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Friday, July 4, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell

Release Date: 30th January 2014

My Rating: 4/5

Blurb:
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

In a Nutshell:
Fangirl is a book for anyone who is feeling nervous about heading off to college or who doesn’t like trying new things and is perfectly happy in their comfort zone. It shows that change doesn’t have to happen all at once but when it does happen, it’s not all bad and there is a whole world waiting for you to make it your own.

My Review:
First off, let me be honest. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell’s hugely popular previous novel. I know, don’t hate me, but it just wasn’t for me. There were parts of it I liked but when I finished it I was left with no residual feelings or thoughts. Just ‘meh’. So I was nervous about what I would think of Fangirl. While it didn’t quite hit the 5/5 mark for me, I certainly enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

I really like books that discuss people going off to college, partly because it is that next stage in life when things start changing and you start taking more control of your life. And partly because I am at university now so even though I am a few years older than the characters, I can still relate to what is going on and it all feels quite familiar.

The relationship between Cath and her twin sister Wren feels very natural and typical of the way people change. They’re off at college, away from the people who knew them and Wren wants it to be a new beginning for her. It’s not that she doesn’t love the time she spends with Cath, but she is looking for new experiences and a chance to be her own person, as Wren, not as the ‘Cath and Wren’ package. Wren not only represents a sister but I think also the way friends change as you get older, something which I also thought was well-portrayed in Gayle Forman’s Just One Day which I read last year.

Stop frowning. We’re prettier when we smile. Are you sure you don’t want to do a shot?

I saw a lot of myself in Cath which is probably one of the reasons I enjoyed the storyline so much. A lot of the time I found myself thinking that’s what I would do or how I would react in that situation. I can’t say I’d live on protein bars because I’d be too afraid to ask where the dining hall was, nor would I spend all my spare time writing fan fiction, but I am not the biggest fan of change so I can relate.

For Cath to evolve, change needs to happen in baby steps: her writing class, meeting new people, writing something other than Simon Snow fan fiction… Cath’s life takes on a new shape and meaning over time, rather than instantly and drastically like Wren. And that’s ok because everyone is different and people react and adjust to situations at their own speed.

Other things I liked and didn’t like?
  • I really enjoyed the chapters that featured Cath and Wren’s dad and how they explore his mental illness and how he reacts and tries to adapt to both his girls going off to college. College is not just an adjustment for the girls but for their dad left behind.
  • Cath’s room-mate Reagan is full of attitude and the complete opposite of Cath which makes for interesting but ultimately the perfect dynamics between the two.
  • Reagan’s friend Levi is absolutely adorable and while his confidence immediately distances him from Cath, slowly she lets down her barriers and opens her eyes to what an awesome guy he is.
  • What I didn’t like throughout the novel was the fan fiction. I know it is a main part of Cath’s character but I had no interest in reading the excerpts scattered throughout the book.
You’re so helpless sometimes. It’s like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box.
 
Fangirl is a book for anyone who is feeling nervous about heading off to college or who doesn’t like trying new things and is perfectly happy in their comfort zone. It shows that change doesn’t have to happen all at once but when it does happen, it’s not all bad and there is a whole world waiting for you to make it your own. 

My edition from Pan Macmillan came with inside cover illustrations!

1 comment:

  1. I just really adore this book. Cath's character is the most relate-able character I've ever read, and it was honestly so nice to read about a character who is so similar to me in so many ways. Rainbow Rowell understand what it's like to not fit in and what it's like to have your entire world revolve around a fandom and I really appreciate that. And this book really makes me want to write fanfiction again, it's just so inspiring.

    Marlene
    Info site for Ketchikan Fishing Charter

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