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Fangirl: A Novel

Average Rating 4.5
( 171 )
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(120)

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(31)

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(11)

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(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

33 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

You guys, I¿ve gone and done it again¿ I¿ve fallen in love with

You guys, I’ve gone and done it again… I’ve fallen in love with Rainbow Rowell’s characters and their stories. There’s so much I love about this book (like, every. single. thing. about it) and I’m going to try not to gush. Too much. I don’t feel like I can truly do this...
You guys, I’ve gone and done it again… I’ve fallen in love with Rainbow Rowell’s characters and their stories. There’s so much I love about this book (like, every. single. thing. about it) and I’m going to try not to gush. Too much. I don’t feel like I can truly do this book justice with a review, but I’m going to try.

“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”

Cath is a nerd. She writes slash fan fiction about Simon Snow, boy magician, using the name Magicath. She’s such a Simon Snow fan and writes such complex fan fic, she has a fan base of her own. She’s a big deal in certain circles online. Real life is a little different. She’s insecure and lives in the shadow of her twin sister, Wren. While Wren likes to party, chase boys and experience all life has to offer, for better or worse, Cath is more reserved. She’d much rather spend the night writing and fostering her online friendships than hanging out at parties or in bars. She’s so introverted at times that it’s almost painful. But, she’s an easy character to identify with. She’s as awkward as can be, but she’s lovable, strong and smart. She’s loyal to those she’s closest to, even when they might not deserve it. She’s completely adorkable. I loved her almost immediately, but “Emergency Kanye Party” solidified it for me.

“There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.”

Cath and Wren head off to their new lives in college at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For the first time in their lives, they won’t be living together. It’s time for each of them to experience life without being a crutch for the other. Cath’s new roommate, Reagan, is pretty much her polar opposite. She’s a partier. She’s always out with a different guy, despite the fact that Levi is always hanging out in her room. Cath assumes they’re dating, but the truth is more complicated than that. Somewhere along the way, Levi becomes more than “Reagan’s friend.” He’s Cath’s friend and confidant. He’s there for her. Their chemistry is strong and sweet.

“Oh, put that away,” Cath said with distaste. “I don’t want you to get charm all over my sister – what if we can’t get it out?”

“She didn’t have words for what Levi was. He was a cave painting. He was The Red Balloon. She lifted her heels and pulled him forward until his face was so close, she could look at only one of his eyes at a time. “You’re magic,” she said.

I adored Levi from the moment he appeared on the pages. He’s an adorable farm boy. He’s sweet and thoughtful. He always went out of his way to try to include Cath, despite being turned down again and again. There was more to him than met the eye, as Cath began to find out. When he began meeting her at the library to walk her home from study “dates” with her classmate, Nick, I started to hope there was a glimmer of something more there.

“Cath liked Levi. A lot. She liked looking at him. She liked listening to him – though sometimes she hated listening to him talk to other people. She hated the way he passed out smiles to everyone he met like it didn’t cost him anything, like he’d never run out. He made everything look so easy… ”

As you might expect, Cath was completely out of her element at college. She was so uncomfortable in new situations that she was afraid to try to find the dining hall, so she was more or less living off energy bars. Reagan and Levi finally force her somewhat out of her comfort zone and get her out and about. For a girl with very little social life, Cath has the attention of several guys. Throughout the story there’s Able, her quasi-boyfriend from home, her study-date/writing-partner Nick, and Levi. I’ll let you find out for yourself how that all shakes out though. There’s so many sweet, swoon-worthy scenes and good, old-fashioned teenage angst that you need to experience it all for yourself.

“Apparently, I’m good for something,” Wren said. “You keep stealing all my best lines.”

Wren is a minor character in the majority of the book, at least in a physical sense. She’s not around very often. She’s off doing her own thing, leaving Cath to live her own life. To find herself. While they shared some of the same friends and interests pre-college, I’m not entirely sure Wren and Cath could be any different. They each went through a lot in this novel. I think they both wound up stronger and better because of the events that occurred though. I think their relationship with each other, while different than it was when they left for school, became more solid, too. It wasn’t an easy road though.

“I feel like… what happened last night was just an aberration. Like it could only have happened in the middle of the night, when he and I were both really tired. Because if it had been daylight, we would have seen how inappropriate it was -”

“How do you feel when I smile at you?” he asked – and then he did smile at her, just a little.
“Like an idiot,” she said softly. “And like I never want it to stop.”

