Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Age Group: YA
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?
Summary from Goodreads.
But that's enough about the fan fiction, I think. Let's talk about my favorite part, instead: The Characters.
First, of course, is Cath. I don't know that I've ever read a book with a character like her- she doesn't really fit into any of the YA protagonist stereotypes. She is so scared of change and new people (though her reasons are understandable and sympathetic) that with a less skilled writer, Cath could have been passive, but Rowell makes her jump off the page.
One character that really surprised me (in the best possible way) is Reagan, Cath's roommate. She's brutally blunt and the polar opposite of Cath, and yet their friendship just clicks. The relationships throughout Fangirl are all so complex and complicated and, well, lifelike.
What's really special about Fangirl is the family dynamic. Not only is Cath's dad a single parent, but they are coping with the backlash of a mom who abandoned them. Rowell fully explores Cath's relationship with her dad and with her twin sister, Wren. Wren's development revealed so many sides to her, some of which I didn't necessarily expect.
And then (and then, yes, we can talk about something other than characters, but they're all so good that I can't help it!!!) there's Levi. Reagan's best friend who is bouncy and ultra-personable and charming and super smiley. Levi who may just be one of my biggest book crushes ever. I really don't want to talk about his friendship with Cath too much because it's so special and I don't want to ruin your reading experience (!), but I will say that there should be more people like Levi in the world.
But with all of these relationships and subplots, the most important part is always Cath's personal journey. Fangirl is, at heart, a coming-of-age story, one made all the better with its setting: college. I think this is the first YA book I've read since the 4th Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books that takes place after high school and I LOVED it.
Since this is rapidly turning into a fairly long review, I'm going to start wrapping things up, but please, GO GET A COPY OF FANGIRL. You won't be able to put it down, you'll fall in love with the characters, and you'll fall in love with the book!
A Quote from the Book: "Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity."