Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
In-Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone
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, and 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?
I loved this novel SO MUCH, there are literally no words. My experience reading it went a little bit like this:
My favorite types of books are the ones that speak directly to you; the ones that resonate so deeply within your psyche that you feel as though you’re actually learning things about yourself in the process. I am a “fangirl” – which is why the title of this book immediately caught my eye. I’d never read anything about a fandom before. I was curious as to how the whole fandom/online world was going to be portrayed in a book, so I bought myself a copy and started reading the minute I got home.
I was hooked. Fangirl was so different from all the other books I’d read; and it was my first time reading one of Rainbow Rowell’s novels. I can honestly say, after I finished it, she became one of my favorite authors. I loved that there was nothing over-the-top within the whole plot – there was no heavy drama – the story simply thrived in its delicate simplicity, and offered power through its unique relatability.
Simon Snow, the fictional character that Cath, the main character in this book, is so passionate about, reminded me a lot of Harry Potter. I think Rainbow Rowell (ugh I never get tired of saying her name. I mean how cool is the name “Rainbow”? Am I right??) intended it to be that way – the whole “Simon Snow” world was supposed to remind you of Harry, Ron, Hermione and their wizarding world. Since I’m a massive Harry Potter fan, I deeply connected with Cath and her passion for these characters – I knew exactly what she was going through.
If you’re someone who’s stayed up reading into the early hours of the morning; or binge-watching your favorite Netflix show and finishing a season in a day; or dressing up as your favorite fictional character on Halloween or for Comic Con; or waiting in the line of a bookstore on the day of the release of the next book in a series… you will be able to relate as well.
Whether you find yourself in the insecure girl who’s afraid of life; the happy-go-lucky guy always ready with a smile; the self-centered sister; the deceitful friend; the emotionally disabled dad; the outspoken, honest roommate; the talented but uncertain writer; the intellectual or the one who falls short; the life of the party or the one hiding in the shadows — there are bits and pieces of everyone scattered throughout this story; representing all the highs and lows that make us exactly who we are. The writing was phenomenal – it was fluid and natural; the dialogue was effortlessly funny and witty; and there were pockets of insight that were never thrown in your face, but hidden, waiting for the right moment to present themselves. Although this story was a fun read, there was a subtle coat of reality – and that’s what made me fall in love with it. It portrayed broken families, feelings of not being good enough, smart enough, pretty enough… perfectly.
I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before: “That moment when you finish a book, look around, and realize that everyone is just carrying on with their lives as though you didn’t just experience emotional trauma at the hands of a paperback” – that was definitely me after reading this book. I loved it, and was heartbroken when it was over.
I could honestly blab on forever and ever about how GREAT this book was, but I doubt that would make for a decent review :p Fangirls and Fanboys of the world, read this book. I can guarantee you will find yourself within its pages and realize you aren’t that crazy after all, and you most certainly do not have to apologize for being passionate about something you love.
“I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”
“Seriously. Look at you. You’ve got your shit together, you’re not scared of anything. I’m scared of everything. And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster.”
“It’s just… everything. There are too many people. And I don’t fit in. I don’t know how to be. Nothing that I’m good at is the sort of thing that matters there. Being smart doesn’t matter—and being good with words. And when those things do matter, it’s only because people want something from me. Not because they want me.”
“She didn’t have words for what Levi was. He was a cave painting. He was the red balloon. ‘You’re magic.’ she said.”
“Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity.”
“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”
*DISCLAIMER* If you have not read this book yet, I’d really recommend not going through the comments section in case there’s a spoiler. You can always come back here later to discuss after you’ve read the book! (Or contact me if you want to talk about it beforehand)