The romance in this book was absolutely swoon-worthy in that way only young adult books can be. It was sweet and innocent. It just made me smile. I was absolutely charmed by nearly every character in this book. At the end, despite the fact that there wasn’t a cliffhanger and really, everything was resolved, I was in no way ready to give these characters up. I’ve had such a book hangover from them it’s been nearly impossible to think about writing this review.

“I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”

“But you’re so helpless sometimes. It’s like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box.”

Whether they’re main or secondary, Rainbow Rowell writes amazing characters. They’re real. I want to know them personally. By the end of the book, I feel like I do know them. This book was absolutely no exception. Reagan was just what Cath needed in a roommate. She was sassy and outgoing. She pushed Cath. She helped her grow. I want her to be my friend. Professor Piper also helped Cath come into her own. She was everything a professor should be. She was supportive, but she still pushed her. Cath became a better writer because of it. Cath’s father was another favorite. He was complicated. He had issues. But, he was a great dad. I loved their banter.

“But it’s just so good. Nobody writes Simon and Baz like Magicath. I’m in love with her Baz. Like, in love. And I used to be a major Simon/Agatha shipper.”

“Sometimes…,” Cath said, “when I’m reading canon, I forget that Simon and Baz aren’t in love.”

One of the things I loved most about this book was the way that Rowell integrated the fan fiction so well with Cath’s real life story. This is something most authors couldn’t pull off, but she does it absolutely flawlessly. First of all, I just loved reading the Simon Snow stories. It took me back to the days where I would read a TON of Harry Potter fan fiction to get through the excruciating wait between books. I read more Harry/Draco slash than I should probably admit. (Don’t judge me.) I loved seeing what the fan fic writers did with J.K. Rowling’s characters in an alternate universe. I enjoyed reading what Cath did with Simon and Baz in her stories. The world-building in the fan fic and the Simon

posted by kimberlyfaye on September 19, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

This book seemed great from the reviews and synopsis, but after

This book seemed great from the reviews and synopsis, but after I payed (way more than it was worth) for it and brought it home, I was very disappointing. There was very little character development, a very boring plot, and quite frankly I was reading unit the end becau...
This book seemed great from the reviews and synopsis, but after I payed (way more than it was worth) for it and brought it home, I was very disappointing. There was very little character development, a very boring plot, and quite frankly I was reading unit the end because I was still waiting for the climax of the story. The next thing I knew, it was over. Nothing really happens in this book; no climax. boring characters, very predictable, and a huge disappointment. I may as well have just stopped reading halfway through and it would have had the same effect. Not sure why most of other reviews are positive when it is one of the worst books I have ever read and the one thing that I most regret buying after the fact. I recommend borrowing the book from someone before you buy it. If you like it, great, good for you, go ahead and buy it. But I really wish I had read it before paying through the nose for the most pointless book I've ever read.

posted by 16976972 on May 13, 2014

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  • Posted September 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    You guys, I¿ve gone and done it again¿ I¿ve fallen in love with

    You guys, I’ve gone and done it again… I’ve fallen in love with Rainbow Rowell’s characters and their stories. There’s so much I love about this book (like, every. single. thing. about it) and I’m going to try not to gush. Too much. I don’t feel like I can truly do this book justice with a review, but I’m going to try.

    “To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”

    Cath is a nerd. She writes slash fan fiction about Simon Snow, boy magician, using the name Magicath. She’s such a Simon Snow fan and writes such complex fan fic, she has a fan base of her own. She’s a big deal in certain circles online. Real life is a little different. She’s insecure and lives in the shadow of her twin sister, Wren. While Wren likes to party, chase boys and experience all life has to offer, for better or worse, Cath is more reserved. She’d much rather spend the night writing and fostering her online friendships than hanging out at parties or in bars. She’s so introverted at times that it’s almost painful. But, she’s an easy character to identify with. She’s as awkward as can be, but she’s lovable, strong and smart. She’s loyal to those she’s closest to, even when they might not deserve it. She’s completely adorkable. I loved her almost immediately, but “Emergency Kanye Party” solidified it for me.

    “There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.”

    Cath and Wren head off to their new lives in college at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. For the first time in their lives, they won’t be living together. It’s time for each of them to experience life without being a crutch for the other. Cath’s new roommate, Reagan, is pretty much her polar opposite. She’s a partier. She’s always out with a different guy, despite the fact that Levi is always hanging out in her room. Cath assumes they’re dating, but the truth is more complicated than that. Somewhere along the way, Levi becomes more than “Reagan’s friend.” He’s Cath’s friend and confidant. He’s there for her. Their chemistry is strong and sweet.

