Tonight I am here with a review of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Ever since I joined this beautiful book blogging world, I have heard great things about Rowell and her novels. This was actually my first experience reading Rowell, and I really enjoyed it! I think I had already decided to enjoy her books before I even read them because of all the awesome, positive things I hear about them on fellow blogs. Thanks!
A few thoughts pre-review:
- This book is so clever. Rowell takes the Harry Potter phenomenon and builds a story around a similar scenario. As a bit of a fan girl myself, I really loved that. It’s just so fun.
- This book makes me want to write. Seriously.
- Can I just say I love Levi? And I love Levi and Cath together?
Fangirl follows the changes in the life of Cath(er) Avery–a college freshman, twin, and (most importantly) a Simon Snow fanatic. Her Simon fan fiction is hugely popular and has also helped her get through the biggest challenges in her life. Now as she begins college, Cath has to make friends, talk to real boys, write things other than fan fiction, find the dining hall, and deal with her twin sister not being her roommate. It’s a lot to take on. The ultimate question is can she let Simon go?
Cath is a fantastic protagonist. I love her character and find her so relatable. I found myself rooting for her in all aspects of her life–be brave enough to go eat in the dining hall, write something different and new, give Levi a chance, make up with Wren. I think we all have felt lost, scared, confused like Cath. We have all feared change (especially me!). That makes Cath all the more endearing because I see myself in her.
The stereotypical college experience was honestly a bit too strong for me in the first half of the book. I think I have mentioned before that I am LDS and went to BYU in Provo, Utah. BYU has an honor code and students there do not drink alcohol, do drugs, or sleep around. Basically, I had the exact opposite experience. And it was awesome! So I really disliked the way Wren became such a heavy drinker and party-er in the first parts of the book. Unimpressive.
But I really enjoyed the second half of the book when Cath could find her way and build good relationships with other people. I love that she dates Levi and how good he is to her (more on that in a minute). And I love that so many things start going right for Cath. She starts fitting in, she becomes friends with her roommate, and she and Wren are back to being best friends.
A few thoughts about Cath and Wren. First, love that their names make a name: Catherine. Second, love that they are twins and that they find happiness by coming back together as friends. Third, I wish Wren was not so dumb the first part of the book. The scene when they are reunited in the hospital is so sweet. Just wish it hadn’t taken the hospital to have them make up. But I can understand irrational sister fights.
Finally, a few words about the wonderful Levi. Basically, Levi is incredible, and I love that he loves Cath from day one. He is so kind to her and treats her with respect and love. I love how he walks her home from the library, drives her when she is in a panic, eats her protein bars, and loves to hear Cath read. And the special Starbucks drinks. And their first kiss. And his attic room. Yeah, basically love them. I almost expected the book to end with their engagement–they seem so perfect together!
A few things that I didn’t like as much:
- The swearing. It was too much for me–and (I felt) unnecessary.
- The fan fiction. It was a fun idea, and totally relevant to our culture today. But it wasn’t my favorite plot. I enjoyed hearing more about Cath and her experiences than reading her fiction. I can appreciate what it meant to her and how it helped her cope with very difficult things in her life. But I wasn’t crazy about the gay relationship focus. Plus, I felt the journey Cath needed to make throughout the novel was to leave the fan fiction behind–or at least let it become one part of her life rather than her entire life.
Speaking of Cath’s journey, I love the ending when she gives up Simon for Levi and the real world. So great. Cath grows a lot through the book, which I think makes her more relatable, and she finally embraces her life post-Simon. Again, I don’t think she necessarily needs to leave it behind completely, but moving forward into a life that doesn’t focus exclusively on fan fiction is healthy and positive.
And one for shout out to Levi and how darling he is after their fight. “I can’t go 9 hours without seeing you. Let alone 9 days.” I just love him and Cath.
Have you read Fangirl? What did you think?
Any Rainbow Rowell fans out there? What do I need to read next?