Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult

The Plot

Fangirl is about a girl called Cather moving away to college, dealing with new people, new experiences, living alone and being without her twin Wren for the majority of the time, who is off partying and ‘living the college experience’.

Cather is a quiet, shy individual, who is awkward and geeky and still stuck in her world of Simon and Baz, characters from her favourite book series, who she writes tonnes of fanfiction about.

Fangirl also happens to be about growing up, learning to communicate with people, relationships and family. It has a lot of dynamics that make it about more than being just a ‘fangirl’.

The Review

Fangirl has to be one of my favourite contemporary reads, it also happens to be my first Rainbow Rowell book and I just could not tear myself away from the book. It definitely left a little bit of itself with me when I read it, especially when moving away to University around the same time as I was reading it, I could definitely understand and empathise with some of the situations Cather was in. Personally, I think this book will depend on the type of person you are, to how much you like it, in terms of whether you fall absolutely in love, or just like it.

Cather for me is an adorable heroine. She’s awkward, geeky, frustrating and always seemingly out of her depth, but she shows real growth throughout the novel and she is a likeable character. Her obsession with Simon and Baz, fictional characters, is kind of one I wanted her to lose throughout the novel, but she never did and whilst that annoyed me a little bit, I think it demonstrated that no matter how old you are, you can still enjoy getting lost in fiction, and manage to mature at the same time. Cather went through quite a few difficult moments in terms of family when dealing with her dad and his mental health issues, becoming estranged from her twin and meeting her mother who abandoned her when she was younger. It definitely shows Rowell was not afraid to tackle more serious issues with this novel, but then I liked how she still managed to interweave romance despite Cather’s blissful ignorance.

Levi is one of my all time favourite love interests, he is charming, cute and he cares about Cather. Despite the fact she is not aware that he flirts with her and goes out of his way to help in an attempt to get her to notice that he likes her, he does not give up. He is definitely a good guy, and the type of love interest contemporary romances should be projecting because whilst the ‘bad boy’ might hold appeal, he is not always the perfect guy for every girl or always a good role model. 

Finally, the bunch of secondary characters beyond this which were Wren, Reagan and the twin’s father happen to be fairly well developed in terms of their personalities, style and story. I wish in some ways we had gotten to know a little bit more about Reagan who is Cather’s room mate, but despite her surly exterior, I loved the way she took Cather under her wing and looked out for her as a friend despite saying she wasn’t that type of person. In addition to this, the twin aspect of the story was one I really enjoyed, and whilst for the first half of the novel I did not particularly like Wren, I understood her behaviour and style. I was pleased largely by the resolution of the plot line between the siblings and I definitely think the family aspect of the novel was important.

One of the reasons I loved Fangirl was because it became so much more than a contemporary romance, it definitely looked at growing up, discovering yourself and facing challenges with family and studying as you are away from home. There were a couple of aspects such as the lack of real resolution between Cather and her mum and the lack of knowledge about how Cather ended her Simon and Baz story that I would have liked to have seen more fully developed. Nevertheless, Fangirl for me had a lot of potential that it fully lived up to and I’ll be putting it on my shelf for a rainy day re-read when I need a book that is bound to tick all the boxes.

Favourite Quotes

“I know.” Reagan shook her head. “But you’re so helpless sometimes. It’s like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box.”

“You’re not the ugly one.” Levi grinned. “You’re just the Clark Kent.”

Cath started checking her e-mail.

“Hey, Cath,” Levi said, kicking her chair. She could hear the teasing in his voice. “Will you warn me when you take off your glasses?”

“How do you feel when I smile at you?” he asked—and then he did smile at her, just a little. Not like myself, Cath thought. She gripped his hands tightly, for balance, then stood on tiptoe, leaning her chin over his shoulder and brushing her head gently against his cheek. It was smooth, and Levi smelled heavy there, like perfume and mint. “Like an idiot,” she said softly. “And like I never want it to stop.”

The Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Goodreads ~ Amazon UK / US ~ Author’s Website


Filed under 2013 Publication, 4.5 Books, Contemporary, E-book, Rainbow Rowell, Romance, St. Martin's Press, Young Adult

17 responses to “Fangirl

  1. I totally agree! I just absolutely loved this book and could entirely relate to Cath.I have the same fangirly tendencies!

  2. I like the themes that seem to be included in this book. Discovering yourself is a very good one. Also, those characters she’s fangirling about are a gay couple right? HA, I’m crazy about Malec so will probably feel a connection to her. =D Sweet review!

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      I believe she makes them into a gay couple, but they are enemies in the official series that she writes fanfiction about. Thanks! 🙂

  3. Cait

    I definitely loved this book a lot! I was a bit…well, meh about Eleanor and Park. I mean. It was GOOD but not brilliant, like I expected. But this?!! Omg, this hit all the right chords for me, because I’m seriously introverted and I just related to Cath so so much. Levi was adorable. And Nick…urgh *shakes fist* I’m happy how it ended, but I’m still a bit disappointed at Wren. She should’ve been there for Cath the WHOLE time. Anyway! It’s been one of my favourites of the year for sure. XD
    Thanks for stopping by @ Notebook Sisters!

  4. Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms

    I really enjoyed this book, however I didn’t LOOOVE it. I was bored with all the Simon Snow parts :S I do agree that Cath was fun and adorable and Wren was amazing as a love interest. Great review!!

  5. I can’t believe I’ve yet to read this one. I think all the insanely good reviews have actually deterred me because I’m afraid I’ll be the ONE person that doesn’t like it! You make a really strong case for it though 🙂 lovely review!

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      Hmm, well I hope that you won’t be that one person who does not like it and you find that it is one you love! Thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  6. Those are great quotes! I’m a fangirl for this book as well, and am glad your first Rainbow Rowell experience was a good one!

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      Thank you, there are so many great quotes really to pick from this book, I am glad you enjoyed it just as much!

  7. Yes, agreed!! I gained so much from this book as well, it wasn’t just your typical contemporary romance. And I loved Cath, as well 🙂 I could definitely relate with her – actually, I used to be really into Harry/Draco slash fanfiction back in the day! O.O So her obsession with Simon and Baz is pretty spot on!

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      I definitely saw parallels in my head between Simon and Baz and Harry Potter for myself. I am glad you enjoyed this one just as much as me!

  8. Ah, this is my favorite of Rainbow Rowell’s books. The characters were so good! And I agree, it’s nice to see a book that’s more than a contemporary romance. I had mixed feelings about the end (I always seem to want more from RR’s endings), but overall I quite enjoyed this, too. Hope you enjoy your next Rowell book, too!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    • Livvy @The Absent Historian

      Thank you, Wendy. I have high hopes for my next Rowell book so hopefully I will. Only having read one, I definitely have a feel that I wanted a bit more from this one, but I shall see what I think with the rest.

  9. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)

    Ooh yes I completely agree with what you just said! I loved Cather and how unique she was and this book also goes down as one of my favourite contemps 😀

    Brilliant review! <33

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