    “Oh, put that away,” Cath said with distaste. “I don’t want you to get charm all over my sister – what if we can’t get it out?”

    “She didn’t have words for what Levi was. He was a cave painting. He was The Red Balloon. She lifted her heels and pulled him forward until his face was so close, she could look at only one of his eyes at a time. “You’re magic,” she said.

    I adored Levi from the moment he appeared on the pages. He’s an adorable farm boy. He’s sweet and thoughtful. He always went out of his way to try to include Cath, despite being turned down again and again. There was more to him than met the eye, as Cath began to find out. When he began meeting her at the library to walk her home from study “dates” with her classmate, Nick, I started to hope there was a glimmer of something more there.

    “Cath liked Levi. A lot. She liked looking at him. She liked listening to him – though sometimes she hated listening to him talk to other people. She hated the way he passed out smiles to everyone he met like it didn’t cost him anything, like he’d never run out. He made everything look so easy… ”

    As you might expect, Cath was completely out of her element at college. She was so uncomfortable in new situations that she was afraid to try to find the dining hall, so she was more or less living off energy bars. Reagan and Levi finally force her somewhat out of her comfort zone and get her out and about. For a girl with very little social life, Cath has the attention of several guys. Throughout the story there’s Able, her quasi-boyfriend from home, her study-date/writing-partner Nick, and Levi. I’ll let you find out for yourself how that all shakes out though. There’s so many sweet, swoon-worthy scenes and good, old-fashioned teenage angst that you need to experience it all for yourself.

    “Apparently, I’m good for something,” Wren said. “You keep stealing all my best lines.”

    Wren is a minor character in the majority of the book, at least in a physical sense. She’s not around very often. She’s off doing her own thing, leaving Cath to live her own life. To find herself. While they shared some of the same friends and interests pre-college, I’m not entirely sure Wren and Cath could be any different. They each went through a lot in this novel. I think they both wound up stronger and better because of the events that occurred though. I think their relationship with each other, while different than it was when they left for school, became more solid, too. It wasn’t an easy road though.

    “I feel like… what happened last night was just an aberration. Like it could only have happened in the middle of the night, when he and I were both really tired. Because if it had been daylight, we would have seen how inappropriate it was -”

    “How do you feel when I smile at you?” he asked – and then he did smile at her, just a little.
    “Like an idiot,” she said softly. “And like I never want it to stop.”

    The romance in this book was absolutely swoon-worthy in that way only young adult books can be. It was sweet and innocent. It just made me smile. I was absolutely charmed by nearly every character in this book. At the end, despite the fact that there wasn’t a cliffhanger and really, everything was resolved, I was in no way ready to give these characters up. I’ve had such a book hangover from them it’s been nearly impossible to think about writing this review.

    “I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”

    “But you’re so helpless sometimes. It’s like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box.”

    Whether they’re main or secondary, Rainbow Rowell writes amazing characters. They’re real. I want to know them personally. By the end of the book, I feel like I do know them. This book was absolutely no exception. Reagan was just what Cath needed in a roommate. She was sassy and outgoing. She pushed Cath. She helped her grow. I want her to be my friend. Professor Piper also helped Cath come into her own. She was everything a professor should be. She was supportive, but she still pushed her. Cath became a better writer because of it. Cath’s father was another favorite. He was complicated. He had issues. But, he was a great dad. I loved their banter.

    “But it’s just so good. Nobody writes Simon and Baz like Magicath. I’m in love with her Baz. Like, in love. And I used to be a major Simon/Agatha shipper.”

    “Sometimes…,” Cath said, “when I’m reading canon, I forget that Simon and Baz aren’t in love.”

    One of the things I loved most about this book was the way that Rowell integrated the fan fiction so well with Cath’s real life story. This is something most authors couldn’t pull off, but she does it absolutely flawlessly. First of all, I just loved reading the Simon Snow stories. It took me back to the days where I would read a TON of Harry Potter fan fiction to get through the excruciating wait between books. I read more Harry/Draco slash than I should probably admit. (Don’t judge me.) I loved seeing what the fan fic writers did with J.K. Rowling’s characters in an alternate universe. I enjoyed reading what Cath did with Simon and Baz in her stories. The world-building in the fan fic and the Simon

    33 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Five Stars...excellent job!

    This story isn't what I expected. I figured it would just be about some girl obsessing over a fictional character, but it really has more meaning than that.
    This is a story about a girl who is learning to live her life without her twin sister holding her hand along the way. Cath, to me, is a very relatable character. We all have crushes on characters from novels, admit it. Many of us go overboard with our crushes, like Cath.
    The author did an outstanding job at portraying Cath as a true fangirl.
    This deserves a nice round of applause. I'll definitely tell my friends about this book.

    21 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2013

    Fangirling

    I have always been a die-hard fangirl, (think harry potter, percy jackson, lord of the rings, the works) and i was pleasently surprised to find this book. It is a great representation of those of us struggelling to find ourselves and hold on to what matters to us. Great job, RR- i will definately read more of your books in the future. GO FANGIRLS!!! ;-)

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2013

    Wow. This book was so amazing! I loved every aspect of it! The

    Wow. This book was so amazing! I loved every aspect of it!
    The characters were so beautifully written and real! I absolutely adored how all the characters changed throughout the story.
    The character development was wonderful!
    I loved how Rowell included little sections of Cath's fanfiction story. It just made her seem more real and not just a 2 dimensional character, like so many other character in other books.
    I recommend this book to people who like: fanfiction, cute love stories, awesome characters, and funny scenes!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2013

    THIS BOOK DESCRIBES ME

    THIS BOOK DESCRIBES ME OMIGOSH :D FANGIRL

    5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

    Lovely

    I simply adored this book. I felt like I was watching my own life unfold.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Read this book. Love this book. Rainbow Rowell is magic. I just

    Read this book. Love this book. Rainbow Rowell is magic. I just want more. If only Simon Snow was a real series... or Carry On.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    <3

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    So, I read a book last year that center on fan fiction (4 to 16

    So, I read a book last year that center on fan fiction (4 to 16 characters) that I thought relied too heavily on the fanfic aspect and, in turn, didn't care for very much. I was worried about that here, but since I've absolutely loved everything else I've read by Rainbow Rowell, I bit the bullet and decided to read Fangirl. It didn't take long for me to realize that I had absolutely no reason to worry. Fanfic or not, I was going to love Fangirl.

    There are so many things to love about this book. The characters are full of awesome and they all fit so well together. Cath is relatable. She's nerdy, introverted, socially awkward, and exactly the type of person I could see myself being if I had went away to college. Wren is the more extroverted, carefree twin sister. Reagan is the reluctant, but funny roommate. Levi is the perfect book boyfriend. All of the characters make up the perfect cast for this fantastic book. The writing is nothing less than anything else you'd read by Rainbow Rowell. It's the perfect length. The story continuously moves forward without unnecessary drama. It's a sweet and fun read, but also realistic and with a hint of real life sadness. It's the perfect combination of everything you'd like in a coming-of-age story.

    About the fanfic since I mentioned it made me nervous to read this story... don't let it stop you from reading this awesome book. While fanfic plays a rather significant role in Cath's life (and in the story), it doesn't seem off putting. It works here. The stories resemble Harry Potter, but have their own differences. And, as a bonus, instead of turning me off to fan fiction, it made me more interested in seeing what's out there.

    As always, I definitely recommend this wonderful book by Rainbow. And I look forward to reading more by her in the future.

    You can read all of my reviews on my blog, KDH Reviews.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    Love love love

    This book is amazing! I just wanna keep reading it! 5 stars for sure!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2014

    I thought this book wasn't going to be that good. I started read

    I thought this book wasn't going to be that good. I started reading the book thinking that it was only going to hash out all the problems Cath had with letting go of her sister. I love how Rowell described all the things Cath was going through while getting used to life by herself. I enjoyed the way Rowell integrated Cath's fanfiction story in parts of the book. I never read a part that I didn't like. The whole book was loveable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    PRAISE RAINBOW ROWELL. Seriously, though. This was adorable, an

    PRAISE RAINBOW ROWELL.

    Seriously, though. This was adorable, and great, and just so fun to read. As a twenty-something fangirl myself, a lot of things in here hit home for me. It's so refreshing to see that. 

    This is not a book about leaving fandom behind in order to grow up, and is not about shaming nerds or equating being a nerd with immaturity. You don't have to give up fandom or leave it behind in order to grow up.

