Published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin
Goodreads Synopsis: A coming-of-age tale of fanfiction, 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, 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 fanfiction, 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 fanfiction 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?
My Review: It is going to be very hard for me to not to fangirl ;-) all through this review because I absolutely loved it. I have it on my Kindle but believe me, I will be buying a physical copy so I can re-read it in all its tactile glory.
Fangirl tells the story of Cath as she starts university and all the troubles that that entails for the incredibly shy introvert that Cath is. Making this big scary step even scarier is the fact that her twin sister Wren wants to go her own way in university – to not room with Cath and develop her own circle of friends separate from Cath. Cath’s only escape from the real world is her love of Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) and the fanfiction she writes about his world. On top of this, she has to deal with a gruff never there roommate and her always there boyfriend, a cute classmate who is only interested in her for one thing but it’s not what you think and a writing professor who wants her to expand her writing outside of fanfiction. Plus, a dad who is not coping so well now he’s on his own and absent mother who wants back in her life. Phew!
I loved Cath from the get-go, she is a girl after my own fangirl heart, we may obsess over different things – I don’t write or read fanfiction but I understand why people do – but both our obsessions make the real world a bit more bearable. She is so realistically drawn (as are all the characters) that as a fellow introvert, it is easy to connect with her. I adored Levi (the roommate’s always there boyfriend) and I want one for myself, he is just simply, well, adorable. It took a little while for me to warm up to Cath’s twin Wren and her roommate Reagan, but once I did, I loved them too.
I really liked how important relationships were in this book - parent/child, siblings, friends and lovers. Her relationship with her dad is so cute; I wish the relationship with my dad was like that. As much as Cath could happily shut herself off from the real world and only having contact with her dad and sister, she learns that she needs other people – real life people.
The character growth for Cath was realistic – she didn’t suddenly become an extrovert but she did slowly come out of her shell, although not all the way, which again is realistic. Speaking of slow developing, the romance was also on slow boil and was super sweet.
I also really liked that every chapter ended with either an excerpt from a Simon Snow novel or from Cath’s own fanfiction. It was like a story within a story, a story that I wish was real because I really like Baz – Simon Snow’s nemesis, roommate and maybe lover.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporaries, coming of age stories, romances and books with socially awkward characters. If you read and loved Eleanor and Park by Rowell, you will love this too.
Thank you Rainbow Rowell, for your wonderful books and your real and relatable characters.