"Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.”
“Fangirl” is a fun and light read that I enjoyed immensely. I usually do not read a lot of contemporary books but when I had a chance to get the ebook for little money I decided to give it a try. “Fangirl” has gotten rave reviews in the booktube community and everyone has been talking about it. I admit I was curious. And, oh boy, was it a great idea to pick it up. I flew though it in a day. It was fun, emotional, cute, sad, and oh so lovely.
But let us start with the cover because it is the first thing that you see, so it is the first thing that I judge. I like the cover of “Fangirl”. It is simple but appropriate for a New Adult book (or is it still Young Adult?). I like the comic-like, drawn characters and the minimalistic style to it. It fits the feeling of the book.
The back of the book is not to my liking. I am not a big fan of not giving a synopsis in favor for praising reviews. I want to know what the book is about and not what other people think about it. Give me a good synopsis and I am happy.
So what is this book about? It is sold as a fandom book. Cath, our main character, is a huge fangirl of Simon Snow. In this book Simon Snow is a book series that was very successful and reminds the reader of Harry Potter. Rainbow Rowell does not erase Harry Potter in her book. Simon Snow does not replace Harry Potter but exists after Harry Potter. Cath is very active in the fandom and writes a lot of and quite successfully fanfiction. Now, I have read my fare share of fanfictions and even wrote a few on my own, so I could relate to that. What I do not like is that this book is made out to be mainly about this part of the book. In my opinion the book is about so much more and the whole fandom aspect is only a part of Cath characterization.
This book covers something else that everyone can relate to: the change that comes after leaving high school. In this case it is the change that comes with starting college but it could also be moving to a new city and starting a new job, a new life. Leaving behind the security of home and what you know and what you are comfortable with. Cath has a twin sister Wren, with whom she has been sharing a room at home. Moving to a new city to start college Wren forces Cath out of her comfort zone by not agreeing to share a room. She is not even in the same building or has the same classes. So Cath is at this new, overwhelming place with a new roommate and new people everywhere and she has to learn how to find a place in this life after high school.
I love the characters of the book. Cath is an interesting main character. She is not very sociable, at times quite awkward, and in my opinion a little chicken. But at the same time she is so sweet and loyal and helping that I admire her lovely personality. Now her roommate Reagan seems quite the opposite. She is outgoing and fun, kind of harsh and into your face at times, which makes her the perfect friend for Cath. And then there is of course Levi, Reagan’s friend. Levi is the kind of man everyone hopes for. That is all I say. :)
Rainbow Rowell has a great writing style. All her characters come to life not by telling but by showing. Her dialogues are fantastic. You do not even realize you are reading. It feels like you are standing in the room listening to them. The way Rowell describes the changes in Cath’s relationship to her sister and to her father is so subtle. You see the differences but it is never spelled out. Cath grows so much in the course of this book. She learns that there are people who are not always in her favor but that there are others who are and who will fight for her and her possibilities.
"Fangirl" is not a book about the fandom. It is a book about leaving your home and growing up. That is why I can only give four stars. Throughout the book there a snippets from Cath’s fanfictions or the actual Simon Snow books. They do nothing for the story. At some point I even started skipping over them. I liked that Cath is a fanfiction writer and that it has such an influence in her life but regarding the book I could have done without the excerpts.
I can recommend this book to everyone. Like I said I do not even read contemporary books that often and I loved it. So if you like contemporary books, pick it up. If you do not read contemporary books but want to give it a try, pick it up. It is not a master piece or a life changing book but it is entertaining. And sometimes that is all a book has to be.