FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell
jacket flap blurb
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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
Rainbow Rowell, I have only read two of your books (Attachments and Fangirl) but I have adored both of them. I will forgive your ridiculous first name (I will admit, I did hesitate to read a book by Rainbow somebody. But I’m glad I did).
I’m not sure there’s much to say about this book. The characters are fantastic. Cath (short for Cather), Wren, their father, Levi (Levi), Reagan, Professor Piper, Jandro (short for Alejandro), Laura, and even Nick. Oh, and, of course, Baz and Simon. They all felt so real. And the writing was gorgeous. It was funny sometimes and serious sometimes and always engaging.
But there’s only so long you can write about how great something is before you dissolve into a puddle of loving adjectives. So I’ll skip to the one thing I didn’t like. I didn’t like not knowing whether Cath finished Carry On before the eighth Simon Snow book came out or not. Maybe I just missed it, or something, but I don’t think it was said.
And perhaps that was intended to be meaningful, a show of Cath putting real Levi before fictional Baz and Simon. But I completely understood why Cath felt she needed to finish Carry On (her fanfiction novel of the eighth book) before book eight came out. I totally got that part about if book eight came out first, it wouldn’t be the same. Cath’s say wouldn’t matter. The real author of the Simon Snow books would close the cover, roll the credits, end the story. No more imagining what might happen, because all the lines have been said, all the plot threads tied off.
And yeah, you can keep imagining what could have happened (plenty of people do with Harry Potter), but it’s not the same. Someone, it’s not as real of a story after the real author cuts in and says no, this is what happens. This is canon.
So I really wanted to know if Cath finished Carry On before the deadline. Yes, we got our, does the author see Baz as Cath and so many others see Baz? Or is she going to close his story with so much of him unfulfilled, unwritten? moment where Baz switches sides. And yes, that was part of Cath’s fear of what the real author would say in the final book and how it would compare to what she so desperately hoped would happen, but still. I would have liked to know.
But other that that one thing, it was brilliant. All the relationships were fantastically written and well thought out. I loved how no, Cath was not forced into reuniting with her mother in a painfully wishful, sappy scene. I loved her relationship with her sister, Wren, with Levi, with her father, with Reagan, with Nick. I loved everything about Cath, really. As a writer (though not of fanfiction) with social anxiety, I really connected. I loved how she kept wanting to say no to Professor Piper, but just couldn’t do it because she got so nervous. The social anxiety was done marvelously (you see what I mean about puddle of loving adjectives?), and the plot felt very realistic. Very…human, I guess.
rating out of five stars