Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Review: Finally, Someone Who Understands

April 1, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Review: Finally, Someone Who UnderstandsFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by Pan Macmillan Australia on April 1, 2014
Genres: Young Adult
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Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate 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.

Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .

You know that feeling when you really, really like something and your life practically revolves around it? Rainbow Rowell captures that feeling perfectly in this novel, from the elation that you feel when the next book in a series is released, to the alienation and loneliness you may feel to people in real life who can’t relate, to the process of writing a piece of fiction that means more to you than living life itself.

That’s why Fangirl has captured the hearts of many readers who can relate. Fanfiction writer Cath, enters college apart from her twin sister Wren, who wants to be her own person and have a go at college without her sister. After doing everything together their whole life, Cath can’t help but be hurt by Wren’s decision. But moving into a dorm room with a new solicitous roommate Reagan, sets in motion a series of events where she will discover herself and find someone who loves and respects her.

There’s so many reasons why I loved Fangirl, because it just captures so many relatable life experiences.

“It’s always so cool to meet somebody else who reads fanfiction in real life…” 

Fangirl is about being out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Cath has always preferred sitting at home alone and writing to going out and meeting people. Being in college with a new roommate, forces her to try new things and experiences, like going to a party and meeting boys in real life. Cath is a sweetheart and an introvert, but she wears her Simon Snow fandom like something to be ashamed of. I could feel her insecurity and awkwardness with people, but her experience shows you that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Fangirl is about a sister/best friend who wants to get away from you and be her own person, who you just have to let go to learn on their own. Wren was a difficult character to symphasise with, because she distances herself from Cath and their family. Instead of making sensible decisions, she thrusts herself into frat parties, drinking and college life. Even though there’s some angst there, I just couldn’t bring myself to blame Wren for the decisions that she made, because I know people like this. It’s realistic.

Fangirl is about acceptance and finding someone who doesn’t judge your passion, who encourages you to do better and to achieve your dreams through it. Oh, Levi was such a gentleman. His calming, jovial presence, his smiles and encouragement was so lovely. He doesn’t have all the smooth moves and he’s not built like a tank, but his chivalry, acceptance of Cath, and his way of looking out for her was totally swoon worthy. I just love Rainbow Rowell’s male love interests, they are so respectful and chivalrous.

It’s not like Levi was going to be impressed by her fanfiction; entertained wasn’t the same as impressed. He already thought she was a weirdo, and this was just going to make her seem that much weirder. 

Fangirl is about so many experiences, that it’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly made it resonate with me, but that’s why it’s a wonderful piece of realistic fiction.

I loved the Simon Snow info dumps throughout the novel, because it is aptly compared to the Potterhead fandom. Baz and Simon are as real and dear to Cath as Harry and Draco are to us, and that is understandable. You can even see differences between Cath’s and the real author’s own writing styles.  It just made this part of Cath’s life all the more real.

In summary, Fangirl is about growing out of a comfortable stage of your life, and into one where you will face new challenges and experiences – and ultimately, come out a changed person. After all, isn’t that what life is about?

I loved the bonus content in this paperback. More Simon Snow, an author’s interview, character illustrations and a comic strip – Yes please!

Thank you to Pan Macmillan Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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43 responses to “Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Review: Finally, Someone Who Understands

  1. YEEESSS!!!!! Incredible review, it reminded me of all the things I flailed about in regards to Fangirl. It was just so different, and perfect and how did Rainbow Rowell do it? My goodness! Levi definitely creeped on me as a love interest though haha
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  2. "Fangirl is about acceptance and finding someone who doesn’t judge your passion, who encourages you to do better and to achieve your dreams through it."

    YES YES YES. That is the message that all books targeted to the YA audience should sell. Not love triangles that are unrealistic and very shallow.

    Embarrassed to admit that I still haven't started Fangirl, and I really, really, really want to. Wonderful review Jeann, makes me want to go out and purchase a copy asap…even though I'm broke. 😛
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle MeadMy Profile

  3. Yay, I'm glad you liked this one 😀 I also gave it five stars just for that reason: it's something we all can understand and relate to. For me, it was probably the fact that she was just as introverted as I am. The fan-fiction was definitely fun and I agree that it had definite Harry Potter tones, which made it even more fun 🙂
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  4. Oh I've been planning to read this one for so long. Everyone seem to love it and I even though about ordering a copy and then the lovely lady at the library asked me to recommend her some YA contemps to order for library and I included this one as well 😀 I used my charm. I cannot wait for it to arrive and for me to finally read it. Great review, Jeann 🙂
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  5. I've heard NOTHING but amazing things about Fangirl, yet I keep putting it off. It sounds like the characters and the plot are evenly matched though, making this an absolute winner. Lovely review! 🙂

  6. Yay! Glad you loved this one, Jeann! Totally agree with everything you said, except for the Simon Snow bits. I kind of skipped through a lot of those near the end, lol! But Cath was so relatable and Levi was asdfghjkl adorable!! <3 Fantastic review!
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  7. I have so much respect for Rainbow Rowell because I just love her so much. She always creates stories thst one way or another you can't help but connect with them. A part of you is written into those characters in the book and your forever linked to them. oh & she makes some pretty damn nice male characters too *sigh* Levi…

    I remember reading it and thinking at one point the book was going to have a love triangle but than luckily that died down quickly!

