Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Review: Fangirl

Fangirl

Fangirl is the story of Cath, a young woman who is starting college but doesn’t really want to be there. She would much rather be writing fanfiction online- Simon Snow fanfiction. Cath is an introvert, a devoted geek- and she has a devoted following online. Her and her twin sister Wren have spent years immersed in Simon Snow fandom. It’s safe to say that Simon Snow and fanfiction are her life. But now she is starting college…and for the first time Cath and Wren are drawing apart.

Cath doesn’t really want to change, and is content to spend most of her time in her dorm writing fanfiction. She has no interest in parties, drinking or even a career at this point. Wren, on the other hand, is leaving fandom behind and wants to enjoy everything college has to offer. Cath assumes that she and Wren would room together at college, but when Wren makes other plans Cath has to adjust and ends up rooming with Reagan, a tough chick who smokes. Not exactly Cath’s speed. Not only that, but her charming, always smiling boyfriend is always hanging around too. He’s friendlier than Reagan… and when it becomes apparent that he and Reagan are no longer an item, Cath is drawn to him in spite of herself.

Add to this a creative writing professor who is decidedly unimpressed with fanfiction, problems at home with her dad (who struggles with manic issues), and serious social anxiety, and Cath has her hands full. 

I was very impressed with Fangirl. This is a funny, touching, irreverent coming of age story and is so true to life. Anyone who has ever embraced fandom, be it Star Wars, Harry Potter or whatever will be able to relate to Cath. I laughed throughout the book at the wry observations of geekdom and the pop culture references. I thought it was a fun, quick read and I really cared about Cath, Wren and Levi by the end. Rowell has a knack for describing social situations in a way that seems familiar.

I liked the characters for the most part. Reagan’s a lot of fun. She’s just a little bit cooler than everyone else but when the chips are down she’s there for Cath. The scenes where her and Cath sit in the cafeteria and snarkily compare notes on the other students cracked me up. Levi was a great guy and good for Cath- no artificial angst here, just true to life romantic stuff.  

I could relate to so many things in this story. It was touching to see Cath cope with her social anxieties and grow as a person. I thought this might be a story where at the end we see that Cath has to grow up and leave her fanfiction behind. It was nice to see that yes she has grown- but at the same time she doesn’t have to forget everything she loves. There’s room for that in her life too, because it’s a part of her. I think Rowell did a fantastic job with this.

As a side note- I don’t have a lot of experience with fanfiction but this made me almost want to check some out!

Here's an Excerpt: I really loved this scene, where a guy comes to talk to Cath about something not cool that he did, and Wren and Reagan totally have her back.

"Look, I just need to talk to you." he said. "It won't take long."
"So talk," Wren said.
"Yeah," Reagan said, leaning against the doorjamb. "Talk."
Nick looked like he was waiting for Cath to bail him out, but she wasn't in the mood. She thought about walking away and leaving him here to deal with Reagan and Wren, who were difficult and unpleasant a lot of the time even if they liked you.

15 comments:

  1. I am glad you liked this.
    Great Review Greg! :)

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  2. I have heard so many great things about Fangirl. I don't have any experience with fanfiction either, but the folks who are part of those fandoms are so passionate about it. It's hard not to get curious.

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    1. I know it! Almost makes me want to check some out to see what all the hullabaloo is about.

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  3. That is a great excerpt! This definitely sounds like an intriguing read and I've heard a lot of good things from various people about it. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Cath really sounds like a character I can truly relate to. :)

    Wonderful review!

    Wendy @ Escape Into Fiction

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    1. Thanks Wendy!I loved that part too where Wren and Reaga stand up for her. Too cool! Cath really is written well I found myself relating to her too.

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  4. Awesome review Greg!! Fangirl sounds like a good read and I think I would enjoy it, A LOT!! You have totally won me over and I think I will have to take the plunge and get it!

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace

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    1. I think you'll like it! It's a lot of fun... and it cracked me up at times!

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  5. Great review, Greg. The more I hear about this book, the more interested I get. I keep bumping it farther up my to-read list. My daughter, two nieces, and several younger friends all write fanfic (and all of what I've been privileged to read has been pretty darn good, even discounting my maternal/auntly/friendly bias.) So the fanfic aspect of this book is one of its main attractions for me.

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    1. Thanks Lark! I have a new appreciation for fanfiction now that I've read this. We live in a day and age now when people can engage other fans and yes continue their stories if they wish, and other people can enjoy them. Sounds good to me. Hope you enjoy it when you get to it!

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  6. Great review! I really loved this book (and really loved the author's two previous novels as well). I felt that she did such a great job of capturing the feeling of being a college freshman. My own college experiences were quite different than Cath's, yet Cath goes through so many challenges as she adjusts and grows that seemed completely real. I'm not a fanfic person myself, but I could absolutely relate to getting totally carried away by a book series or beloved character!

    Lisa

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I really loved it too and look forward to reading more from her. It reminded me of college too in a lot of ways. I could relate to Cath, she was so passionate about her fiction and we all have those books or series where we kinda want to stay in that world. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I read another book by this author (Attachments), so I've been eager to try another. This one looks intriguing. Thanks for the review.

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    1. Thank you! I've heard from numerous people that her other two books are very good as well, so I may read those as well!

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  8. I am glad that Fangirl really worked out for you, Greg. The most that I can give it was a 2.5 star rating. I had a hard time relating to the characters. The two things that I loved about the book were its original premise and the snippets of Simon and Bas' story.

    Well, to each his/her own. Great review, Greg!

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