Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: September 10th, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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?
After waking up each morning and being relentlessly badgered by my co-blogger, Bec, I decided to finally (as she would say) read FANGIRL. I wasn’t the biggest fan of ELEANOR & PARK due to the open ending and language, but FANGIRL was different. I daresay it might be my favorite contemporary of all time. This is one to savor, but if you are like me, you will fly through this novel.
“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”
FANGIRL revolves around Cath, and her first year of college away from her father and twin sister. Cath is used to things being the same, and the change of college without her sister being by her side is a wake-up call. She begins to avoid certain situations, makes no effort to make new friends, and prefers the safety of her own room. But gradually, Cath grows. Grows out of her shell, and grows into herself.
All of us are Cath, or at least some piece of her. We have all experienced the feeling of hopelessness, of being alone in a completely new world, of fearing new challenges, and Rowell lets us travel with Cath through her journey, perfectly telling the story of her coming of age that will remind us of our lives during this period, or perhaps take a little fear away of your first year at college.
Besides our protagonist Cath, there was a wide cast of other characters that came into the story and left something special. Rowell has a knack for writing fantastically believable, realistic characters. Cath makes unlikely friends with her roomate, Reagan and Reagan’s boyfriend, Levi-two of my favorite characters in this book. The dynamic between this trio was amazing, they had humor, they had loyalty, and it was a great experience to see how they all grew not only together, but separately.
The romance between characters developed like a true romance should: slowly, with the foundation being friendship, not lust.
“Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”
It’s a heartwarming romance, but it is also realistic and gives us hope. If love could happen to Cath, it could happen to any of us. Who doesn’t want someone to always be there for them and listen why you read them your writing? Never criticizing, always caring.
Overall, FANGIRL was a truly magnificent contemporary novel that I can not express my love for enough. Even if you were not a fan of ELEANOR & PARK, you need to check this one out.