Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: 09/10/2013
Reviewed by: Emily
Cath loves the Simon Snow series, but it goes further than that: she’s a dedicated fangirl. She and her twin sister, Wren, immersed themselves in the books when they were kids to help deal with their mom’s departure.
Now the twins are off to college — the same school, but different directions. Wren has left the Simon Snow fandom behind, and is ready to embrace college life (particularly the partying aspects) with open arms. On the other hand, Cath refuses to move on. she spends her time holed up in her room eating protein bars because she’s too scared to go to the cafeteria, and writing Simon Snow slash fan fiction.
Wren wants to do her own thing — away from Cath — so Cath is stuck on her own, with a surly roommate, her ever-present boyfriend, an attractive classmate who seems to be into her, and struggling in a writing class where no fan fiction (the only kind of writing that Cath feels best at) is allowed. Not to mention the Dad with mental health issues she’s leaving behind back home. Fangirl is Cath’s journey through starting her own life and learning how to let other things go.
After reading Rainbow Rowell’s amazing first book, Eleanor & Park, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on her next novel. I quickly connected with Cath — we’re both shy, introverted, and immersed in the world of fandoms and fan fiction. Cath is thrown into college life and must adapt to her new environment. She doesn’t want things to change, but she manages to pull herself through and open herself up to new people and new experiences. Cath is flawed and doesn’t always handle situations in the best way, but she cares deeply for the people closest to her and would do almost anything for them. I loved how Cath didn’t have to give up her passions completely to get on in the “real world,” and the fact that she was able to get through the year gives me hope for myself for when I go to college.
Rainbow Rowell is one of those authors that just understands. I know, that’s such a teenager-y thing to say, (“She just gets me, ya know?”) but it’s true. During some parts I felt myself nodding along to what the characters were saying. One thing that I wasn’t so keen on was that the author included several pages of Cath’s fan fiction, which I was not very interested in and felt was a bit unnecessary, but it’s simple to just skim those parts. Overall, this was another success by Rainbow Rowell, and I would recommend it to just about anyone!
Editor’s note: A new collector’s edition of Fangirl comes out May 12 and it includes a new cover and an excerpt of Carry On, the next novel by Rainbow Rowell! We are taking pre-orders for the new edition of Fangirl, but not for Carry On yet. We’ll be sure to let you know when you can order Carry On!