The Compulsive Reader: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

When Cath and her twin sister Wren get ready to head to college, Cath takes for granted that the sisters will room together. But Wren doesn't want Cath for a roommate. In fact, Wren thinks that it's time that Cath gets over her shyness, her obsession with the Simon Snow book series, the Simon Snow fan fiction that Cath writes, and the fact that their mother left them as kids. Cath's fan fiction has been her entire life for so many years—how is she supposed to get over the only thing that has been a refuge for so long?

Fangirl is possibly one of the best novels that presents an homage to nerdom of the early 21st century. Cath's story will resound with anyone who has ever preferred the company of books over people, and with those that willingly dressed up in costumes for midnight releases—multiple times. Cath's uncertainty throughout her first semester of college is palpable—she won't go to the dorm cafeteria because she doesn't know how it works—and her acerbic wit helps get her through all of the awkward moments. Roommate Reagan and her shadow Levi are endlessly entertaining and great friends, even though Cath is cautious of their kindness at first. The relationship between Cath and Wren is both complicated and simple; Wren isn't always very nice to her sister, but Cath loves her no matter what happens. Over the course of their first year of college their relationship changes a lot as each girl learns a lot about herself and each other before coming back to their shared love of Simon Snow. Rowell sprinkles excerpts from this fictitious series and Cath's own fan fiction throughout the novel to give a context to Cath's fandom, and they're a nice addition as long as they aren't taken too seriously. Complete with a tender, tentative romance that is just as memorable as the one in Eleanor & Park, Fangirl is an excellent coming of age story, hysterically funny and delightfully nerdy.

Cover Comments: This cover surprised me when I first saw it--it really reminds me of a graphic novel with the cartoon-like drawings and the speech bubbles. I don't think I'd ever seen anything quite like it on a YA cover (although it does resemble the cover for Eleanor & Park). I really like it, though! The colors are cool, but I hope it doesn't deter any male readers.

Fangirl will be released on September 10th, 2013. Start the countdown.

ARC picked up at BEA.

Oh, and when I picked up a copy of this at BEA, my nails just happened to look like this. Totally unintentional, but you better believe that I went out and bought the nail polish after this. Fangirl nail art FTW!


Christina T said...

I haven't read Eleanor & Park yet (I will be reading it soon) but this sounds really good. I like that it is about the relationship between two sisters and college life. I think Cath sounds like a character I could relate to as well. Great review! Can't wait to read the book.

Amanda said...

I am so psyched to read this book. From the little I know about it, I think it makes sense when you say that it's like a homage to early 21st century nerdom. It sounds like something many Harry Potter fans in particular can appreciate. And I love that Rowell provides context through snippets of Cath's fan fiction. I imagine I'd be a bit disappointed reading a book about a fan fiction writer and reading none of the fan fiction. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much!

The Compulsive Reader said...

Amanda: I have a friend who just got hung up on the fanfic bits, but I think they really added to the story, and I guess on a superficial level, they weren't necessary. Just lots of fun!

Cath Brookes said...

This book has something to love for every type of reader. There isn't anyone I wouldn't recommend it to, although I think girls in their teens and twenties will find it most appealing. And for them, I say it should be required reading. There is little to no chance that you'll regret it!
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