Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Expected Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Source: BEA 2013
Reviewer: Jenn
Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Goodreads / IndieBound

My rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is 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 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 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

       Fangirl rocked, ok. It totally did. I loved it. Cath is my girl and I want Reagan to be my friend even though she kinda scares me and I want Levi because he's swoony and is willing to walk me to and from the library at night just so I'm safe. He also wants you to read to him and he doesn't care if it fanfiction. My kind of guy. I love him.

I managed to get an ARC of this book by pure luck. I had just left the autograph area at BEA and I headed to Bloomsbury to try and get an ARC of Crown of Midnight and was too late. Macmillan was right next to it and I saw people lining up and I asked someone for what it was. Lo and behold, Rainbow Rowell was signing ARCs of Fangirl so in line I went.

I should point out that I am a fangirl myself and I was and still sort of read fan fiction on occasion. So this book was definitely something up my alley. Cath is a fangirl. She lives and breathe Simon Snow. She writes fan fiction and is completely immersed in the fandom. Cath and her twin sister, Wren,  are off to college but Wren is looking to distance herself from Cath and Simon Snow. So being in college and rooming with a stranger has Cath feeling pretty down. Her roommate, Reagan, is hardly ever in the room, which is a relief for Cath but when she is, she’s always accompanied by her always there and always wanting to chat, friendly boyfriend, Levi. Cath tries to stay away from them but unfortunately there’s no where to go since she doesn’t have any friends.

Reagan, like Cath, intimidated me but then I came to love her. She’s the kind of person I wish I had around when I was in high school and even in college. She has this I-don’t-care-what-anyone thinks looks that really helps Cath in coming out of her shell. She is also there for Cath when she was, in her words, most pathetic.

“You’re making me feel sorry for you again,” Reagan said.
Cath turned her fork on Reagan. “Don’t feel sorry for me. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me.”
“I can’t help it,” Reagan said. “You’re really pathetic.”

After this, I couldn’t help but want to be her BFF.

Levi, OMG, Levi is the swooniest. He’s this geeky, nice guy that you just can’t help but love. He’s nice to everyone even when they’re not. He doesn’t get mad and doesn’t yell. He’ll take care of you in the nicest, sweetest ways. When Levi and Cath kissed, I about died. It was just so right and ahh!

He nudged his nose against hers, and their mouths fell sleepily together, already soft and open. 
But she was so tired.
And his mouth was so soft.
And nobody had ever kissed Cath like this before.
Levi's kissing were all taking. Like he was drawing something out her with soft little jabs of his chin.

And like Cath, I can’t even stay mad at him.

"It means... I really like you." His hand was in his hair again. Just the one. Holding it back. "Like, really like you. And I want that kiss to have been the start of something. Not the end."

I thought that Cath character development was really well done. She first started off as this sad and pathetic girl who wouldn't socialize and always writing about Simon Snow and afraid to really talk to her sister and other people. But she grew as the novel progressed. She finally realized that there is more to her than Simon Snow, she and Wren talked things out and she also let go of the anger that she had towards her mother. I love who Cath had become by the end of book.

Rainbow Rowell managed to capture my heart with Fangirl. I fell in love with her characters and with her story. I thought that Fangirl was really well done but I could have done without so much of the Simon Snow stories. I know Cath was reading them to Levi but it could have been avoided but just “fade to black” so to speak. However, other than that, I loved the book and I look forward to getting a finish copy for my book shelf.


  1. I recently read Attachments and loved it so I can't wait to read this book (and I really love college novels). I don't think I've read one negative review. ~Pam


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