5 squealing stars.
Fangirl by Rainbow
Rowell follows the story of Cather Avery, a 18-year-old college
freshman hailing from Omaha, Nebraska who is obsessed with a franchise
called Simon Snow. (Think Harry Potter.*) Cather is a twin who was
raised by a mentally unstable father and an absent mother, and suffers from anxiety. She finds solace, comfort and acceptance
in the world of Simon Snow, but has sort of forgotten how to live in her
When I was younger, I loved writing fanfiction. I never
"fangirled" over books (that would happen when I was older and started
reading Game of Thrones...) but I fangirled like craxy over
video games. My fanfictions were various stories using the characters
from franchises like Kingdom Hearts, FFX, FFVII, most of the Final
Fantasies... and even a few anime, like Sailor Moon. But then I got
older and my fangirl tendencies seemed to have faded away. (For the
most part. Damn you, George R. R. Martin.) (Just kidding, I love you.)
being said, I really couldn't identify with Cather. She is reclusive,
scared and avoids nearly all human contact, which is about as
opposite of me as it gets. To be honest, when the book first began, I
was afraid I was going to end up disliking the novel because I couldn't get
over how clingy she was. However, Rainbow Rowell has a gift. Not only
did I get over Cath's imperfections, I ended up really liking her, even
before she began to open her eyes to the real world. This speaks wonders about the author, because she was able to create a sense of empathy in me for a character that I originally found irritating.
got me rooting for her. I wanted her to go out and have fun with her
room mate. I wanted her to be a regular 18-year-old girl and not have
to worry about her possibly-alcoholic twin,
disappearing-and-now-reappearing mother and her
wonderful-but-sadly-disturbed father. I became invested in her problems and her terrible coping skills.
Cath grow was fulfilling. When she finally began going out with her
room mate, Reagan (who was a hilarious and very real character), and
starting her own romance with Levi (a sweet, adorable 21-year-old with
the patience of a saint), I felt really satisfied as a reader. Rowell
gently led into Cath's growth and I felt like I was growing with her.
Of course she still did things I didn't understand (like hold a kiss over
Levi's head for three months... get over yourself, girl), but by then I
understood her so thoroughly that it made sense.
also grows as a writer. As her personal world is broadened from the world of
Simon Snow to her own, she realizes the endless possibilities that she
could write. About herself. About her world. That was a great
metaphor for how she had finally accepted her reality. She grows as a writer as she grows as a young adult, subtly yet powerfully.
absolutely adored this book. The characters were so fleshed out and
real that I felt like I was reading a book about my own friends. Rainbow Rowell, next to having a fantastic name, has a fantastic writing style that is easy to read, easy to relate to and funny.
is mention of Harry Potter in this book, which sort of confused me. She
set up Simon Snow as the Harry Potter of that universe and then threw
in HP randomly... I sort of wish that had been edited out. I don't
understand the reasoning for that inclusion