Warnings: swearing, sexual inferences, mild mental illness (mentions of panic attacks, anxiety), alcohol.
Author: 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?’
This was a really cute, light read that still had twists and turns with emotional highs and lows. (I read some of it last night and most of it on trains and tubes in London today). The cover was one of the things that attracted me to this book on the colourful Amazon recommended page; it’s cute, simplistic and definitely something that I thought I would enjoy. The main character’s wardrobe full of t-shirts, cardigans and jeans is something that I related to, maybe a bit too much.
The relationship that the main character has is so sweet, and probably one of the most natural feeling relationships I’ve ever read. It wasn’t like the books where there was no chemistry between the characters yet the author stuck them together anyway – they seemed like they were a good pair for each other from the start. As well as this, the love interest (trying not to give anything away) isn’t the classic perfectly handsome Romeo. Rowell gives him some things that may make him seem imperfect, but in the end the reader still ends up loving the character and wishing they had someone like him.
Cath, the main character, writes fanfiction about a book series within the book – Simon Snow. It kind of seems like a different version of the Harry Potter series. At the end of each chapter of Fangirl, there is either an excerpt from one of the Simon Snow books, or some of one of Cath’s fanfictions. This makes the reader feel closer to the characters within that fandom, and a connection with Cath, allowing us to share her love of the characters and want the relationship between Simon and Baz to happen as much as Cath and her twin sister Wren do.
The only thing that really irritated me about this book was that any texts between characters had no capital letters. None. And the spelling in some of them was terrible as well – which was understandable because the character was supposed to seem dyslexic, but even then, they were spelling errors that autocorrect would have fixed, and phones normally capitalise the first letter of sentences anyway.