Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


SUMMARY FROM GOODREADS:
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
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?


MY TAKE:
I wasn't a fan of Eleanor & Park, but I liked the description of this book so much that I thought I should go ahead and read it anyway.

In Fangirl, Cath is a freshman who is also an extremely popular fanfiction writer. While things are going mostly okay in terms of her fanfiction, she's having trouble coping with her final project for her favorite class. She's got her father and her twin to worry about too.

I'm glad I read this book. I liked that the story was more about Cath's family relationships and her writing and obsession with a fictional world, and that the romance wasn't the biggest part of the story. It helped me connect with Cath and sympathize with her. She actually reminded me a few times of one author whom I follow on Twitter.

Anyway, I felt bad about the troubles that Cath and her family go through, but I enjoyed seeing how they were able to overcome it in realistic and non-melodramatic ways.

I also used to write fanfiction myself, back in the day, so I could relate to pretty much all the things that Cath had to say about that. (I understand, of course, that Simon and Baz are obviously based on Harry and Draco, and while I love Harry Potter, I was never a fan of that ship. I prefer Harry/Hermione.) I do agree with her that it's easier to just manipulate characters in a world that already exists, but I also think it's fun to create your own world. Mostly because everything you write automatically becomes canon.

I think the biggest reason why this was a four-star book for me and not a five-star one was Levi. Specifically, his reaction after Cath sort of decides that she's willing to give him another chance. As I'm writing this, I get that maybe it's just to show that Levi is clueless, but as I was reading it, it really irritated me and made Levi come across to me as arrogant and insincere. Too bad, because up until that point, I actually kinda liked him. He was still a nice guy later on, but at that point, I just couldn't get over that scene, and that was that for me when it came to Levi.

THE GOOD:

  1. It's not all romance.
  2. The family and roommate dynamics were interesting to read.
  3. It's a fun look at college life. 

THE BAD:

  1. About halfway through the book, I started skipping the longer excerpts from Cath's fanfiction. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
“Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity.”  
READ IT IF:

  1. You're a fan of Harry/Draco.
  2. You've always wanted to be a writer.
  3. You love reading or writing fanfiction. 

RATING:
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