by Rainbow Rowell
Read: September 6 - 7, 2013
Published: September 10, 2013 by St. Martin's Press
Source: ARC from BEA **THANK YOU St. Martins**
Category: Contemporary, Coming of Age, College Years, Romance, YA/NA
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
Official Summary: 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?
I realize it's presumptuous of me to address you by your first name, but I know you know how awesome it is, and I'm not sure when I'll be able to write a letter to someone with that name ever again. Also you did sign your first name in my book, and I've decided that means we must be on a first named basis indefinitely.
I recently read Fangirl and really have no idea where to begin with a review, so I decided to write you a thank you letter instead.
Thank you for getting that new things are hard, and that college is confusing. Thank you for remembering that we're all little awkward, insecure and a mess on the inside. Thank you for understanding that we don't all go to college and automatically become drunk college girls. I certainly didn't, and I'm thankful that Cath didn't either. Thanks for your witty dialogue, which had me giggling frequently. I'm pretty sure you and Cath share that ability.
Thank you for sending Cath to college, but still making her family a big part of her life. For realizing that when we move out of the house, we don't stop loving our families, or feeling their influence on our lives. But neither do we all stay the same as we grow. Sometimes the hardest part of getting older is realizing that the people we love have the power to hurt us the most. Thank you for the times Cath held on no matter what, and the times she let go.
Thank you for getting what it means to love stories, and what it means to feel like we own a little piece of the worlds in the books we read. I don't write fanfiction. But as a reader and blogger, I could sympathize with Cath when she missed a day of it, and felt like she was out of rhythm. How hard it could be to balance the life going on around her with the stories in her head and her friends online. Thank you for Cath's realization that it was more important to have people in her life that understood and supported that part of her, than to find someone exactly like her in every way. For those of us who analyze characters, theorize story directions and frequently plan our lives around book release parties, I wanted to say thank you for writing Cath the way you did.
Thank you for him. You made me fall for him big time. I actually wasn't sure where this romance was going for a while. Then I was hopeful about the direction. Then I was angry. Then I was worried that it would all be fixed before I was ready, and before Cath should be ready. But I shouldn't have been worried, because everything worked out better than I could have guessed. Everything that happened with the romance, made the sweetness and swoon all the better. I don't know how you managed it, but wow.
Several characters do things in this book that really made me upset. I'm sure you know what those are. Whenever that happens, I'm always worried that everything will be glossed over later. That I need to prepare myself to get over my ranty feelings before I'm ready, and without all my questions being answered. But you never begrudged Cath the things she thought were big deals, and you allowed her to ask all the little questions that I wanted answered. You never just made something okay that clearly wasn't, just to make the story neater. Thank you for a book filled with humans who make real mistakes, and for showing us that often it's how they handle them in the after that is the truest test of character.
But most of all, thank you for not changing Cath. Although she grows a lot in this book and becomes a much stronger person in the process, what I love most is that at the end of this year of her life, she's still the same nerdy girl that she was at the beginning. She makes friends, finds love, and realizes some important things about he family, along with a lot of other painful, awkward and wonderful moments, but she's still Cath all the way through. She'd still rather read a book than go to a party, and I think that's pretty awesome.
I think what I meant to say is THANK YOU for writing Fangirl.
P.S. Yes - Fangirl was Adult enough for me. It was also YA enough. It's one of those books that's applicable to life and transcends whatever genre it's placed into. I see what you mean by that now.
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone