Book Review: Fangirl -Rainbow Rowell



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?

Let’s face it.

We all picked up this book because of it’s cover, right? It’s teal, has that art that reminds you of Roald Dahl and it’s title is exactly what everyone has been at some point of their life.
Well, I didn’t exactly pick this book up. I got it on my Kindle and I found it because I saw it in a picture on Tumblr. Thank you, Tumblr.

Anywho, this book got me interested due to the fact that books these days were about a boy meeting a girl in a hallway or at football practice. Maybe at a party where the girl gets drunk of vice versa. Oooooo, maybe, he’s a vampire! A vampire who may aspire to tie you to a bed, do unspeakable things to your body and you’re going to like it.

But this book is very different. It’s about a girl who writes fanfiction. And not just any fanfiction, Boy Love fiction. She’s obsessed with boy love, she thought she’d been dating a guy for three years when really she wasn’t and she pretty much hates her mom.

This girl is me.

The story itself is awfully adorable. Cath probably represents all of us internet losers, where we’d rather sit behind our computers all day, hoping some cute boy would fall for us (or on us)  and when it actually happens, we don’t believe it’s happening. This is exactly what happened to her, and I loved it.

Levi, the male lead wasn’t at all that perfect. He had a weird receding hairline -but apparently is still very cute-, smoked socially and couldn’t finish a book for nuts. He works at Starbucks and is a bucket full of sunshine, a total opposite of Cath who would avoid all human contact, besides her twin sister, if possible. He also is best friends with his ex-girlfriend (not gonna say who) which makes Cath even more uneasy.

I always wanted to know why Levi couldn’t finish a book. Was it ADHD? Dyslexia? Maybe a bad childhood experience. I was waiting for Rowell to touch on that subject since she did mention it a few times in the book but there was none. Maybe I missed it? Anyhow, I hope this question is open for discussion somewhere. It should be.

But Rowell managed to turn this little quirk of his into the most adorable bonding activity between him and Cath. Once again, not spoiling it for you.

Reagan reminded me of a cross between a goth and a popular girl. Goth enough to not care what people thought of her and say whatever the hell she wanted and popular enough to go out with different guys and stay out most of the time. I feel that she was what helped Cath grow the most, when Cath didn’t even have the confidence to go after Levi. Her protectiveness over Cath made me feel as if they were very close to each other, even though Reagan never treated Cath gently.

“You don’t have any friends, your sister dumped you, you’re a freak eater..and you’ve got some weird thing about Simon Snow”
“I object to every single thing you just said”
Reagan chewed. and frowned. she was wearing dark red lipstick.
“I have lots of friends,” Cath said.
“I never see them.”
“I just got here. Most of my friends went to other schools. Or they’re online.”
“Internet friends don’t count”
“Why not?”
Reagan shrugged disdainfully.
“and I don’t have a weird thing with Simon Snow,” Cath said “I’m just really active in the fandom”
“What the fuck is ‘the fandom’?”

Fangirl displayed very real circumstances, for example, constant worrying, depression and excessive stress. There was also a dramatic scene where Cath’s mom wanted to meet them again and I’d half expected the entire family to somehow get back together again. I would have hated the book entirely if that had happened.

You just don’t do that. I think there’s no excuse for coming back when a mother or father had walked out of his or her family, with the exception of the following:

  1. Blackmail
  2. A Contagious Virus
  3. Off to fight a war or bring honor to their family

If it is none of the family, DON’T COME BACK. I liked how Rowell didn’t force Cath’s mother back into their lives, though I didn’t like how Cath acted when she first saw her mother.

First she was silent, then she was raging at how she’s didn’t want her mother to leave and that her mother should had tried harder to reach out to her. If anything, I think her mother had tried her best in reaching out to Cath. I don’t think Cath would have liked it if her mother had suddenly turned up at her school to see her. What did she expect her mother to do? Send her flower, balloons and a fruit basket? I’m out of ideas, I’m sorry. So I guess I’ll have to rule her outburst as a tad bit unreasonable.

Sure, she is 18, but I think there were better ways to handle that matter. Sigh, am disappointed in fictional me.

As always, there was that one scene that made my heart break. I got so upset, I couldn’t eat and my friends had to slap me and demand I stop reading this book like it was the fucking bible.

Of course I was upset, mainly because the scenario was actually plausible.

I could see it happening to me. Me trying to sort my feelings out and seeing that the guy had seemingly moved on? It actually feels like it’s happened to me before, I can’t quite remember but I guess that’s something I should leave buried.

You see, the thing about these kinds of heartbreaks is that the other party doesn’t know (or something along that line) because duh, they don’t know you like them (back?). Because of that, everything gets so much harder to get over, which was what happened between Levi and Cath. You can imagine the amount of character building and bonding in the book.

One thing that was entirely different from Cath and I however, are our priorities.
Towards the ending of the book, she sort of puts of school because she picked her fiction writing over it.
I mean, sorry for being Asian but your dad is paying for you school, your teacher thinks you deserve a second chance since you screwed the first on up and you have an amazing boyfriend who is willing to sit with you while you write it. I know this is like saying ‘It’s just a game’ to me while I patiently await Blade and Soul and Final Fantasy15, but IT’S JUST FICTION, CATH, EVEN I WOULD PUT MY SCHOOL WORK FIRST NO MATTER WHAT.

The only time I didn’t do so was when I was too depressed to function. It was so bad, I had to cut myself just to get my ass in class. At least I tried a little before I gave up entirely, Cath, what’s your excuse? I mean, your teacher is already giving you a second chance at your assignment that you didn’t even bother to start. At least the ending story line was good and meaningful, but by God, Cath, you got me so mad. 

Overall, I don’t feel that this was one of those ‘read again’ books. It wasn’t exactly feel good or heavy. It was, however, refreshing to read, as if finally surfacing from 2013’s tsunami of supernatural-romance, BDSM and erotica. Rowell has an entirely different writing style that I appreciate very much. There were a few parts I did not understand and relate to, though.

I gave it 3 stars. It wasn’t exactly the ‘Wow’ book, but one of those you could read while having a coffee with time to kill.

Just for the sake of it, I’ll leave you with the my most favorite quote from the book!

“I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”
“I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”
“Me, too. I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”



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