So my first read of 2016 was “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell. I don’t know why this wasn’t my first review!
When I worked at Target, I remember seeing this book on the shelf and picking it up and storing away in my memory bank for later. Though I wanted to purchase it, there was no way I could because I was actually trying to get rid of a load of books and save money for grad school. Then I got a new job and had even less time to read (6 AM to 6:30 PM days, anyone?) and spent every available moment Skyping with my husband-to-be, so I didn’t read much then, either. Anything I read had to be on my kindle because I couldn’t take many books overseas with me.
Then I got here and had loads of university reading and a dissertation to do, and NOW I finally have the free time to read it! I’ve waited three years to read this book!
It was definitely worth the wait. I haven’t had a chance to read any of Rainbow Rowell’s other stuff, but I have been converted.
Synopsis from Amazon:
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 . . .
I have to absolutely say that what had me hooked was Cath writing fanfiction. What a perfectly modern character! I love that more and more things in pop culture are referencing fanfiction as I think it has become such a huge part of the fan experience (Shoutout to Tina Belcher). I spent hours reading and writing Harry Potter fanfiction back in the day (Snape/Hermione 4eva). I still have a load saved to my computer!
Tina Belcher, my personal fanfiction author hero
Cath, to me, was very real. Her concerns, anxieties, eagerness, everything felt absolutely authentic.
There are hints of romance in this which I found to be very sweet and not overwhelming at all. The emphasis is mainly on Cath and her concerns, which I was very impressed with.
Each of the chapters start with a snippet from either the Simon books that Cath’s fanfiction is based off of, or a snippet of Cath’s fanfiction. I have read reviews that some people have found this annoying and have skipped them altogether, but I found them to be charming. Rowell has even gone on to do a complete novel based on the Simon books titled Carry On.
I was so happy this was my first read of 2016. I started the year off right! I completely fell in love with the book and combed through YouTube to try to find any sort of fan videos of it. I found an amazing one that you should check out of Cath reading her fanfiction to Levi.
Rainbow Rowell also has a brilliant website with all her current news and events here.
Have you read Fangirl? What did you think?