In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2013
A New York Times Best Seller!
About the Author
RAINBOW ROWELL lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband and two sons. She's also the author of Landline, Eleanor & Park and Attachments.
Read an Excerpt
There was a boy in her room.
Cath looked up at the number painted on the door, then down at the room assignment in her hand.
Pound Hall, 913.
This was definitely room 913, but maybe it wasn’t Pound Hall—all these dormitories looked alike, like public housing towers for the elderly. Maybe Cath should try to catch her dad before he brought up the rest of her boxes.
“You must be Cather,” the boy said, grinning and holding out his hand.
“Cath,” she said, feeling a panicky jump in her stomach. She ignored his hand. (She was holding a box anyway, what did he expect from her?)
This was a mistake—this had to be a mistake. She knew that Pound was a co-ed dorm.… Is there such a thing as co-ed rooms?
The boy took the box out of her hands and set it on an empty bed. The bed on the other side of the room was already covered with clothes and boxes.
“Do you have more stuff downstairs?” he asked. “We just finished. I think we’re going to get a burger now; do you want to get a burger? Have you been to Pear’s yet? Burgers the size of your fist.” He picked up her arm. She swallowed. “Make a fist,” he said.
“Bigger than your fist,” the boy said, dropping her hand and picking up the backpack she’d left outside the door. “Do you have more boxes? You’ve got to have more boxes. Are you hungry?”
He was tall and thin and tan, and he looked like he’d just taken off a stocking cap, dark blond hair flopping in every direction. Cath looked down at her room assignment again. Was this Reagan?
“Reagan!” the boy said happily. “Look, your roommate’s here.”
A girl stepped around Cath in the doorway and glanced back coolly. She had smooth, auburn hair and an unlit cigarette in her mouth. The boy grabbed it and put it in his own mouth. “Reagan, Cather. Cather, Reagan,” he said.
“Cath,” Cath said.
Reagan nodded and fished in her purse for another cigarette. “I took this side,” she said, nodding to the pile of boxes on the right side of the room. “But it doesn’t matter. If you’ve got feng shui issues, feel free to move my shit.” She turned to the boy. “Ready?”
He turned to Cath. “Coming?”
Cath shook her head.
When the door shut behind them, she sat on the bare mattress that was apparently hers—feng shui was the least of her issues—and laid her head against the cinder block wall.
She just needed to settle her nerves.
To take the anxiety she felt like black static behind her eyes and an extra heart in her throat, and shove it all back down to her stomach where it belonged—where she could at least tie it into a nice knot and work around it.
Her dad and Wren would be up any minute, and Cath didn’t want them to know she was about to melt down. If Cath melted down, her dad would melt down. And if either of them melted down, Wren would act like they were doing it on purpose, just to ruin her perfect first day on campus. Her beautiful new adventure.
You’re going to thank me for this, Wren kept saying.
The first time she’d said it was back in June.
Cath had already sent in her university housing forms, and of course she’d put Wren down as her roommate—she hadn’t thought twice about it. The two of them had shared a room for eighteen years, why stop now?
“We’ve shared a room for eighteen years,” Wren argued. She was sitting at the head of Cath’s bed, wearing her infuriating I’m the Mature One face.
“And it’s worked out great,” Cath said, waving her arm around their bedroom—at the stacks of books and the Simon Snow posters, at the closet where they shoved all their clothes, not even worrying most of the time what belonged to whom.
Cath was sitting at the foot of the bed, trying not to look like the Pathetic One Who Always Cries.
“This is college,” Wren persisted. “The whole point of college is meeting new people.”
“The whole point of having a twin sister,” Cath said, “is not having to worry about this sort of thing.
Freaky strangers who steal your tampons and smell like salad dressing and take cell phone photos of you while you sleep…”
Wren sighed. “What are you even talking about? Why would anybody smell like salad dressing?”
“Like vinegar,” Cath said. “Remember when we went on the freshman tour, and that one girl’s room smelled like Italian dressing?”
“Well, it was gross.”
“It’s college,” Wren said, exasperated, covering her face with her hands. “It’s supposed to be an adventure.”
“It’s already an adventure.” Cath crawled up next to her sister and pulled Wren’s hands away from her face. “The whole prospect is already terrifying.”
“We’re supposed to meet new people,” Wren repeated.
“I don’t need new people.”
“That just shows how much you need new people.…” Wren squeezed Cath’s hands. “Cath, think about it. If we do this together, people will treat us like we’re the same person. It’ll be four years before anyone can even tell us apart.”
“All they have to do is pay attention.” Cath touched the scar on Wren’s chin, just below her lip.
(Sledding accident. They were nine, and Wren was on the front of the sled when it hit the tree. Cath had fallen off the back into the snow.)
“You know I’m right,” Wren said.
Cath shook her head. “I don’t.”
“Please don’t make me do this alone.”
“You’re never alone,” Wren said, sighing again. “That’s the whole fucking point of having a twin sister.”
* * *
“This is really nice,” their dad said, looking around Pound 913 and setting a laundry basket full of shoes and books on Cath’s mattress.
“It’s not nice, Dad,” Cath said, standing stiffly by the door. “It’s like a hospital room, but smaller. And without a TV.”
“You’ve got a great view of campus,” he said.
Wren wandered over to the window. “My room faces a parking lot.”
“How do you know?” Cath asked.
Wren couldn’t wait for all this college stuff to start. She and her roommate—Courtney—had been talking for weeks. Courtney was from Omaha, too. The two of them had already met and gone shopping for dorm-room stuff together. Cath had tagged along and tried not to pout while they picked out posters and matching desk lamps.
Cath’s dad came back from the window and put an arm around her shoulders. “It’s gonna be okay,” he said.
She nodded. “I know.”
“Okay,” he said, clapping. “Next stop, Schramm Hall. Second stop, pizza buffet. Third stop, my sad and empty nest.”
“No pizza,” Wren said. “Sorry, Dad. Courtney and I are going to the freshman barbecue tonight.” She shot her eyes at Cath. “Cath should go, too.”
“Yes pizza,” Cath said defiantly.
Her dad smiled. “Your sister’s right, Cath. You should go. Meet new people.”
“All I’m going to do for the next nine months is meet new people. Today I choose pizza buffet.”
Wren rolled her eyes.
“All right,” their dad said, patting Cath on the shoulder. “Next stop, Schramm Hall. Ladies?” He opened the door.
Cath didn’t move. “You can come back for me after you drop her off,” she said, watching her sister. “I want to start unpacking.”
Wren didn’t argue, just stepped out into the hall. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” she said, not quite turning to look at Cath.
“Sure,” Cath said.
* * *
It did feel good, unpacking. Putting sheets on the bed and setting her new, ridiculously expensive textbooks out on the shelves over her new desk.
When her dad came back, they walked together to Valentino’s. Everyone they saw along the way was about Cath’s age. It was creepy.
“Why is everybody blond?” Cath asked. “And why are they all white?”
Her dad laughed. “You’re just used to living in the least-white neighborhood in Nebraska.”
Their house in South Omaha was in a Mexican neighborhood. Cath’s was the only white family on the block.
“Oh, God,” she said, “do you think this town has a taco truck?”
“I think I saw a Chipotle—”
“Come on,” he said, “you like Chipotle.”
“Not the point.”
When they got to Valentino’s, it was packed with students. A few, like Cath, had come with their parents, but not many. “It’s like a science fiction story,” she said, “No little kids … Nobody over thirty … Where are all the old people?”
Her dad held up his slice of pizza. “Soylent Green.”
“I’m not old, you know.” He was tapping the table with the two middle fingers of his left hand. “Forty-one. The other guys my age at work are just starting to have kids.”
“That was good thinking,” Cath said, “getting us out of the way early. You can start bringing home chicks now—the coast is clear.”
