Good day, iggles! I’m Sonya, one of the new YA book reviewers. I hope you enjoy this review and find the rest to come both fun and informative to read.
When I finished reading Rainbow Rowell’s novel Fangirl, I had two immediate and contradictory responses: the urge to write this review and the need to put it off for a few days. I enjoyed this book so much upon finishing that I wanted to write a glowing reviewing recommending it to everyone, but I knew I needed to let it sit for a few days. How would I feel after stewing my thoughts?
Well, I still adore the book, despite the fact that it tore out my heart and stomped on it–more than once–but in that way that the truest book lovers enjoy.
Fangirl chronicles the first year of college for Cath Avery–freshman, twin, and Simon Snow fangirl. Cath writes fanfiction, decks out her half of her dorm room in Simon Snow swag, and has no interest in making friends when she gets to college. Naturally, Rowell throws our leading lady into every situation that could challenge these traits. Battling a professor’s opinion that fanfiction isn’t legitimate writing, navigating the treacherous new inklings of love, and facing the diverging of her life’s path from her sister’s, Cath experiences a freshman year that is, sure, pretty dispiriting, but not wholly unbelievable either. My own personal experiences going into college helped the novel to resonate with me, and I’d be surprised if there wasn’t even one time in other readers’ lives when they could relate, even if it wasn’t in college.
A sucker for characterization, I adore the way Rowell portrayed each person. I was continually surprised by their attitudes and actions, hence the heartbreak. It wasn’t all bad surprises, though; other characters had me cheering and fistpumping, backing them up and wanting to shake Cath and convince her to listen to them. (Cath’s social woes are a stubborn and frustrating trait that will make you want to yell at her once or twice.)
If I did need to come up with a criticism it would simply be the characterization of Cath’s father. I know she’s away at school, and I know the book isn’t about him, but I wish there had been more to him than just what Rowell shows us. He comes off as a purely sympathetic character, one who doesn’t necessarily give us a reason to root for him, but rather mostly to pity him. While this does play well into who Cath is, it felt too close to one dimensional for me to be completely content.
Overall, I recommend this to any fangirls (or boys) out there. If you write fanfiction, if you’ve ever been to a midnight release, if you have marathons with friends or alone, then this book will speak to you in a way you’ll understand.