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Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlTitle: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Series:  Standalone
Pages:  459
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Date of Publication: 30th January, 2014
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Without Wren, Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate 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. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ...

My Thoughts:

I can't stop fangirling about Fangirl.

I'm SORRY for that awful pun but I couldn't help it, I had to. I don't really know how to start this without just typing I LOVED IT over and over again and getting all gushy. Gah, you guys, Fangirl is just sooo good. I'm thinking it's probably my favourite book of this year so far? And I know I've only read about ten so that's not many but STILL. It's just so perfect in every way and awww SO GOOD.

Sorry, I just needed to get my gushiness out of the way... Onto the actual book!  I was so unsure about whether I would like Fangirl when I first heard of it, so I put it off and put it off until everyone had raved about it so much that I caved and bought it anyway. It took about fifty pages for me to get into it and properly invest myself in the story, but after that I was hooked and couldn't stop reading. Every minute I could spare from revision and homework I spent engrossed in the story and didn't stop until I'd turned the final page.

I think the main thing that I loved about this book was the characters. It's definitely a character driven story, which was really good because lately I've read a lot of action packed books where things don't stop happening throughout the book, so it was really great to take a step back and read something that wasn't a hundred miles an hour the whole way through. I absolutely loved Cath because I could identify with her on so many levels. I appreciated her anxiety at meeting new people and instead of going out to parties all the time, I understood why she wanted to stay in by herself, as while perhaps not as extremely as Cath, I have experience of those feelings. I think Rainbow Rowell handled these issues really well and very realistically, and I enjoyed seeing Cath come out of her shell more and more as the novel went on.

The supporting characters were also great and by the end I'd come to love (nearly) all of them. Levi, obviously, was great - he was so sweet and kind and funny and gah his relationship with Cath, despite its ups and downs, was perfect in every way and aww I just want them to be real! Haha, Reagan was also VERY cool, and while she took a little while to get used to she was one of my favourite characters. Wren's story arc was also written really well, because I think that alcohol can be a big problem for young people at the moment and so Rowell used her to show in a sensitive and realistic way the outcome of drinking too much too often, and I really enjoyed seeing her recovery and realise what was actually important in life.

Cath writes fanfiction about the Simon Snow series, a fictional series by Gemma T Leslie that Rainbow Rowell made up to be the Harry Potter of her story. I've only ever read two pieces of fanfiction and both times I was a little disgusted at what I read (completely unawares that what I was reading was going to be so graphic - fanfiction needs a warning label sometimes! :S ), to be honest, so I've kind of been caught up in the bad name that fanfiction has. However, Fangirl has really changed my mind about it and the sections of the book where Cath reads her fanfiction to Levi actually were some of my favourites. At the end of every chapter, there was a little snippet of either the Simon Snow series, or Cath's fanfiction about that world, and I looked forward to reading bits of Simon Snow's story almost as much as I did Cath's. I wish the Simon Snow books were real, but I guess I'll just have to reread Harry Potter again instead... Rainbow if you read this please can you write the Simon Snow books? ;P

Fangirl is such a fabulous read, it really is. I was surprised by how much I loved it and I genuinely think that there's something in it for everyone, even if you don't think it'll be for you - that's exactly what I thought and I can't stop recommending it and raving about it to other people now. Please go out and buy a copy and read it tonight and don't be daunted by the length! It's SO WORTH IT YOU NEED TO READ IT. It's absolutely perfect.

Also, here's some cool Fangirl fan art that I've found around the interwebs, just because :) If you click the images, they should go to the tumblr where I found them.

SHARING MOMENT GUYS:So, last month I asked people at my book club (yes, I am this brand of loser) if they would like to read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. And they said yes.Later at book discussion a lot of people said that they were very moved by the book, and they could relate so much to Cath because they have been at her place at least once in her life. And this kind of comments are coming from all sorts of people, a lot of them I would never guess had any kind of social anxiety, I mean, they’ve always seem to be so together! How could all of this people feel like Cath, feel like me, and I never noticed before?(It’s a on-line book club, so I haven’t met a lot of this people in person, but I know them for years).But the thing of social anxiety is that makes you feel really, REALLY lonely. Like everyone else got the guide book of How To Live Life and you forgot the memo to get your copy, so you are just this freak walking around not knowing how to proper engage in… Well, anything, really.So it was nice reading this in a group. And giving a chance to all Caths out there to share a little bit of their anxieties and worries. Like, HEY, not diminishing your struggles, but you are not alone in this and you are not a freak and things are going to be ok.

yadykates:Go ‘head girl, go ‘head get down.This is my favorite of all favorites, and I MET yadykates in D.C. this week, and she GAVE THIS TO ME to hang in my new office.I made a very high-pitched noise.

You can find more on Rainbow Rowell's Pinterest page here.


  1. I'm starting this at the weekend with a friend! I've heard mix reviews but after reading yours I'm actually really excited about it, so thank you!


  2. This was the best YA book I've read in a long time. The characters are so well developed and the story was relatable and believable, which seems like a weird thing to say, but often when I read YA, I find the lives of the characters to be a bit hyperbolic. This story was captivating while still rooted in the mundaneness that is the life of a college student.
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