“All my chicks…,” he said, looking down at his plate. “You guys are the only chicks I’m worried about.”
“Ugh. Dad. Weird.”
“You know what I mean. What’s up with you and your sister? You’ve never fought like this before.…”
“We’re not fighting now,” Cath said, taking a bite of bacon-cheeseburger pizza. “Oh, geez.” She spit it out.
“What’s wrong, did you get an eyelid?”
“No. Pickle. It’s okay. I just wasn’t expecting it.”
“You seem like you’re fighting,” he said.
Cath shrugged. She and Wren weren’t even talking much, let alone fighting. “Wren just wants more … independence.”
“Sounds reasonable,” he said.
Of course it does, Cath thought, that’s Wren’s specialty. But she let it drop. She didn’t want her dad to worry about this right now. She could tell by the way he kept tapping the table that he was already wearing thin. Way too many normal-dad hours in a row.
“Tired?” she asked.
He smiled at her, apologetically, and put his hand in his lap. “Big day. Big, hard day—I mean, I knew it would be.” He raised an eyebrow. “Both of you, same day. Whoosh. I still can’t believe you’re not coming home with me.…”
“Don’t get too comfortable. I’m not sure I can stick this out a whole semester.” She was only slightly kidding, and he knew it.
“You’ll be fine, Cath.” He put his hand, his less twitchy hand, over hers and squeezed. “And so will I. You know?”
Cath let herself look in his eyes for a moment. He looked tired—and, yes, twitchy—but he was holding it together.
“I still wish you’d get a dog,” she said.
“I’d never remember to feed it.”
“Maybe we could train it to feed you.”
* * *
When Cath got back to her room, her roommate—Reagan—was still gone. Or maybe she was gone again; her boxes looked untouched. Cath finished putting her own clothes away, then opened the box of personal things she’d brought from home.
She took out a photo of herself and Wren, and pinned it to the corkboard behind her desk. It was from graduation. Both of them were wearing red robes and smiling. It was before Wren cut her hair.…
Wren hadn’t even told Cath she was going to do that. Just came home from work at the end of the summer with a pixie cut. It looked awesome—which probably meant it would look awesome on Cath, too. But Cath could never get that haircut now, even if she could work up the courage to cut off fifteen inches. She couldn’t single-white-female her own twin sister.
Next Cath took out a framed photo of their dad, the one that had always sat on their dresser back home. It was an especially handsome photo, taken on his wedding day. He was young and smiling, and wearing a little sunflower on his lapel. Cath set it on the shelf above her desk.
Then she set out a picture from prom, of her and Abel. Cath was wearing a shimmering green dress, and Abel had a matching cummerbund. It was a good picture of Cath, even though her face looked naked and flat without her glasses. And it was a good picture of Abel, even though he looked bored.
He always looked kind of bored.
Cath probably should have texted Abel by now, just to tell him that she’d made it—but she wanted to wait until she felt more breezy and nonchalant. You can’t take back texts. If you come off all moody and melancholy in a text, it just sits there in your phone, reminding you of what a drag you are.
At the bottom of the box were Cath’s Simon and Baz posters. She laid these out on her bed carefully—a few were originals, drawn or painted just for Cath. She’d have to choose her favorites; there wasn’t room for them all on the corkboard, and Cath had already decided not to hang any on the walls, out where God and everybody would notice them.
She picked out three.…
Simon raising the Sword of Mages. Baz lounging on a fanged black throne. The two of them walking together through whirling gold leaves, scarves whipping in the wind.
There were a few more things left in the box—a dried corsage, a ribbon Wren had given her that said CLEAN PLATE CLUB, commemorative busts of Simon and Baz that she’d ordered from the Noble Collection.…
Cath found a place for everything, then sat in the beat-up wooden desk chair. If she sat right here, with her back to Reagan’s bare walls and boxes, it almost felt like home.
There was a boy in Simon’s room.
