Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Posted March 18, 2014 in Book Reviews / 8 Comments

Fangirl Cover

Novel Facts:




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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? —Source


Review of the Characters:

Cath— This character really spoke to me. I completely understood her introverted ways and anxious mind set. Much like Cath, I prefer the fictional world to reality and many a times life has slid right by while I sit in the comforts of my home safe in the norm. I can’t even describe the looks I get from friends who just don’t understand my desire to stay in and read or write when they want to go out. Poor Cath is forced out and cut off from her life source (her twin sister Wren) and forced to deal with life and she does it the only way she knows how: be living off energy bars and immerging herself in fan fiction.

“Her dad was wrong about worrying. Cath liked to worry. It made her feel proactive, even when she was totally helpless.” —Source

My sister suffers from anxiety and I’m not just talking about regular old anxiety like the times that you’re moving to a new house or worried about meeting your mother in law. I’m talking about the kind of anxiety where you’ve misplaced a paper and suddenly you can’t breathe, the kind of anxiety where there is a worn out path in your brain from worrying. It’s very real and watching my sister go through it, I know that it’s something you can’t just turn off. Watching Cath deal with her anxiety and learn to adjust to real life was inspiring, I felt like I was rooting for my sister the whole time.

Levi— Levi snuck up on me. He was introduced to us immediately and right away I said “no” but you just can’t resist Levi.  Levi took that stereotypical male love interest and smashed it too bits.

“You give away nice like it doesn’t cost you anything.” —Source

He was tall and lanky, not beautiful and so full of smiles they leaked out as he walked. He was refreshing and engaging. He was stupid at times just like any boy but you can’t resist his smiling ways and Starbucks connections. He’ll be on my mind for a long while yet.

Review of the Story:

This is what the new adult genre is suppose to be about, a person finding their way in the new stage of a adulthood. You prepare and prepare for life outside of school, but you’re never ready for that awkward inbetween stage of pulling a Bambi and wobbling on your new legs for the first time.

“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)” —Source

I think what I enjoyed most about this story was the pacing. There’s no rollercoater full of dips and turns, instead it was much like real life. We stumble and fall and sometimes we bounce back right away and other times we have to sit there for a while until the pain fades. Rowell did  an excellent job of conveying this concept throughout the story and namely through Cath. That ending was just right, it wasn’t a closed chapter or done deal. It was a curtain closed over a window, but you can still hear the sounds from outside, just like you can still see Cath and her companions as they trek on throughout life.

Review of the Writing

Rowell does a fantastic jog of immerging the reader into the story and holding them hostage. She also uses several pop culture references that might not have worked in other books but in this novel made things more vibrant and real.

“Reagan was sitting up at Cath’s desk when Cath woke up. 
“Are you awake?”
“Have you been watching me sleep?”
“Yes, Bella. Are you awake?”
“No.” —Source


“Reegan scowled at Cath. “Are you Zack, or are you Cody?”.”  —Source

Rowell possesses this unique skill of writing in a way that speaks directly to your soul. There is no farce or veil in between trying to be something it’s not. Her writing is intentional and clear but layed out in a whimsical way. It was lovely, pure and simple. Rowell also used pieces of Cath’s fan fiction before each chapter and while some may not enjoy this aspect I loved it. The stories were just as engaging as the main one and helped identify Cath’s character all the more better. While the individual stories may be skipped if you prefer they connect to the following chapter in subtle ties.


“I’d give you the moon right now,” she said.
Levi’s eyes flashed happily, and he hitched up an eyebrow. “Yeah, but would you slay it for me?” —Source

I had almost written off the entire New Adult genre due to pure speculation and expectations, but I can’t tell you how thankful I am that I picked up a copy of Fangirl on a whim. (Note to self: always act on a whim). If you’re hesitant to try a book in the New Adult genre I urge you to give this one a try as it encompasses so many more factors. If you want dimensional characters and whimsical words this is the novel for you. I plead you to read it and share your opinion!


Overall Rating:


P.S.– My next read is The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith



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8 responses to “Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  1. This is a really great review! I love how you broke it up into sections. “I had almost written off the entire New Adult genre due to pure speculation and expectations” 10000% YES. NA is such a repetitive, predictable genre so reading this book was like a breath of fresh air. That’s funny you didn’t like Levi at first because I didn’t either. But yeah, you fall in love with him pretty easily 🙂

    • Awww, thanks Alise, that means a lot coming from such a talented reviewer! 🙂 I seriously thought New Adult was just a marketing ploy to get us to buy books about sex but Fangirl meets every expectation of New Adult and goes beyond. I related so much to Cath and fell in love with Levi slowly but surely. Thanks so much for reading! 🙂

  2. Lisa

    I really liked this one, because it revolved around a girl, that I think all of us bloggers, can really relate to. Also she’s normal, and shy and quiet, and she stays that way throughout the entire book. She doesn’t go through some magical change where she’s now SUPER hot and she goes out to party. She remains herself and I liked that!


    • Exactly, she stayed true to who she was! She didn’t need to pull a Sandy from Grease and change everything she stood for for a guy. Thanks for reading, glad you liked it as much as I did.

  3. I’m glad you like this one!! It’s one of my favs for sure. I connected with Cath so hard. I could relate to that feeling of loneliness that she had, but also being scared to come out of her shell. I don’t have social anxiety like she does, but I could still relate to being in college and being scared. I was also really happy that there was finally a book about COLLEGE that didn’t make me want to throw the book across the room. I am so over the typical New Adult… I want books like THIS one!! Great Review 🙂

    • You put it exactly right, her feelings of loneliness and being unable to combat that loneliness was so easily relatable. She just felt so real and I loved that this novel didn’t showcase college as a place where you lose your virginity and fall in love. College is a place of transition, a place where we find our legs and our voice. Rowell demonstrated it beautifully with Fangirl. This was actually my first novel of Rowell’s, have you read the others? Thanks for stopping by! 🙂