    Also, Levi is such a puppy and I want to squish him eternally.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2014

    This book seemed great from the reviews and synopsis, but after

    This book seemed great from the reviews and synopsis, but after I payed (way more than it was worth) for it and brought it home, I was very disappointing. There was very little character development, a very boring plot, and quite frankly I was reading unit the end because I was still waiting for the climax of the story. The next thing I knew, it was over. Nothing really happens in this book; no climax. boring characters, very predictable, and a huge disappointment. I may as well have just stopped reading halfway through and it would have had the same effect. Not sure why most of other reviews are positive when it is one of the worst books I have ever read and the one thing that I most regret buying after the fact. I recommend borrowing the book from someone before you buy it. If you like it, great, good for you, go ahead and buy it. But I really wish I had read it before paying through the nose for the most pointless book I've ever read.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    As a fan fiction writer, I related to Cath in a way that was who

    As a fan fiction writer, I related to Cath in a way that was wholly different from the way I related to Rainbow's last female protagonist Eleanor. While I might not understand having a twin, my sister and I had a very turmoil-ridden childhood together, yet we have a stronger bond now because of it. The fact that there were some things between Cath and Wren that reminded me of the relationship I have with my sister also made this book enjoyable for me. 

    But what really got me was the growing that Cath went through, not just because of her dad or the writing class or even the boyfriend, but because she finally took a chance and did something of her own volition instead of relying on her crutches to hang back, and she came out stronger because of it. While having a teacher who didn't understand fan fiction was a nice and realistic touch, showing that not all those who might write amazing fan fiction can end up writing their own universe (myself included) doesn't mean they still can't use those skills somewhere and somehow. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2014

    The cover looked cool so I bought and that's when I fell in love

    The cover looked cool so I bought and that's when I fell in love. In one day I read 300 pages and finished the book without putting it down. It is one of those books that people eat up and can't get enough of. I would totally recommend this book to everyone I know because it was just so amazing!!! 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book owns my heart. I¿ve put off writing a review for quite

    This book owns my heart. I’ve put off writing a review for quite a few month because I just don’t think my words will do this story justice. Fangirl was in my top two favorite books of 2013 (only behind The Book Thief), and I know it’s one of those books that I’ll read over and over again.

    From the very beginning I felt this protectiveness over Cath. I think this is because she is one of the few characters that I’ve read where I truly understand them. I definitely see my college days self in Cath, and I totally get her reasoning for her actions. She’s weird and quirky, but is a really good person. Yes, Cath makes mistakes and probably doesn’t handle certain situations in the right way, but she grows in Fangirl and I loved experiencing that journey with her.

    I don’t think I’ve ever felt so connected with a character, or their situation. There is one part of the book where Cath is falling completely apart trying to explain how she’s feeling to her Dad. I don’t know what it is; her feeling so helpless or the fact that in her eyes nobody understand her, but it just tears at my heart. We’ve all been there, and I don’t know about everybody else, but I’ve felt that helplessness of wanting somebody to get what you’re feeling but they just don’t. I wanted to hug Cath and tell her that there are people who do understand, and that it does eventually get better.

    I haven’t mentioned the awesomeness that is Rainbow Rowell’s writing. Her words just flow so smoothly, and she writes the best dialogue. I don’t usually find myself highlighting a book or noting certain sections, but in Fangirl my eBook is all highlighted up.

    “You’ve got Simon Snow heads on your desk,” Reagan said.
    “Those are commemorative busts.”
    “I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”
    “I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”
    “Me, too,” Reagan said. “I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”

    Lastly, there is Levi. Oh, Levi. You and your smile own my heart. I love that Levi isn’t you typical “dark brooding” love interest. He’s gangly and tall. Has a receding hairline and reading disorder; not your typical romantic hero. But Levi is just so good. That’s not to say that he doesn’t screw up, because he does, but there is something about him that brings an instant smile to my face. He is so imperfect, and yet so perfect for Cath.

    I pretty much recommend Fangirl to anybody who asks for suggestions. I read two Rainbow Rowell books in 2013 and enjoyed both. She has made it onto my “instant read” list, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2014

    Fangirling over this book

    Rainbow Rowell obviously is (or was?) a member of some fandom at some point, because she captures fan life perfectly! If there ends up being a sequel, I will buy it as soon as humanly possible! The detail was amazing- for example, though the basic premise of the Simon Snow series is borrowed from Harry Potter, everything else we see of the series serves to make it a different world entirely. Thank you, Ms. Rowell, for giving me such a great book to read!

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  • Posted November 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Who is that fangirl everyone is talking about? She is inconspicu

    Who is that fangirl everyone is talking about? She is inconspicuous, modest, dedicated and spends most of her days in front of her laptop writing new fan fiction. Cath and her twin sister Wren are about to start college, a more grown-up part of their lives. But Cath can't let go of the books that have kept her company for so many years.