A boy with slick, black hair and cold, grey eyes. He was spinning around, holding a cat high in the air while a girl jumped and clutched at it. “Give it back,” the girl said. “You’ll hurt him.”
The boy laughed and held the cat higher—then noticed Simon standing in the doorway and stopped, his face sharpening.
“Hullo,” the dark-haired boy said, letting the cat drop to the floor. It landed on all four feet and ran from the room. The girl ran after it.
The boy ignored them, tugging his school jacket neatly into place and smiling with the left side of his mouth. “I know you. You’re Simon Snow … the Mage’s Heir.” He held out his hand smugly. “I’m Tyrannus Basilton Pitch. But you can call me Baz—we’re going to be roommates.”
Simon scowled and ignored the boy’s pale hand. “What did you think you were doing with her cat?”
—from chapter 3, Simon Snow and the Mage’s Heir, copyright © 2001 by Gemma T. Leslie
Copyright © 2013 by Rainbow Rowell
Table of Contents
Fall Semester, 2011,
The Simon Snow Series,
Spring Semester, 2012,
Also by Rainbow Rowell,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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 Snow “book” chapters was wonderful. Complex. It made me wish Gemma T. Leslie and her books were real. I also loved that Cath’s writing in the fan fic world closely mirrored what was happening in her real life. The details about Cath’s on-campus life were incredible, too. I felt like I was with her. I actually have a good friend who went to school at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and he was in awe of the details I was describing from the boo“But there’s nothing more profound than creating something out of nothing.” Her lovely face turned fierce. “Think about it, Cath. That’s what makes a god – or a mother. There’s nothing more intoxicating than creating something from nothing. Creating something from yourself.” This is a beautiful coming-of-age story. It’s about growing up and finding yourself while trying not to lose all the things (and people) who have made you YOU so far. It’s about learning how to accept new people into your life, while not isolating those who have been there for years. It’s about family and friends, crushes and love. It made me feel like I was a college freshman again. The situations were *that* real. The characters were charming and believable. The dialogue ranged from witty to sweet to teasing to moving and it was sheer perfection. I went through the whole gamut of emotions while reading this book. I was in Cath’s corner the entire time. “When you break from behind the tree, it’s because you want to. It’s the first breath after a long dive. Branches snap under your feet, and the world is hotter and brighter. Ready or not, here I come. Here I come, ready or not.”
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!!! ;-)
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!
I simply adored this book. I felt like I was watching my own life unfold.
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.
I've never related more with a character than when I read Fangirl. Rainbow Rowell has such a gift for creating loveable characters and realistic interactions. This book lead me to read all her other books. One of my favorites.
When I opened this book I did not expect to fall in love with it. If you have not read Fangirl and you are in a book fandom, What are you waiting for!!! Rainbow created such an amazing book that made me laugh, cry and feel happiness all at once. Cath is just such a relatable charater and that makes this book so much better. I am so glad I took the oportunity to read this book because it has changed my view of life. P.S. Thank you Rainbow Rowell(: -Karina Jackson (lol)
Loved everything except the ending.
TEAM LEVI FOR LIFE! I loved this book! It was exceptional, grand, and most importantly, real! I loved Cather and Levi together and while I began to seriously dislike Wren, that just made the book even more of an interesting read. I recommend this to ANYONE.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fangirl has solidified Rainbow Rowell as a must buy, must read, must recommend kind of author. Her YA debut, Eleanor & 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 & 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 & 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.
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 & 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.
