Goodreads: In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
A New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of 2013
I was so excited about this book that I read 20 pages of it waiting in line at the library. My hands were literally tingling with excitement about reading the book! And now, 2 1/2 hours later, I've finished it. There are SO MANY OTHER THINGS I should be doing right now (read: I have auditions for the next month), but I just couldn't stop myself! I shouldn't have read those 20 pages...I might have been able to resist...
I love this book so much. I love the characters so much. It's everything I love about contemporary YA, and it added complete irrestistability with the addition of fanfiction. In many ways I'm like Cath, and in some I'm like Wren. Actually out of all the characters, I'm most likely to be Levi if you disregard the whole reading issue bit. And I think it's fantastic that I can relate in some way to every single one of her characters. Wren and Cath drama felt so real. Not melodramatic, and not shallow, but what it feels like in the situation. And I love that they aren't the same, and they aren't opposites, they're simply their own people. The character development in this is just so amazing (even if I feel like Wren more reverted to original self). And I love Reagan/Levi's friendship with Cath in the beginning. I laughed so hard at some of the parts.
Rainbow Rowell read fanfiction to research beforehand, and that makes me love her. I've talked a little bit about my involvement in fanfiction, and how much I absolutely love it. There's something amazing about reinterpreting someone's work, to reshape how we view certain characters, setting, and relationships. I think I love fanfiction so much because since childhood I have loved fairy tale retellings easily as much as I love the original story. But I digress.
I did have a few quibbles with the book - mostly about Wren. It feels like she didn't go through character development so much as she was suddenly very different people. And honestly I really disliked her for the better part of this book. I think if we'd seen a little bit of what their relationship before college was like maybe I wouldn't have felt so confused by her sudden personality changes? But honestly in the grand scheme of things, that still wouldn't be enough to lower my rating below 5 stars. Everything in this book was so outstanding it more than makes up for it!