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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Review)

New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publication.Date:September 10, 2013
Pages:433 (hardcover)
Published By:  St. Martin's Press
Website:Rainbow Rowell 

Fangirl on Goodreads
My review copy:Won through Goodreads First Reads

Where to get:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

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, 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 feel sorry for you, and I'm going to be your friend."

"I don't want to be your friend," Cath said as sternly as she could. "I like that we're not friends."

"Me, too," Reagan said. "I'm sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic." 
Levi was wearing a black sweater over a white T-shirt. He looked like he'd just gotten a haircut - shorter in the back but still sticking up and flopping all over his face. He called out someone's name and handed a erin to a guy who looked like a retired violin teacher. Levi stopped to talk to the guy. Because he was Levi, and this was a biological necessity.
Cath's eyes were half closed, and so were Levi's - and his lips only looked small from afar, she realized, because of their doll-like pucker. They were perfectly big, really now that she had a good look at them. Perfectly something.

He nudged his nose against hers, and their mouths fell sleepily together, already soft and open.
"This is exactly what the ground rules are for," Reagan said. "Levi is one of my best friends, and I'm your only friend, and I don't want this to get weird."

"Too late," Cath said. "And you're not my only friend."

"I know-" Reagan rolled her eyes and waved a hand in the air. "-you've got the whole Internet."

     I. Love. Everything. EVERYTHING!

     This is my first encounter with Rainbow Rowell and she did not disappoint. It's almost perfect that Joe got his Xbox One the same weekend I started reading Fangirl because we just left each other the hell alone. Perfection, really.

     Fangirl is the realistic story of Cather's first year away from home at college. Cath has a very introvert personality and dislikes new situations, especially when on her own. Her twin sister, Wren, however is very excited for her freshman year of college and dives head first into new friends and new experiences. At the same time, while introvert within her real life Cath is quite popular on the Internet amongst Simon Snow fans as her fan fiction Carry On, Simon is hailed as the eighth book when it comes to fan fiction. She is receiving tens of thousands of hits on day, but spends her free time huddled up in her room and living of protein bars as she is too afraid to go down to the dining hall by herself.

     After being "forced" into a friendship with her roommate, Reagan, Cath begins to come out of her shell; albeit a little bit. Once becoming closer with Reagan, she also beings a friendship/relationship with Levi, Reagan's friend who is always hanging around in their room. One of my favorite parts of the Cath/Levi relationship is the scene with Cath reads The Outsiders to Levi. I won't go into detail so as not to ruin it, but I reread that scene after I finished the book because . . . *sigh* (Note: I may have read it again after writing this review.)

     The romance between Cath and Levi is perfect. It's that slow build that happens more often than not in real life. It's not a "OMG, I love you and need you now" instalove and it's not the friend patiently waiting to be noticed. It's fresh and it's new and it's perfect . . . (I know, I should stop saying it's perfect but it is and I won't) but it's not perfect. (Whoa, contradicting myself!) They have a flawed relationship, but it's flawed in all the right places. Cath worries that she isn't good enough for Levi and when she voices her concerns to Reagan, Reagan tells her to get over it and that Levi already likes her. When she voices her concerns to Levi her proves to her that she is the one he wants above all others. In a super cute example, he tells her that if aliens were to come to Earth, they would have more in common than anybody else and even the aliens would know they were meant to me.

     It did take me a while to warm up to Cath, probably around the time Reagan befriended her is when I accepted Cath as our MC. In my head I know that her social anxiety was a mental thing, but I wanted so badly for to just go out and be a college freshman. Of course at the same time, her sister went to the extreme opposite of Cath. However, both these girls have very true college experiences. You have the girl who is introverted and stays in her room and the girl who goes party hard every weekend and thinks everything is fine.

     The familiar relationships were done very well, too. For the past ten years it has been Art (their father), Cather, and Wren. They have all depended on another to help get them through the years and will depend on another to get them through the turmoil of freshman year and beyond. They have a small family, but you can see that despite their issues they absolutely love one another.

     Fangirl is a great story of a young woman coming into her own through her experiences with family and new friends during her freshman year of college. It is a very cute story and while part of me wanted more, another part of me thinks it's just perfect (there's that word again) as a standalone novel.

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