Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Summary from Goodreads:

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?

Contemporary YA romance has become a little tough for me to get through. I haven't picked any up, since I dropped two novels under the same genre last year. This being the reason why despite having a copy and an intent to read Fangirl, I couldn't bring myself to actual action. But much like the Mitchell Mafia, the Rowell Groupie is relentless in giving praise after praise after praise. And they were valid in their admiration. I was drawn to it like Gollum to the One Ring. 

Fangirl is your traditional coming of age story. Cath, the protagonist is a fan fiction writer of a popular fantasy series called Simon Snow. She shares writing duties and almost everything else with her twin sister Wren. Once the two hit college, Wren decides to get a separate dorm room and starts to care less for the things Cath is involved in, like the Simon Snow fan fiction. Cath, sans comfort zone twin sister, must deal with the usual academic pressures of freshmen year, plus social ones including a bristly room mate with a barbed tongue, and the latter's bright and cheery guy friend who pester her to no end about this and that. And having the aforementioned sister, off doing collegiate things parents wouldn't want their kids to do, there's a writing partner who may or may not feel something for Cath, a dad left all alone back home with the possibility of having a manic episode without the twins around to help him, an absentee mother who suddenly establishes contact, and a looming Simon Snow fan fiction deadline.

What Rowell does in Fangirl excellently is make Cath very accessible and three dimensional, to me at least. I mean more than what I have encountered in other contemporary YA reads. The way Rowell depicted Cath's anxieties and fears for one, was quite comprehensive and on the nose. And having the latter's actual Simon Snow fan fiction interspersed into the story, is a brilliant way of fleshing out Cath even more. Her fan fic work is after all, one of her biggest passions. This is another thing that I admired about Rowell. She seems to have a firm understanding of the fan fiction world and it shows in her writing. We all know that like YA, fan fiction continues to have its detractors. She subtly touched on the issue of whether or not fan fiction is legally and morally acceptable. And you can pick up on the genuine love she has for fandom in general. Plus, the dialogues are whip smart and funny without having the emotional reach of the novel compromised. 

Lastly, what Fangirl is a very charming and entertaining read that hits my brain's pleasure receptors, like a mug of butterbeer, a piece of treacle tart, a taste of Turkish delight, a swig of Ent-draught...and no Cath does not drone on in a nerdy and hokey way like this, I promise. 

Comments

  1. I've been egging my daughter to write a review of this book for my blog, since she won't stop telling all the good things about it, but she haven't acquiesced yet. You have the same observations on how Cath was nicely fleshed out by RR. :)

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    1. Oh I do hope daughter dearest will be Say It With A Book #6. Cath really is a pretty solid, believable character. :)

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  2. I knew it I knew it I knew it! Glad you liked Fangirl (although it wasn't exactly my most favorite Rainbow Rowell, but still. Rainbow Rowell -- the woman who can't go wrong in my eyes. Haha.) :D

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    1. Hahaha! I think I'm definitely up to trying RR's other books. Which from among the four is your favorite, Lynai?

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    2. Landline (Because Georgie is the character I love to hate), Attachments (because Lincoln is my ultimate bookish crush), Eleanor & Park (because Park is just <3), and Fangirl. :)

      But I would suggest you read Eleanor & Park, next. It's also YA. The other 2 are adult books. :)

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  3. I still haven't picked up any Rainbow Rowell book after Eleanor & Park (loved that one) but I'm hoping to do so next year. And there, iniisip ko nga what was the name of the Rowell group (I thought it was Rowell Girls), Rowell Groupie pala. Haha. :)

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    1. I think E&P is the book that really brought her to the forefront of YA world, and I think it's the one that I'll most likely pick up as my second Rowell read. Rowell Groupie, Mitchell Mafia....parang street gangs. Hahaha. :)

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  4. Thumbs up! Read Eleanor & Park next!

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    1. Apir! Onga, might read that one next. Maybe sometime next year. Buti you coerced me to read Fangirl. Coerced? Hahaha. :)

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