Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell!

Ironically (I know now, anyway) I first brought this book a whole year ago, almost to the day, in my first week of university. I was confining myself to my room, only leaving to eat and go to class. Unfortunately I didn’t ever get further then 9 pages in because, even more ironically, I joined the Harry Potter society and met more fangirls who don’t like to leave their rooms so we could not leave our rooms together. It was unfortunate that I didn’t read this book back then because then Cath have been overwhelmingly like me.

Cath is a fanfiction writer for the popular children’s series Simon Snow, which is heavily based on Harry Potter among other things. She writes fanfiction that pairs the non-canon couple Simon and Baz (let’s not beat around the bush, these two are the Harry and Draco of Cath’s world) and she has a major following online. Despite being so popular on the interweb Cath is easily daunted by actual human interaction, unlike her outgoing twin Ren. Both Ren and Cath move to university together, where Cath slowly learns to come out of her shell by writing more original fiction and also by ( albeit begrudgingly to start) talking to Levi (a guy who practically lives in the hallway outside Cath’s dorm room, it would seem).

The story of Fangirl is so much more then a romance, it’s a story about a girl growing up and into herself at university, and importantly ‘growing up’ in this novel doesn’t entail leaving ‘childish’ interests (like Cath’s love of a children’s book) behind, but instead adapting her life around those interests, making friends and using her hobbies to make herself a more interesting person.

This book could have easily been called Love in the time of Fanfiction because that’s what it is, an ode to the every girl who spent her teenage years online reading hour on hour of fan-written stories, which I felt was really important. Fanfiction has been an almost dirty word for so long in the ‘real world’, I hardly ever admit to people I read it, and I do- A LOT. Fanfiction is written by some amazingly talented writers, and should never be discredited and I hope more people, like me, feel better about their reading addictions after reading Fangirl.

The writing in this book is really beautiful, just the prose and the rhythm was really amazing, and I really enjoyed the dialogue, which was really funny and witty at times. All the characters had their own unique style of speech and presence in the book, which I really liked.

Overall I can see why the hype that surround this book exists- and I am now a member of the fangirl fan club. I have never felt so comforted by a book I’ve never read before, maybe because so much of it is me- is us, a generation growing up with Harry Potter, reading waaaaay into the night and not telling anyone that you do. I almost feel better about myself after reading Fangirl, more legitimate, and any book that can do that is a good book to me.

I’m giving this book 4.5 ice creams, it didn’t quite reach 5, I felt it was a little too long and contemporary is always a bit of an uphill struggle for me. Either way I recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

2016 UPDATE:

Fangirl has surpassed any other contemporary book I’ve ever read, and has made it into my all time favourites list. I still think about this book all the time, and even though I had been reading quite a lot a year ago when I first read Fangirl it wasn’t until after reading it I started to want to read contemporary books, which I had never really done before. Fangirl is one of those books that I’ll look back at as a milestone in my ‘reading career’ if not my life and remember how insanely happy it made me, and has made me since.

This book deserves a million stars.


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