Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Challenge criteria: A book set on a college or univeristy campus.


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?

Image via Goodreads

What I liked:

Cath is quite heartwarming. She speaks to and for each of us who still have Harry Potter pillows and t shirts in our house.

I really connected with Cath in many ways. I saw a lot of my anxieties in her, shared her ease at living online, and her writing was a pretty good mirror of mine. It’s even similar right down to the feedback I’ve gotten from teachers in my past school days.

What I didn’t like:

Ok, there’s no easy way to say it. I skipped the Simon and Baz sections. It had a really heavy fantasy feel, and fantasy just isn’t my thing. I read a few of them, but when I realised I wasn’t enjoying them I skipped them.

Sorry not sorry.

I didn’t like Wren at all. I do understand the want to make a new life and new friends when you go to college, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of those who’ve been there for you and with you throughout your life.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the relationship between Cath and Wren and their Dad. It seemed a lot more like friends than caregiver and children, and it wasn’t something I loved about the book.

Out of five:

Four. A fantastic book for those of us who live their lives online.

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