Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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, 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? (-Synopsis from Goodreads)

Title: Fangirl
Author:  Rainbow Rowell
Publication Date: 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Number of Pages: 433
Where I Got It: Barnes & Noble, Huntersville, NC
Dates I Read It: October 22 - October 25, 2013
Number of Stars: 5/5
Read it For: Pure Pleasure!

I've been listening to a lot of Paramore lately, and one song of theirs has this lyric in in that makes me think of this book: "Some of us have to grow up sometimes, and so if I have to I'm gonna  leave you behind." This is the ultimate book of what it is like to grow up and leave your childhood self behind. This book is so amazing because at one point in our lives, we, all of us, have this happen to us. This transformation can be extremely detrimental when first we realize that it has happened. I was very impressed with the way that Cath handled growing up and transforming into an adult. She does so through grace and a maturity that I am envious of!
I loved this book so much I can not describe it with words. I found so much of myself and the things that I have been going through present in this book. There are so many positive aspects of Fangirl, I will never be able to cover them all in this one review. But lets start with the first wonderful thing about the novel: the characters. Each and every character in the story is fully rounded.  Rarely do I ever discover a novel in which I adore every single character; usually I despise at least 2/3 of the characters in a novel. With Fangirl though, I felt like the people in this book were my actual, real-life friends! I was able to identify a lot with our main character, and even some with her twin sister, Wren, and even with her eccentric roommate Reagan! Even if you yourself can't find a specific character to relate to, the best part about this book is that if you are a reader, then you can identify with the overall theme of the book. Reading Fangirl will make you recount your own experiences with those books that formed the reader that you turned out to be. It was apparent throughout the entirety of the book that Rowell herself is a huge reader. She captured the magic of the experience of reading a story perfectly!
The writing in this book flowed very well. I would sit down for my nightly one-hour allotted reading time and get lost in the flow of the story and end up reading for three (oops). Dialogue between characters is always difficult. It's difficult to read and it's very difficult to write. The dialogue between characters in this story felt very natural and was never distracting.  I am so excited to read more books by Rowell (and, like I mentioned in my #FridayReads post for this week, I get to go see her at Yallfest in less than TWO WEEKS!). 
The plot was amazing as well. It was honest and never boring and, for me at least, 100% relatable. The story was set in Nebraska (where Rowell lives) but it could have been any town USA. I actually imagined Cath's university as the school I attended (go Spartans!).
I cried when this book was over. It didn't have a sad ending, far from it, actually, but I cried because it was over and because I didn't have any more of Cath and Wren and Levi and Regan to read about. This was one of those books that when it was over (and after I was done crying), I thought to myself: "damn! I wish that I'd written that!"
I would never hesitate to recommend this book. I would recommend it especially to high school seniors about to go to college. I wish that this book was around when I left for college. I also would recommend that 20-something girls who have that love of reading experience this book. I think that we all can relate to Cath's resistance to leave behind beloved characters from our youth (helllllloooooo Harry Potter!). Give this book a shot, I doubt that you will be disappointed!

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