Saturday night? Check! Afraid to open herself to the world? Check! And fangirl? CHECK CHECK!! I have (and do) OBSESS over a books and movies. Lots of them. Fangirling and fandoms is something that I’ve been involved in, in some way or another, for many years. Cath didn’t hide her fangirl-ness that much, but she knew that some people just don’t get it. Which a lot of fangirls feel. And I loved how fangirl showed fandoms and fanfiction in a good light and for the good things they can be.
Okay, so let’s just gush talk about Levi for a bit. Because, oh gosh. Levi was one of the big reasons for my late-night reading AND is now officially on my shortlist of book boyfriends. He is/was swoony, sweet, kind, thoughtful, romantic and his relationship with Cath developed quite naturally; it was five or so months before they started dating – not a month or less like many other YA books. He really understood Cath, accepted and loved her for who she was, and what’s more, he complemented her. Cath’s insecurities were both heartwarming and heartbreaking, but through her friendship and relationship with Levi, he helped bring her out of her shell and gave her the confidence to be who she is and be proud of who she is. Gimme more Levi!
A few other points:
1. Reagan (Cath’s roommate): How awesome was she?! Even though she was sarcastic and a little abrupt, she was exactly the kind of person Cath needed to boost her confidence.
2. Cath’s sister Wren: She annoyed be a little. I just didn’t understand how she could ditch Cath at college – maybe because I’m so close to my sister? I don’t know, there were a few times where I just didn’t like her.
3. The Simon Snow excerpts: I loved the the Simon Snow excerpts, especially as they were based Harry Potter (some of the references were pretty funny!). But I’ve got to be honest, I skimmed some of the excerpts because I just had to keep reading about Cath & Levi! I want to reread this book again, so I will definitely be reading the excerpts properly next time.
4. The ENDING: Was it just me, or did the story kinda just… end? I really felt like there was a few things that were left unresolved or even just un-finished. Number 1 of those things being Cath + Levi. Without spoiling the ending, I just wish that their ending wasn’t so abrupt.
I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK. I felt like the story was real and relatable. As were the characters, both the ones who I adored (Cath, Levi, Reagan) and those not so much (Wren). Cath and Levi’s relationship was sweet, full of FEELS and so believable. Their relationship developed slowly and almost naturally. I loved the look into the world of fandoms, fan-fiction and pop culture. My only gripe? The story didn’t feel finished… it just kinda, ended. So Rainbow, can there pretty please (with a cherry on top) be a sequel??
Have you read this one? What did you think? Did you relate to Cath as a fangirl and/or writer too?
If you haven’t read it, has it been on your radar or is it now?
I would love to hear from you in the comments!