Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

    Title: Fangirl
    Classification: Young Adult
    Genre: Realistic Fiction/Contemporary
    Format: Hardcover; 448 pages
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (September 10, 2013)
    ISBN-10: 1250030951
    ISBN-13: 978-1250030955
    Author's Website:
    Notes: I got this one from the library

"There are too many people. And I don’t fit in. I don’t know how to be. Nothing that I’m good at is the sort of thing that matters there. Being smart doesn't matter—and being good with words."

Cather 'Cath' Avery is starting her freshman year of college. For the first time in her life, she and her identical twin sister, Wren, are about to be separated. Her sister is looking for independence while Cath is feeling like a fish out of water. Cath has always been the shyer of the two sisters and has depended on Wren to help her socialize. Now, her crutch gone, Cath has to learn to stand on her own and deal with what life has to offer.

While she no longer has her sister to hide behind, she still has her Simon Snow fanfiction to keep her company. Cath and most of the literate world have been avid fans of the series since the first book hit the shelves several years ago. Cath, however, has became more engrossed than others by creating her own fanfiction for the popular book series. Using the world and characters that author Gemma T. Leslie created, Cath's developed an alternate version of the beloved story and has amassed a large following in doing so. Her goal is to finish her version before the last book of the series hits the shelves in May. Writing fanfiction comes easy to Cath, but,“When I'm writing my own stuff, it's like swimming upstream. Or … falling down a cliff and grabbing at branches, trying to invent the branches as I fall.”

Will she be able to overcome her fears and find herself and her own voice? When it comes to college, there are only two options--You either sink or swim.


For Cath college is a rather terrifying experience. Not only is her parental security blanket gone, but so is the security she found with her twin. It's like she's lost half of herself and she has to find a way to survive without it, but her shyness is difficult to overcome. She spends the first weeks on campus hiding in her dorm room venturing out only to attend her classes until her roommate throws her a lifeline and makes her face her worst fear--socializing and getting out there.

What I felt was a brilliant move on the author's part was to use the Simon Snow books series (think Harry Potter) to symbolize Cath's childhood--all she loved and wants to hold onto. A safe place she knows and wishes to stay and can hide behind. She then uses Cath's writing to emphasize, accentuate, and parallel Cath's growth as an individual . She may wish to cling to her fanfiction (it's safe and what she knows and loves), but ultimately she, as does her writing, needs to grow and mature. Unlike Peter Pan, we all eventually have to grow up and leave Neverland because things can't stay the same. You let go of the past and meet our future head on and find our own way and, in Cath's case, voice.

I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed how Ms. Rowell captured the mood and a lot of the feelings that one experiences in college. I loved seeing someone who struggled so much overcome their fears and thrive. I liked that Cath got her revenge on an individual who had done her wrong without having to sink to their level. While we didn't see a whole lot of Wren, I loved that we could still see the contrast between the two sisters. Being a twin sounds like a lot of fun, but there is definitely a down side to it as well. A lot was packed into this story  

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