    I'm so happy you loved this one Jeann!

    Lily @ Lilysbookblog
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  8. "Fangirl is about acceptance and finding someone who doesn’t judge your passion, who encourages you to do better and to achieve your dreams through it." YES PLEASE!! Levi sounds absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to meet him. Ha! I'm also glad that you enjoyed the fanfic since some people had problems with it. So very glad you loved this book so much, Jeann!
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  9. Lovely review, Jeann! I'm so glad that you loved it. I adored it so much that I read it within a night. I loved how Cath was so relate able. And yes, Levi! <3 He's such a charismatic gentleman like you said. The only issue I had was with the inclusion of the fan-faction sections. They were unnecessary and I skipped them altogether.

    Great review, Jeann!
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  10. Awwww 🙂 I'm so happy you found a good book, Jeann. I've heard mostly mixed reviews about this one, but as someone who've been in fandoms herself and is STILL writing fanfiction, I can totally understand where the MC is coming from. Up until now I still prefer to stay at home, read books, watch TV, and play video games than go outside to meet people. It's such just a hassle, you know? I love my solitude and I don't think I'll be changing anytime soon (I'm not a complete hermit though, I swear! I still go out and stuff when the mood strikes). Looks like this one is worth a try! Excellent review, Jeann! Loved it!
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    • Yeah Cath was really relatable to a lot of us! If not for the fanfic then the fangirling. Sounds like you're more of an introvert, and that's perfectly ok! Thank you Faye, I think you'll relate to this one.

  11. I'm so pleased you liked this, Jeann!!! I thought it was amazing too and you're right, it's about so many different things. Rainbow has a great way of weaving a bunch of different stories and life lessons into a completely unexpected story. Such a talent.

    I will say that I didn't particularly enjoy the dumping of the fan fiction scenes though. If the Simon and Baz scenes actually provided insight or were relevant, it would've been a different story and I would've really liked those parts. But they were just kind of random and ended up bugging me a little.

    Other than that though, this really was awesome! Cath was an amazing protagonist (balancing out what a bitch Wren could be lol)

    • I kind of like the convoluted plot you know? It takes realism to the next level. I've heard that people didn't really enjoy the fanfic dumps because they took up such a big chunk of the novel. I wish they showed us more about it instead of snippets here and there.

  12. I SO LOVED THIS BOOK. IT WAS ONE OF MY FAVOURITES OF THE YEAR. (I feel like I always say that. But I mean it! My other favourite of this year so far has been Unhinged…hehe.) I really loved how easy it was to connect to Cath! And while I wanted to thump Wren in the beginning, I actually understood her a bit better at the end. It was such a sweet book. A bit sad, but mostly awesome. Great review, Jeann!!
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  13. Glad you love it! I really like Raibow Rowell's writing style, it's simple but captures perfectly 🙂 Agree that Levi is swoon worthy, like all fangirls want ///// The only thing that made me lost is everything about Simon Snow, because I didn't grow up with HP haha.
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  14. I really loved parts of this book, like the fanfiction and fandom obsession. I even liked that Cath was pretty close to being the same way I was in college…but I think it's because everything was so realistic in terms of those around her that the rest just didn't work for me. I didn't like it when the stuff happened to me so I didn't enjoy seeing it happen to Cath either. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much though, I might try to re-read this one in the future.
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  15. I'm seriously obsessed with this book and I loved every word, every moment in this story. Levi was beyond perfect and I loved how Cath read to him. *sigh* I mean, there are just so many good moments throughout this story that I couldn't get enough. Rainbow Rowell is by far one of my most favorite authors…I love her. Stunning review Jeann! 🙂
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  16. Yay, I'm glad you loved this one! Levi really crept up on me as I thought I wasn't going to like him at first, but how can resist that smiling guy?

    Cath was the first protagonist I could TRULY connect too. There's been others where I bond with or with wishful thinking place myself in their same category, but with Cath I can honestly say that we are kindred souls. Rainbow Rowell won me over heart and soul with this novel and I can't wait to read more of her works! Great review, you summed it up quite perfectly! 🙂
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