    Fandom and fan fiction are the overall theme of FANGIRL. Rainbow's third book teaches us that fan fiction can be a very important part of a teenager's life. Through their writing teens get a chance to stay with their beloved characters, expand their imagination, express their creativity and get in contact with other fans.

    A fan can be found in every reader, too. How often have we read a book and couldn't stop talking and thinking about it? There are countless book worlds I would've loved to spent more time in. I don't read fan fiction nor have I ever written anything like it, but I could very well relate to Cath's obsession with her beloved Simon Snow books. I'm a fan of Cath and her passionate love for reading and writing Simon Snow fan fic. But I was no fan of Simon Snow himself (I haven't even read the last Harry Potter book).
    Every new chapter is accompanied by a Simon Snow quote or snippet of Cath's fan fiction to support the overall feel of Rainbow Rowell's FANGIRL and acquaint the reader with his magical world.
    These short snippets were fitting the stories' character and I liked to find out what Cath saw in Simon Snow's stories, what she loved about them.
    Towards the ending of FANGIRL the fan fiction portions of Cath's story grow in relation to one big event she's looking forward to. The publication of the last book in the Simon Snow series. So, long pages of FANGIRL are filled with Cath's fan fiction about Simon and his (as Cath writes it) potential love interest Baz. Even though Cath's characters seem to grow in correlation with the actual FANGIRL story, her Simon Snow fan fic filled too many pages to keep my interest. At some point I was tempted to skip the Simon Snow parts altogether and continue with the actual love story between Cath and Levi.

    Cath starting college is the perfect condition and setting for her to meet new people and maybe even fall in love. It's her chance to evolve and be independent but what if she is extremely shy and just wants to shut out the rest of the world except her sister Wren and her father?
    Cath is drawn back into herself and unaware of the college life going on around her. Luckily there are her new roomate Reagan and her friend, possible boyfriend Levi who help Cath to enjoy a small portion of life outside her bubble. Cath certainly doesn't become a social butterfly overnight, her transformation is a slow one, but she learns how to work on her issues and finally accepts new people into her life.

    Cath writes fan fiction, but always has a realistic and analysing gift when it comes to assess the people around her. The boys in FANGIRL don't come along born Gods, they don't have the shiniest teeth or most perfect features as Cath observes, who sees and likes them for the persons they really are.
    See for yourselves how Cath and Levi first met (their first encounters are probably unprecedented in YA awkwardness) and what their relationship is all about. Theirs is a very unconventional love story. It takes Cath a lot of time to open up to Levi and they become friends first before they can even give in to any romantic notions. To tease you, you can look forward to the Outsiders scene which is one of my favourites in YA!

    FANGIRL is not only about Cath's fan fiction and her love life. Rainbow Rowell found a bunch of other family and college-related aspects to weave together to a thick story mesh and well-written YA contemporary. It's about the many possibilities the new college world has to offer. About the difficulty to ever detach yourself from the ones you always had in your life as Cath's twin sister and their father mean the world to her. Is Wren doing okay on her own and what about her farther? Can he take to be all on his own after sending his two girls to college?
    And ultimately FANGIRL is about finding out who you really are as an independent person and how to make certain things exclusively your own.


    4,5/5 ****/* FANGIRL – An authentic and wholehearted bibliophile college experience. Rainbow Rowell is the new YA phenomenon!

    FANGIRL is a brilliant book for readers looking for a YA contemporary read with the certain touch of magic. Sure I could've done without a good portion of the Simon Snow fan fiction we were given, but never would've wanted to miss out on FANGIRL. It's a very special read, with Cath and Levi's one-of-a-kind love story and Rainbow Rowell's great understanding for her characters.

