Description (from Goodreads):
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?
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Page Count: 445
Series: Stand Alone
How I got This Book: Bought (Barnes and Nobles Collector’s Edition)
Blurbs from the back of the book that I think describe this book perfectly:
“Absolutely Captivating” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A deliciously warmhearted nerd power ballad destined for greatness” –New York Journal of Books
“A funny and tender coming—of-age story that’s also the story of a writer finding her voice…touching and utterly real.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The Magic here is not cast with wands but with Rowell’s incredible ability to build complex, vivid, troubling, and triumphant relationships” –Booklist (starred review)
Cath is future me. Cath is future me. Cath is future me. I am past Cath.
Does that mean I get Levi?
I bought this book for my birthday on Thursday and have been reading it every moment since then. Well, most of the moments. Now that I have finally finished it, I don’t want it to be over. I literally finished it, like, 45 minutes before I started working on this review and I already want to reread it.
This was the first time that I actually took review notes WHILE I was reading the book, because a lot of my other reviews are books that I read before I started a book blog. (And future ones will be that same way.) I don’t know why that matters and needs to be in this review, it just does, okay?
Also: If you have not read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, please click out of this review unless you have a burning desire to be spoiled for this book. Like, no, there are not really any HUGE plot twists that will ruin the book for you. But usually I do a spoiler section where I have a lot of the specific things that I really liked about said book, but for Fangirl, the whole review is specific wonderful things. But here is a little overall thought on the book for those of you who have not yet read it: You should. Click out of here and go onto amazon or something. If you’d prefer you can drive to the bookstore. Whichever gets you this book faster.
|||| SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT ||||
So, I have a lot of things that I want to discuss in this review, and I will add them into this review in roughly the order they came to me. That being said, I want to start with something that hooked me from the start of this book. A scene that was roughly 30 pages in. That scene where Cath is in her first Fiction Writing class. When Professor Piper is asking the class why they write fiction. I loved so many things about this scene, so here they are.
The first thing is Cath herself. Like I said before, this scene is about 30 (ish) pages into the book, so at this point we know that Cath is painfully shy and doesn’t like big crowds. Social Anxiety, et cetera. But we still, even though she is the main character, haven’t seen a lot of or learned much about, Cath. Herself, her inside her head. The way she normally is when the book isn’t busy with plot setup. I loved how she was answering the questions in her head. Too scared to answer out loud (even if she had the best answers) but she still thought about the question.
The second thing is her answers to that question that Piper was asking. “Why do we write fiction?” The way that Rainbow Rowell described the act of writing through Cath made me feel at home in his book almost immediately. I am a writer, as well. Writing first, reading/blogging second. And I have actually, word for word, described writing the exact way that Cath described it whilst answering Piper’s question.
The third reason I love this scene is because it kind of sets up the book. Cath’s first college class. Well, she had classes before this one, but this is the first one we see in detail. Also, reading about a college campus is kind of uncharted territory for me, because I haven’t gone to college yet. So it was kind of building up this setting for the non-college age readers.
The next thing I want to discuss is, for at least the first half-ish of the book, the way that Reagan and Levi are so protective of Cath. They see her as this little tiny freshman and the way that they take care of her is really sweet. For example:
When Levi insisted on walking Cath to and from the library. I didn’t really know enough about Levi at that point to know if I really liked him or not. But when Cath would call the room, and he would run the second he heard the phone, my heart just melted.
Also: the way that he and Reagan took Cath bowling because she was all alone. That was really sweet how they went out of their way to invite her along and include her.
Another example: When Reagan and Levi were eating all of her protein bars so that she would have to eat real food. And the fact that they were worried about her that way in the first place.
Speaking of Reagan…I did not like her at first. I actually felt exactly like Cath did towards her for a while. She walks into the room for the first time and starts cursing and smoking. Nice. I thought that she was kind of a jerk when she would just stay out all night and come back hungover and high in the morning. I didn’t like her party animal personality. I still don’t really like that part of her, but I do really like the way that she took Cath under her wing. Even if she only tried to help Cath out because she thought that Cath was pathetic. She still helped. And I think that she cared a little more than she let on 😉
And when Cath decided to go to that party and saw Levi kissing that girl I really liked the way that Reagan reacted to feeling sorry. She tried to get Cath to cheer up and would keep Levi out of the room and I really liked how her character developed through that scene and through the book in general.
And Levi…I think that a lot of people reading this book really liked Levi’s character. But I REALLY LIKED Levi’s character. I loved how he was so sweet and such a gentleman. I loved the way that he always wanted to make sure that Cath was taken care of, even before they were a thing. Such as: When Wren sends Cath that 911 text and Levi throws on his coat and drives Cath to find her sister. And the way that he stood up to the jerks in the bar once they got there.
I really liked the way that he took care of her like he was a best friend or protective big brother. Also, how he was so interested in Cath’s fandom life. For a guy that pretty much knows everything, that threw a pretty big curveball at him. The way that he was so genuinely interested in what Cath cares about was just (just) really sweet. And the way that Levi would smile at everybody and giggle at everything really made me like him even more.
Speaking of, I really liked the scenes where Cath was sitting at her desk just reading him fanfiction. It just seemed sweet and friendly.
Another thing about Levi that I really liked: The fact that he is a sweet Farm boy middle kid that always calls Cath “Cather”.
And then we have the twins. Let me start with Cath, however. But I have a lot to say about both of them.
Cath: is me. Nearly everything about Cath is nearly everything about me. I would say specifics, but there are none, just…ALL OF IT.
When I went into this book I was thinking it would be a little more about the relationships, but I was happily surprised to find out that it was more about Cath, her writing, Simon Snow Fanfiction, and Cath curled up in hoodies and sweat pants typing on her computer all night long. For some reason, I just really liked that more than half of the book was just that.
