Monday 4 November 2013

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Pages: 448
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: 10th September 2013
Edition: e-book, purchased

Other Titles by this Author: Attachments, Eleanor and Park

A love story about opening your heart by Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park.

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair anymore – she wants to dance, meet boys go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

With Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside 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 civilised 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.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s learning that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible...

Rainbow Rowell’s name has been the name on everyone’s lips for the last few months and finally succumbed to the pressure and began Fangirl. Guys, I bow down to you; you were so, so right.

Now, I don't know about you, but I’ve definitely read my fair share of fanfiction. When I was around fourteen, I spent most of my spare time doing so. I was obsessed with AU and final year Dramione fiction. I found some incredible writers and stories that still pop into my mind on occasion. I have a feeling that a lot of you read it too. Having a novel revolving around a character who writes incredibly popular slash fanfiction is brilliant.

I couldn’t believe how much like Harry Potter the Simon Snow world is; it made me smile, and made me believe Cath’s love of it even more. Cath basically writes Harry and Draco slash and I love it. Having excerpts of Carry On, Simon interspersed throughout Fangirl, and so cleverly, was amazing and I became really involved with Simon and Baz’s story! I really enjoyed that it actually read like fanfiction. I know that might sound silly, but it didn't seem like an accomplished and professional author trying to go back and write fanfiction, it sounded like Cath’s fanfic. It was just so genuine.

Cath in herself is a wonderful heroine. Rainbow Rowell’s portrayal of the true hardships of social anxiety was so appreciated when it is something so often romanticised in YA. The way it extended from her self-imposed immersion in the world of Simon Snow to her reaction to her roommate Reagan to the issues she had with having a relationship. The escape that writing gives her is something that I understand; it’s how reading makes me feel, always has. Her timidity and insecurity with facing everything in the outside world, outside Simon’s world, her fears about people preferring Wren over – it’s all grounded in something concrete, something she can’t just shake off. It’s built into how she thinks and how she feels.

Everything around Cath is so intense and so charged; feelings of all kinds, worries and fears, doubts and insecurities. She could be me, or my best friend, or the girl next door, or you. And she stayed herself throughout the novel, even as she grew and developed. That takes serious talent. One of the things I was more impressed with was that Cath’s wants and desires weren’t undermined or overly sexualised. She had a relationship with a boy she was in love with and she didn't jump into anything because she wasn’t ready. It took nothing away from the intensity, the feeling, the tension of their connection and I just bloody loved it! It was a different step for YA and nothing was compromised. Take that NA.

Fangirl is one of the most beautiful and touching books I've read this year. I finished it wanting to read it all over again.



  1. Yay! I'm so glad you loved this because I loved it too! I've actually bought the hardback version from the US because I need it. I totally agree with everything you said and I, too was a fanfic reader (I feel that enhances the experience of reading this book) Fab, fab review Sophie!

    Cait x

  2. I so need to get on this - it sounds amazingly perfect :)


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