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  • Posted November 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Fangirl has solidified Rainbow Rowell as a must buy, must read,

    Fangirl has solidified Rainbow Rowell as a must buy, must read, must recommend kind of author. Her YA debut, Eleanor &amp; Park was one of my favorite books of 2012, and also top 10 favorite YA novels I've ever read. I have to admit I was kind of scared that I would be disappointed by Fangirl. I've been burnt more than once by my high expectations of a novel because I loved the author's previous one. But no, Rainbow Rowell didn't disappoint. I can go as far as saying Rainbow Rowell's books are magical. Many contemporary books are interesting but in the end lack the magic I look for. What is this magic you ask? Well here are a couple of points that can help you in knowing whether the book you're reading has the magic or not. 1. Throughout the book, your heart is always beating above the normal heartbeats per minute. Fangirl had a ton of intense family moments that kept me on the edge of my seat, as well as moments between Cath, the main protagonist, and Liv, the love interest, that had me fangirl-ing (see what I did there?) to the extreme. 2. When a book stays in your head and preoccupies your thoughts even when you put it down. It is the type of book that makes you stay up all night to read, or wake up earlier just to squeeze in a few chapters. 3. You tend to have a sudden urge to stop reading and hug your book or ereader because you have an overload of emotions you need to transfer, and the only outlet is through hugging that book or ereader that contains it. 4. You look at the page number and your heart drops when you notice you have less than 100 pages left. You try to read as slow as you can in order to stay in this magical world for as long as possible. All those apply to Fangirl. Every.Single.One. Plot-wise, Rainbow Rowell's novels aren't extravagant and over the top with intense drama, and complicated plot twists. They are simple, clean, clear, and realistic. I witnessed that in Eleanor &amp; Park and also in Fangirl. We've got Cath and her twin sister starting college. The two girls have done everything together and are both part of the Simon Snow fandom (think Harry Potter). However, Wren drops the bomb and tells Cath she doesn't want to room with her. Cath was so heartbroken that I couldn't but feel so sad for her. Also, Wren drifted away from the Simon Snow fandom and Cath is in it alone. Both girls used to write fan fiction but now only Cath does, and she has thousands upon thousands of readers. I really connected with the girls because I was also, and still am, a huge fangirl when it comes to Harry Potter. We also get to witness problems with Cath's mother who abandoned the family when they were in third grade, as well as issues her dad faces when the girls leave for college and their dad stays alone in the house. I loved the relationship between Cath and her dad, it wasn't a perfect one or a broken one, it was in between where each one of them needed to lean on the other at times. Back at university, Wren chooses the partying type of life while Cath holes herself in her room, writing fan fiction. Cath might sound like a loner, but in fact she is just socially awkward. It took her two weeks to venture out to the university haul and even brought a couple of boxes of protein bars to allow her to survive in her room. Of course her roommate and her roommate's friend, Liv (squeal) took every chance they got to tease her about this. There was a ton of the humor I read in Eleanor &amp; Park in the conversations between those three. As for Liv *sigh* that boy was worth any girl's love. He was a friend when Cath needed one but didn't want to admit it, and a guy who told Cath everything she needed to hear, whether it was good or bad. I personally loved Liv to the extreme. Hard core fangirl-ing here. He is twenty one years old so I didn't feel bad for crushing on him, thanks Rainbow Rowell! To sum this long review up, every single character, whether primary, secondary, or tertiary, had a reason to be in the book. As well as all the issues, drama, and fandom. Some plot lines were left open ended because that was how it is. In real life not everything gets wrapped up in a neat pretty bow. I think that is what I most appreciate about Rowell's books, as well as the magic she sprinkles on every single character, chapter, sentence, and word in her books. 

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  • Posted November 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Coming up with the words to write this review has mostly been im

    Coming up with the words to write this review has mostly been impossible. Nothing I could ever tell you about my experience with this book could give justice to how much I utterly love and adore and want to live within its pages. I've read dozens of amazing contemporary books this year,  that I've loved to an insane extent, but<strong> Fangirl </strong>
    is the moon and stars and sun and ocean of books. I definitely fall into the camp of considering this a new adult book and it's everything that I want new adult books to be. A beautiful, heart warming, realistic, and relatable story that explores family, love, friendship and self-exploration in a truly unforgettable story.

    There have been a lot of characters that I've related to this year, but none have resonated with me as much as Cath. An introvert who hides behind her computer screen and refuses to let anyone into her carefully built walls after her mother walks out on her family, there were times where reading about Cath was almost like looking in a mirror, in both good and bad ways. Part of Cath's charm is that she is so obviously a flawed character. She's equal parts funny, sweet, talented and caring as well as stubborn, self-absorbed and naive. It often feels as if she cares more about the fictional universe she writes fanfic for then the universe she's living in, and really haven't most of us been there? She is just so likable that seeing her character grow and step outside of that comfort zone had me cheering for her the entire time. REALLY HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE AND CHEER FOR A CHARACTER WHO HAS KANYE DANCE PARTY'S ON HER BAD DAYS?

