10 October 2013


Author: Rainbow Rowell
Series: Stand Alone
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Released: 10 September 2013
Summary: courtesy of goodreads.com A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
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 Review:  Every once in a while a book comes along that reminds you what it’s like to be alive.  I won’t lie, I’ve been reading a lot of fantasy books lately.  Don’t get me wrong, fantasy books are awesome.  My favorite genre though, is contemporary.  A genre that Rainbow Rowell excels at.  I read Eleanor and Park at the beginning of the year and was a little mixed about it for a while, I had never read anything like it before.  I knew I liked it, but I wasn't sure if I loved it, but when I saw Fangirl at the store (for an obscenely good price – without the shipping wait on Amazon) I picked it up without a second thought (I’ll admit there was a LOT of cover love going on).  Then I got home, realized I still had to read a few books for work, etc. and would fall asleep every night staring longingly at Fangirl, waiting for the moment when I could devote my whole world to reading it, because I knew (you know when you have that feeling – you see a book and you just know it’s going to change you? – That’s the feeling I had.) it was going to demand my attention.  And it did.
First up, I will admit – I didn’t realize Simon Snow was a Harry Potter-esque character – for some reason I thought he was the lead singer in a boy band (I OBVIOUSLY did not read the blurb closely enough), this was quickly dispelled when I opened this book and read the first page - which I loved – I literally loved this books from page one! (har har).  And, although I am not a stranger to fanfiction (I’ve never written any – but I read a lot of it growing up) Fangirl took me into a whole new world – while never leaving this one.
I identified with Fangirl more than I thought I would.  Leaving your family behind to go to college, the feelings of separation and loss, discovering yourself for the first time and struggling with that.  I liked that Cath had problems, that she had anxiety.  I loved that she had people willing to love her anyway – like Reagan and Levi (I LOVED Reagan, why did I not have a roommate like Reagan in college?!)  I also loved how incredibly real this novel was.  I felt like a lot of this novel was my college experience (except my English teachers weren’t nearly as fun).  I remember hitching rides home on the weekend – being really scared to try and find the dining hall – rooms the size of most people’s closets – thinking that my college experience was the definition of adulthood and then graduating and realizing it was just a stepping stone.
Fangirl perfectly depicts the American college experience – for me.  It’s a novel about growing up and becoming the adult and the friend to your parents and siblings instead of the child and the sister. Rowell perfectly captures the emotions, and the situations of what its like to be a freshman in the most beautiful and enamoring way possible.  I don’t want to think of what the world would be like without books by authors like Rainbow Rowell in it.  Definitely less beautiful, and a lot let feeling, and a lot less awesome.  (seriously though – a LOT less awesome).
And that last page – gah.  I actually had tears in my eyes – WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE OVER?!  I highlighted it and have been repeating it over and over to myself.  “Ready or not here I come.  Here I come, ready or not.”  Never have I identified with a book more in one sentence then I did there.  Rainbow Rowell - here is me, promising to read everything you write from now until the end of days.

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