Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review! Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Say what you want, but I have a hard time believing that you can't be a fangirl. There's a little squeaming, screaming, obsessing fangirl living inside of all of us - so mmmaybe I'd be most freaked out knowing you weren't a fangirl. And in my rage of fangirlish bookishness, I *finally* got my hands on Rainbow Rowell's latest novel, Fangirl

About Fangirl
Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Published: September 10th, 2013
Pages: 433
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult (Contemporary/Family Life/Romance)

Goodreads / Barnes and Nobles / Amazon

SUMMARY: 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?

My rating? ★ 

One word: LOVE.

It is safe to say that I am in love with Rainbow Rowell's writing. Crazy, I know. But I am truly in love with this book (which, would be perfectly suffice to say if I had not been fangirling and fangirling over this book to begin with-- but still. Not in a creepy way, I swear . . . Moving on--) I'm in love with Simon Snow, Levi, just the whole universe Rowell created in her world of words--everything. I love. It's just one of those books where I honestly, swear, wished, hoped that the story couldn't end. Rowell's Fangirl took my fangirl notch and set it in overdrive, and I don't think I ever can talk about this book without fangirling to begin with. Seriously. It definitely broke my boring book streak!

Cath loves Simon Snow (love being a *complete* understatement .  . .) She's starting her freshman year at college, and she can't quite seem to shake the past of the fandom of behind. She's got a hit fanfiction on the Simon Snowiverse, and now caught up in her studies, Cath can't quite shake off the past of the fandom behind her. Now on her own, Cath must come to terms to what she wants for herself, for her dad, for her future and most importantly: writing her own story.

Cath's been working on her fanfiction Carry On, Simon for a super long time. She prefers being alone, writing, eating protein bars, being a part of the whole Simon Snow fandom. It isn't so much because Cath is a loner, crazy (though sometimes, she convinces herself she is), but Cath is really socially awkward. That, being one of the many things I love about Cath's character. And it's really rare when I actually come to like the protagonist, but something about Cath was genuinely likable yet she still has her many flaws like any other teenage girl; she's weird, she's quirky, she's savvy--she knows how to write a damn good fanfiction, too. She's really relatable to book readers; I could relate to her easily. If anything, I never found a character I could relate to as much as Cath Avery.

Not only Cath, but the whole rainbow of colorful characters really brings some life to Fangirl in a way I hadn't been expecting. There's Levi--a farmboy with his never-ending smiles, his acre-long Widow's peak... *swoons* Let's not forget Cath's twin sister Wren (who totally breaks the barrier that all twins think alike, talk alike; Cath n' Wren ((see the pun on their name?)) totally don't), Cath's roommate Reagan, even Cath & Wren's dad-- point being, all characters are given their fair share of characterization, unique dialogue. They all connected together well, the quirky cast of different personalities blended so nicely sometimes even I felt myself smiling all wide like Levi.

I was sort of expecting a great chunk of the novel to be fangirling (self note: don't take the title so literal) but it didn't. In fact, the farther you go on in the book, you realize that it is a little fangirling, fanfiction, fandoms-- yet there's so, so much more to it. It's first loves, there's family, there's--ah, okay if I get too ahead of myself, I think I'll fangirl myself out with spoilers!

However, while there are moments when Fangirl can fall flat on its nose, there's always another string of action and excitement and romance that can just pull you back again, like a fish on a hook. I couldn't put Fangirl down, and I don't think there was ever a point where I wanted to. And considering it's genre, the amount of pages might seem a little daunting. 433 pages on contemporary fiction? Pluh-eese. But totally worth all the pages, because one way or another, Rainbow Rowell squeezes another story in there to keep the story reeling. There isn't so much a plot, but it felt more like real life; there's always something to keep you on your toes, and plots can't die by tying up the loose ends within a story. Or well . . . as real as fiction can be.

Fangirl is one of the first Rainbow Rowell books I've read, and I'm happy this is the one I started with. It has just enough romance, just enough drama, just enough characterization, charming dialogue, and sentiment to keep it going. After desperately awaiting to get Fangirl, I can easily say it was worth the wait--and from all the buzz I've seen on the blogesphere, worth the hype too. And nooo, you do not have to be a fangirl to give a Rainbow Rowell book a try. Fans of Harry Potter, fantasy novels, romance, fandoms, or contemporary books will definitely come to love Fangirl and Rowell's written charm. Definitely recommend!  

Also, did I mention Fangirl's quotes are totally quotable? And awesome? Well, they are. Loved this page in the book . . .

Here's a preview of my Fangirl fanfiction . . . (click to enlarge)

What do you think? Will you be picking up Fangirl? Loved to hear your thoughts on the book!