    The writing is what I've come to expect from Rowell. You know, utter perfection. I loved the pacing and the way the story encompassed the entirety of her freshman year and all of the stories developments on a realistic timeline. Nothing felt rushed or like Cath changed her entire personality miraculously overnight. I love it when contemps get that right. The writing was smart, witty, poignant and 100% engaging. The story made me so incredibly nostalgic for my own freshman year of college, and made me remember a lot of things I thought I'd forgotten. It even gave me the urge to dig out all of my old journals that I have buried in storage somewhere. It was so realistic and engaging that I felt as if I was living the year right alongside Cath and the other characters.

    The one thing I really was not a huge fan of was all the excerpts of Cath's fan fiction. I understand it's purpose, especially the way it brings Cath and Levi together and such, but sometimes I felt like there was just a little too much. The short bits weren't so bad, but the super long parts that Cath reads to Levi drove me crazy. I didn't care about the fictional Simon Snow world (although yes, if this was a real series I would totally be all over it), I cared about Cath's. I did think the reading aloud to Levi thing was adorable though. My best friend actually read Harry Potter &amp; the Deathly Hallows aloud to her husband, so when I read about that it made me think of that and smile because they are the most adorable couple I know.

    While the focus of the story is Cath's self-exploration, her relationship with her family is a huge part of that. Naturally I related to her relationship with her sister and dad way more than I should have. Cath is completely thrown for a loop that her twin, Wren, doesn't want to be roommates. Wren and Cath, while sharing the Simon Snow love, are pretty much complete opposites in every way and the distance that grows between them when they start college, even though they are going to the same school, obviously hurts both of them and I really loved seeing that dynamic explored. I don't have a twin (although I've always wished I did because I totally always wanted to be the evil twin when I was a kid-thank you Sweet Valley High), but I do have a cousin whose only six months younger than me and is more like my sister than my cousin and we went through a similar phase when we went into high school and it was utterly devastating for me. Watching Cath go through that with Wren brought all of that back to the forefront and I loved seeing the sisters find that balance again, even if I didn't particularly like Wren's character.

    I also loved that Rowell actually created realistic parent/child relationships and explored them. Despite the fact that Cath is away at college and doing her own thing, her relationship with both parents, for better or worse, was definitely very present in the story. Also her mother is a horrible human being. As much rage as I felt at her for abandoning her family, I think I felt even more rage at her giving her kids weird names because she was too lazy to think of a second name when she found out she was having twins. I mean, Wren's not that bad but Cather? WHO DOES THAT TO THEIR CHILD? Crap moms, that's who.

    Of course the book has a totally glorious romance because Rowell is amazing at that. LEVI IS MY EVERYTHING. During my freshman year, I super bonded with my RA. I think he mostly took pity on me because my roommate was horrible and I was obviously lonely and socially awkward, but he was kind of my hero that year and I was half in love with him. He was just a truly good guy and helped bring me out of my shell more than I might have without him. Plus he let me sleep on the couch in his dorm room when my roommate stumbled in loud and drunk or insisted on sleeping with the TV on. Man, I miss that guy. Anyway, tangent aside,  Levi reminded me of him so freaking much it made me sad and nostalgic and so so feelsy. I loved his character so much and the development of his and Cath's relationship was so beautiful and perfect just thinking about it makes my heart sing. It was the perfect-slow burn and even when Levi did some thing that made me want to junk punch him, he still held my heart. Seriously Cath, if you don't someday marry him, I will. Because that is totally a possible thing.

    As much as I love Levi and relate to Cath, Reagan was probably my favorite character. Her smart-ass ways and brutal honesty just spoke to me and I loved the balance she brought to Cath and the way she helped bring her out and obviously genuinely cared, even when she didn't want to.

    As a sidebar, and not that anyone probably cares but I feel like mentioning it because I've seen it mentioned by lots of people, while reading the book I think I figured out why Rowell uses a fictional fandom rather than Harry Potter, which Simon Snow is obviously pulled from. She actually kind of gives us the answer when Cath and her professor discuss the difference between fan fiction and plagiarism and Cath argues that it's not plagiarism if she's not profiting of it. If Rowell had used Harry Potter, and still included the excerpts of the fan fiction Cath wrote then technically she'd be profiting off of HP fan fiction which would technically be plagiarism. Yes. I thought about it too much but at least its sensible.

    So yea. I guess I liked Fangirl. And think you should probably read it too. And if you actually read this monster of a review and all my crazy tangents, thanks for that.

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