Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication Date: 30 January 2014 (First published 10 September 2013)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
In this novel we follow Cath, an introverted 18-year-old who writes fan fiction about her favourite book series, the Simon Snow series. She is heading off to college with her twin sister, Wren, who wants to embrace the social life and freedom of college. But, Wren also doesn’t want to be roommates with Cath. Cath is way out of her comfort zone, having to deal with a new and eccentric roommate, a fiction-writing professor who doesn’t really see the value in fan fiction, and her dad who is all alone back home. Cath soon begins facing challenges that force her to question whether she is ready or not to start living her own life and leave Simon Snow behind. Can she do it?
I rated Fangirl 4/5 stars based on the characters and their development, the emphasis on family, and Rainbow Rowell’s writing style. But I didn’t enjoy the fan fiction parts or the ending of the novel enough to give it a higher rating. I wanted so badly to fall in love with this book and to give it 5/5 stars but, considering the problems I had, I really couldn’t.
Let’s first talk about what I loved most about this book: THE CHARACTERS. There is nothing more refreshing to find in a novel than a cast of characters who are just ordinary people with their own issues and setbacks, but also with their own unique personalities. The characters are each so different from one another and don’t feel like stereotypical college students in any way. They feel like real people and, because of this, I found that they are all relatable in some way. No matter who reads Fangirl, there will be a character in the novel that they can relate to. These characters are complex in many ways and it was so interesting to read about them. All in all, I really love the characters and I appreciate how complex and unique Rainbow Rowell made them.
There are two other aspects I really enjoyed about Fangirl. One of these aspects is the emphasis on family. It’s not often that YA books place a huge focus on family, but it is definitely a central theme in this novel. Cath’s relationships with her father, sister, and estranged mother are all put to the test. Rainbow Rowell loves to give us just the surface of the family’s problems and the relationships between each member, rather than giving us a ton of background, and I really liked that. Not too many details are given about the family’s problems but its clear that there is tension and I thought this was clever of Rowell to do because it made me more interested in the family dynamics.
Another aspect of the novel that I enjoyed was Rainbow Rowell’s writing style. The writing is so easy to read, understand, and follow. Her style of writing is also simple and humorous which made it a fun and quick book to get through. I especially enjoyed the humour and how Rowell gave her characters their own distinct voices.
Now let’s get into what I didn’t like too much about Fangirl. Even though the characters were great, the focus on family interesting, and the style of writing gripping, I just really needed more. There wasn’t any anticipated climax in this story and it ended with some loose ends. Also, I didn’t really enjoy the fan fiction parts of the novel. I didn’t see the point of putting Cath’s fan fiction at the end of every chapter and I couldn’t follow the fan fiction story well enough to understand what was happening. But, I’m keen to read Rainbow Rowell’s newest novel, Carry On, which focuses on Cath’s fan fiction story.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Mostly because of the characters and how much I related to them. I just wish Rainbow Rowell gave us a bit more. Even an epilogue would’ve done the job for me! Regardless, this was a solid 4-star read. I recommend this to anyone looking for a good contemporary about people discovering and accepting who they are. This was one of my first dives into the YA contemporary genre and I will definitely check out more of Rainbow Rowell’s books soon!
HAVE YOU READ FANGIRL? WHAT DID YOU THINK? COMMENT DOWN BELOW AND LET’S TALK ABOUT IT! 🙂