Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fangirl Book Review

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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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? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review by Brittany:

So I'm a little late to the Rainbow Rowell sensation, just now picking up Fangirl. And I loved this book.

First of all, the pieces of the Simon Snow series that Rowell tucked into Cath's story were fantastic. I enjoyed jumping into that piece of fiction which reading my own piece of fiction, if that makes any sense.

Secondly, the themes of anxiety and depression were spun in such a way that the book was able to stay light. While the reader recognizes that Cath struggles with anxiety, largely due to her mother leaving her at a young age, Cath's character is written in such a way that she is able to joke and function, keeping the book from getting bogged down with what could be dark themes. Her twin sister Wren is also clearly a bit of a mess, partaking in underage drinking constantly and even ending up in the hospital. It takes a lot of work for both girls to trust those around them and to overcome the pieces of life that have pulled them down.

I also liked that Reagan, Cath's roommate, is such a great character without being a super nice character. She's rough around the edges and doesn't say all the right things all the time, but she clearly cares for Cath and quickly became a favorite of mine. I wonder about her issues and why she's so rough and tumble.

There is also a really great family dynamic written into the book, allowing Cath the chance to decide if she wants a belated relationship with her mother or if she's better off not pursuing that avenue. The reader also gets invited back home, where Cath's father is still clearly struggling with his wife leaving a decade before. His heart was broken and he never quite recovered, which then had a huge effect on Cath.

Overall, this book had some great themes to explore, well-written characters, and fantastic relationships. I loved reading this book and would definitely recommend.

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