I really like so much about Cath that I think if I listed all of the reasons, this review would be even longer than it already will be. But I just (just) really admire her as a character and a writer.
From the very start of the book I did not like Wren. When she cast Cath aside, not to mention Simon, I just really, really did not like her. At. All. I wanted to, because Cath did. But I just couldn’t because she was a jerk for a while there. Especially when she made fun of or made jabs at Cath about Simon.
And then when Cath would have flashbacks of her and Wren I wanted to like Wren even more, but I still couldn’t. Then we come to the 911 text incident. The fact that the two girls are twins made me want to like them both. When Cath would talk about her and Wren writing fanfic and overall fangirling and obsessing over Simon, I thought that Wren would be just like Cath. But she’s not. She likes to drink. She likes to party. She likes boys. She is very frivolous and out there. She is wild and, like they say near the end of the book, out of control.
So I spent the majority of this book disliking Wren, but then near the end of the book, after the hospital scare, when Wren and Cath make up, I started to like Wren more. Cath is the guide through this book, so you see what she sees, I guess. We started to see more of the nerdy side of Wren and I really liked that.
Also on the topic of Avery family relationships: I LOVED Cath’s relationship with her dad. I loved how they were constantly firing jokes back and forth and how Cath is a good girl, so they bond more in a positive way then he and Wren do. I loved how they would always tease each other and how Cath wanted to be taking care of him. Art (her dad) brought a kind of nervous humor to almost every scene he was in.
And Laura. I was very pleased with the way that whole note ended. Where Cath is able to talk about her without losing it, but they didn’t even come close to making up. The whole book I was just worried that it would end with a happily ever after with Laura. I’m so glad that it didn’t. I mean, obviously I want their family to be whole again, but I feel like it is better for everyone without her there.
A part that I found just (just) really awesome was that scene in the library when that girl was talking about the amazingness that is Magicath. I felt so happy for Cath and I wished that Cath would have said something!!!! Either way, I loved that part so, so much.
A part in the library that I didn’t like was everything around Nick. From the minute he came into the picture I knew something was off about him and then when he tried to steal Cath’s writing I got so mad. Stealing a writer’s work is a crime that should earn a person 20 years in prison and lifetime ban from any and all books. I’m glad he didn’t get away with it.
I got really invested in this book. I was super interested in what was going to happen to the characters and how all of the little threads would be tied up, and one of the things that kept me interested throughout this book was the dialog. It all just seemed so natural and every character had such a unique voice. All of the conversations just felt so real, and a lot of the times they were very naturally funny. None of it was forced and stiff.
And now I have to talk about Levi again, because…Well, because Levi. Duh.
The friendship between Cath and Levi is just pure perfection. I love their jokes and teasing, but I also loved the dramatic parts. Like the part when Levi drove Cath for the 911 bar scare, and then bought her dinner. And when he drove her home for the weekend in a snowstorm. And even the friendship on Cath’s side. Like staying up all night to read him a book so he could get a decent grade. And even the simple, less dramatic things like making him some breakfast for goodness sakes. And him bringing her lattes and her explaining fanfic to him. It is all just so sweet.
Something that happens in a lot of YA books that makes me really annoyed is that relationships will start as a friendship and I will LOVE those parts of the book. And then they start dating or falling in love and admitting it or whatever and the whole story changes. The characters suddenly can’t be in the same room as each other without kissing. But not in this book. True, there are some kissing scenes, but even when Cath and Levi ARE dating, they are, like, best friends. They still joke and tease and laugh. And they don’t have to be kissing or confessing their love for one another every living, breathing moment. So I really liked that the friendship stayed even throughout the falling in love thing.
Random side note about Levi: His patience makes me smile.
Another random side note (this one’s not about Levi): Magicath and Wrenegade are awesome FanFixx names.
This next part of the review here is probably my favorite part of the whole book. The Simon Snow excerpts. I love, love, LOVED the excerpts from the Simon Snow books and fanfictions. Because this is a contemporary book, about a future me, that also has (basically) never before seen chapters of Harry Potter in it. Like, there is this whole new Hogwarts like place with Wizard like characters THAT WE HAVEN’T READ ABOUT BEFORE IN THIS CONTEMPORARY BOOK. This book takes Harry Potter and basically a version of the reader, and smooshes them together to make one book. HOW COULD A PERSON NOT LOVE THIS?!?!
This book also makes me want to write! I have been planning my novel for a while now and this book just makes me want to stay up all night tapping on a keyboard making up a world. It makes me even more excited to read. It makes me want to write even more. This book just makes me happy.
And that being said, I wish it wasn’t over. For real. I want Rainbow Rowell to just keep writing sequels of just Cath and her laptop. Or something like that…? I don’t know, I just (just) want so much more of this story. BECAUSE IT WAS SO WONDERFUL WHILE IT LASTED.
The last 50(ish) pages were kind of difficult to get through because I was so sad that it was almost over that I couldn’t focus too well. But I just love the whole dang book so much.
A side note: I got the Barnes and Nobles exclusive Edition and I have a few things to say about it. 1: THE COLOR OF THE DUST JACKET IS LIKE 50 WATTS. 2: The fanart is BEAUTIFUL. And also very fitting for the story. And 3: When you take the dust jacket off there is a little coffee cup carved into the book. It has Cath’s name on it and that makes me more excited than it probably should.
I think that’s about it for this review! Tell me in the comments if you liked this book or not. What are some of you favorite quotes? Favorite Scenes? Characters? I really liked that fanfic with the 5th Hare, did you? Tell me your thoughts down below! I would love to “fangirl” with you down in the comments!!! (Pun very strongly intended.)
I will have a new post up soon(ish). I hope you enjoyed this review!
Add this book on Goodreads!: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My Overall Rating: