Just Finished: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffins

Release Date:  September 2013

Fangirl

Synopsis:  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? Open her heart to someone? Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?

Review:  I read this one awhile back.  Actually, I’ve read several books awhile back.  And several more I DNF (Did not Finish) because hey, I have a life, and different interest… and yeah maybe, I was a little bit lazy too and if it didn’t grab my attention – next one please.  I shall do a review/comment section on those books in the next few days… or weeks.  I’ve been super busy during the summer.

REAL REVIEW STARTS HERE:  I enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park, which I do not have a review of up because I read that book during the transition of re-evaluating if I wanted to do reviews or not and decided upon the moment not to…. etc.  Anyway (today I guess will be filled with side comments), I absolutely loved that book.  So when those weird Minnesotan’s decided to boycott and demand to erase Rainbow Rowell’s and the book’s existence from the Earth and demanded the firing of the librarians in their state who love the book… I went out and bought 2 more copies of the book and gave them to friends.

I enjoyed this book, but not to the extent of Eleanor and Park.  I loved Eleanor, she showed perseverance and had a will of iron, and though flawed was likable.  Cath… I didn’t like so much.  In fact, I liked her sister more, who to most people, would seem more like a total bi*ch.  Though I’m only talking personality wise.  If I were to judge and take in accordance their actions, neither one would be likable.  The sister makes some horrible mistakes and doesn’t quite accept responsibilities while Cath’s insecurity and neediness was too extreme for me.  NOTE:  FOR ME.  I love independence.  I love self-discoveries and explorations.  When I went away to college I choose a university that was on the other side of the country, where I knew no one and had no family members within a 900 mile radius.  I was a freshman in college and in a freaking “brand new world” of “I’m gonna go out and have fun, learn, and make new friends.”  I loved the experience.  So I don’t quite understand the kids who would literally cry and mope in their room because they are so homesick and thus they don’t want to do anything… not that there’s anything wrong with that (well maybe …. just a little… I mean live a little… grow a little… crying about it won’t help… well it’ll relieve some of your emotions but at the end of that cry fest you are still stuck away from home).  So thus I liked Wren more because she was more independent and more willing to try out new things.  Cath just rubbed me the wrong way and was too whiny, insecure, and depressing.  Which her roommate notes all the time and is rough and gruff with her, and – I just absolutely love her room mate.

The boy spectrum wasn’t all that great.  I didn’t like either boy.  Yes, there is an attempted gleam of a love triangle here… but one is squashed while the other is… eh, how should I put this…. I wished Cath choose neither really, but she chose one and it didn’t sit right with me.  But a reading friend of mine pointed out that if the boy she choose didn’t make the mistake he did he would have been to perfect, too incredible… and I could see that.  (Though why not?!  Why not have a guy who treats you nice and like an actual human being rather than a possession with no needs).  But yes, I will agree that having a flawed characteristic that isn’t the abusive, over bearing boyfriend was a really nice change.

Cath is stuck in her fan-fictiondom and while I admire her for her tenacity for writing, her self made circumstances of her writing class draws no sympathy from me.

I do admire the complexity in which Rowell puts into this book.  There is personal issues, writing/creative issues, room mate issues, and family issues.  I never felt overwhelmed and everything felt very natural.

I do however, love this fictional world of Simon Snow.  Deeply similar to that of Harry Potter, the world of Simon Snow seems almost as fascinating and when I read the snippets of the Simon Snow world, I wanted to read more.  Of course, like Cath I seemed to be more invested in the Simon x Balth… Apparently, I have a fan-fictionist heart somewhere.

Read-a-likes:

Reality BoyReality Boy by A.S. King

Why the Recommendation:  Reality Boy and Fangirl share the thematic tone of finding acceptance in the places you’ll go and be.  Both main characters seems to have reputations to uphold and break free of.

Impossible Knife of MemoryThe Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Why the Recommendation:  Both characters in the book are mainly raised by their fathers.  Both fathers in the book struggles with their lives in raising kids and fighting their own personal issues  (not their fault or of their own making), who are integral in the characterization of both the main characters and their lives.

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