This book is bloody brilliant! Truly magnificent! I was so hooked on reading this that I took a sick day at work just so that I could finish reading it in one sitting. I really connected with the main character more than most I read about. There were so many parallels between the main character, Cath, and myself that it felt like this book was about me or written specifically for me. I am from Omaha, Nebraska just like the main character and the author so I got every single Omaha, Lincoln, or Nebraska reference. Every single place mentioned is one that I have been to. Cath even lived in South Omaha, a predominantly Mexican part of Omaha, which is where I have lived most of my life as well. The taco trucks, the blizzard/weather, the stores and gas stations, and restaurants mentioned, and even the bookstore that they all went to at the end of the book when the last Simon Snow book was released are all places that are real for me and that have meaning for me so I felt extra connected to the story and to Cath's character. Even the parts of Cath that had nothing to do with geography were significant for me. Cath's anxiety, her love for a book fandom, the fanfiction, her father's bipolar disorder, the way that Cath deals with her mother issues, just all of her is so like me that it's scary. I truly loved her character and her story. The cast of supporting characters was so delightful. I loved each and every character in this story. Each character had a purpose and brought so much to the story. I love how flawed these characters were. Rowell had no qualms about making these characters as real as possible with imperfections, weaknesses, and bad habits. These are, of course, balanced out with very positive character attributes, but the inclusion of the not so good ones makes me appreciate the characters, the story, and the author even more. Most authors like to have what I refer to as shiny characters. Essentially, characters that are blindingly beautiful and can do no wrong. Perfect. And no one is perfect. This is one thing in literature that I think authors can struggle with because authors love their characters like their own children and can't bring themselves to portray them in a negative way. Rowell's characters felt extremely real. A lot of contemporary YA stories have the same plots rehashed in different ways, but the plot of this story is utterly unique. And the story is truly captivating. It caters to nerds like myself. The story has a very beautiful and realistic portrayal of nerd culture. At least the facet of nerd culture concerning fanfiction. As a book nerd and a reader and writer of fanfiction myself, I felt the story very accurately illustrated this part of nerd culture. And it was so very exciting to read about it since it isn't something that I've seen done before. It is always empowering and invigorating to feel represented. And this book definitely represents me. Apart from the subject matter of the story, I also very much loved the sequence of events and the main character's journey. The story is told so beautifully and honestly. Overall, I was really blown away by this book. It captivated me from the first page. Everything about it is magical. I have never reread a contemporary story before, but this is one that I know I will revisit in the future. I can now certify that I am a Rainbow Rowell fan for life.
Cath is so relatable!!! Every time I read this book,I feel like I should be Wren, because I get Cath when Wren doesn't. Even though I still love Wrens' character as well. This book is one of my favorites, and I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes unlikely romances. It's so good! If you haven't already, read it right now!
This was ok... I really was enjoying it at first. And actually I think I enjoyed 3/4ths of it. There was just so much potential and then it didn't really end. Like there was all this build up and it just kept going. So my review might be different if I had an answer to this question: Did the author rush the ending because of a deadline or did the author purposefully choose to end this novel the way she did? Otherwise it was decent.
I've had FANGIRL on my shelf for years, waiting for the moment when it became "the right book at the right time." It was the best book to begin 2019. This book is swoony and deep, and as a creative writing major and forever fic writer who married her ag college sweetheart, it is very much a book for my heart and soul. Rowell tells a wonderful love story: the story of first loves, family loves, friend loves, and of course, book loves.
"Fangirl" was a fun and sweet story, similar in tone to Eleanor & Park. Cath and her twin sister have gone to college, and college is quickly becoming a time of independence and discovery. Cath finds herself adrift as her twin begins to separate and party, while Cath deals with the family drama and her ever-present love of fanfic for Simon Snow (think Harry Potter Harry/Draco style fanfic). Cath is taking a fiction writing class, but it is not quite what she thought- her fanfic won't work there. Add to that, her growing crush on her roommate's boyfriend, who seems to always be around and is interested in listening to her fanfic. On top of all the newness, her father is having the same troubles, and their absent mother may be popping back into the picture. With a whole storm of emotions- and lots of fanfic- this was a heart-touching story of finding oneself and loving who you are. Overall, I thought it was a fun story, although somewhat emotionally difficult (similar to Eleanor & Park). I definitely recommend it to lovers of contemporary YA fiction.
This book was worth every minute it took to read it and everyone minute it took to read it the second time.