“I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”
― Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl
The first time I heard about Fangirl, I knew that I had to read it. Something about it seemed so hilariously relatable to me, whether it was the fact that the ‘Simon Snow’ franchise that is a huge part of the book, is so obviously inspired by J.K Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series, or whether the protagonist, Cath, is a world renowned writer… of online Simon Snow fan-fiction. Either way, the story begged to be read, and I have a lot to say about it. So for anyone on the fence deciding whether or not to read this book, here are my thoughts and opinions.
‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell is a YA realistic fiction novel that follows Cather Avery, better known as Cath, who is heading off to college. The thing is, even though she’s nearing her adult life, she can’t let go of her childhood. Her world revolves around Simon Snow, a series of childrens’ books that Cath and her twin sister Wren have adored for their whole lives. To bridge the gap between the seventh and eighth book, Cath and Wren started writing online fan-fiction about Simon Snow, which soon blew up and gained millions of fans and readers. Upon entering college, Wren stops participating in the writing process and goes off on her own to explore the new world of freedom. Cath finds herself in a position where she is stuck in a rut of avoiding making new friends, staying up writing her stories, and worrying about her father, who is prone to mental breakdowns and is now on his own. Cath has to choose between shutting herself away from the world, and branching out to help herself, her sister and her dad.
This book is great fun to read. Personally, I could really relate to Cath’s socially awkward behaviours and endeavours, which made it just that much more entertaining. Rainbow Rowell captures a bit of romance, comedy and suspense in her fresh, relevant plot. Of course, whether or not you’ll enjoy this book is also partially determined by your initial pop culture knowledge. It’s definitely for people of the current generation, as it essentially tells the tale of a late-night tumblr-fanfic writer. And if you didn’t understand that sentence, the subject matter of the book could confuse you, but hey! Don’t let that stop you!
You didn’t think that this would all be positive, did you? Yes, there were a few things that bothered me about the novel. First and foremost, the ending was very rushed in my opinion. A subplot or two went without resolutions in the process of the conclusion, and the main premise itself seemed to wrap up in a hurry. I’ll leave that to you to decide, though, it could just be that I’m a picky reader. Other than that, the book was not hard to begin, but once the initial intrigue wore off, the book slowed down for awhile and was hard to get back into. Hopefully I didn’t turn you off with these perspectives. In the grand scheme of the story, those points are not overwhelmingly negative.
To sum everything up, I do recommend this to anyone with substantial knowledge of the internet and popular culture who is looking for a light, fun read. Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Fangirl’ is bright and a change from typical YA. It’s not a novel that requires a lot of thinking, but it’s relatable and realistic, whether you’re a college student, an avid fan-fiction reader, or a workaholic. Happy reading!