Sunday, November 3, 2013
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is about a set of eighteen year old identical twins, Cath and Wren, who are heading off for their first year of college. They both wrote Simon Snow fan fiction growing up and have a large following. Wren has decided to move on to boys, drinking, and partying once she is on campus while Cath is still living her life via the Internet. She attends her classes, but she would rather spend her free time locked in her dorm room writing about Simon Snow.
Cath's roommate, Reagan, is a junior and eventually starts to help Cath come out of her shell. Cath becomes friends with Reagan's ex-high school boyfriend Levi, which becomes a little awkward as Cath realizes they may be more than just friends. Levi is the complete opposite of Cath. He is very outgoing and friendly. Cath thinks that because he is two years older he is far more worldly and experienced than she is. There is no way they could have anything in common, right? WRONG....
The one thing that I really liked about this story is that it isn't a "boy meets girl they fall instantly in love" sort of story. Levi and Cath are friends. They have issues like everyone, but they learn from their mistakes and grow from them in the process. I was "rooting for them" (if you have read the book...you understand the significance of that sentence) and I was very happy with how it ended.
At the end of every chapter there was an excerpt from one of the Simon Snow books or from some of Cath and Wren's fan fiction. Cath also reads several sections of her fan fiction to Levi throughout the book. It was interesting to hear parts of the story, but I found them to be confusing at times. Do these books really exist? Maybe it is because I don't know the story or the characters that I couldn't really appreciate those sections as much as I probably should have.
I did love the rest of the story about Cath, Wren, Reagan, and Levi. They are all such unique characters, but they all needed each other in some fashion. This is the first book of Rainbow's that I have read. I really enjoyed her writing style and will definitely read more of her books in the futures.
I have had so many misses with this book. First, I saw it on Netgalley. I read the description and thought, "Ehh.." and didn't request it. Then I was literally in the line at BEA for Rainbow Rowell's signing, but I got out to go to Holly Black's line. (I was #199 or #200 in that one, so I kind of don't regret that.) Finally, with all the raving I was hearing about this book, I suggested to the Book Nerds that we make this our October read.
I've never read any of Rainbow Rowell's books, but I've seen and heard great things about both Eleanor & Park and Attachments. Now, after reading Fangirl, I hope to read the other two as well. There were two things in particular that made this book great. First: the characters. Hands down, Rainbow's strength as a writer -- at least judging by this book, which is the only one of hers I've read -- are her characters. They are so quirky and real and lovable. Mostly quirky! At first I thought Cath was a little extreme, but the more I learned about her history and growing up -- aka her parents -- it made sense. Levi is officially on my Fictional Boyfriend List. I loved all the description about him and how lovingly Cath saw his imperfections. She thought that they were beautiful and so I did as well. Also, Levi's personality was just amazing. He was the perfect gentleman -- always chivalrous, always letting Cath know how he felt, but never pushing her. I need Levi in my life! I mean, I used to live in Lincoln, NE and why wasn't he there when I was?!?!? Granted, I was like 10 years old, and Levi is a fictional character, but that's just details.
The second thing that made this book really great for me was the actual fangirl part. It is no surprise that I am a fangirl. I fangirl New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments...and on, and on, and on. I was literally laughing and smiling at some of things Cath said -- like, at one point she said something to Reagan about how's she big in the fandom and I was thinking, "I know!" I, by no means, am a Magicath in any of my fandoms, but at the risk of sounding arrogant, I do think I am recognized in at least some of them. Reagan was basically like, "What?!?!" and that made me laugh -- because I know that I sound just like Cath when trying to explain some detail of the Hunger Games fandom to some of my friends.
I completely understand why this book got all the hype it did. I read it in a weekend and enjoyed the ride the entire time.