Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (30th January 2014)
Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there’s romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.
Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .
A tale of fanfiction, family and first love.
Rating: *** (3 stars)
FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell tells the story of Cath a first year University student whose life has altered from how she thought it would be thanks to her identical twin sister Wren, who wants to break free and live her own life without Cath hanging around. Cath is also a BNF – big name fan – in the Simon Snow fanfiction world and she has to complete her latest fanfic before the release of the final book. Cath might be quite willing to bury herself in the fanfiction she writes but life isn’t quite that easy, sometimes for really good reasons.
There were several factors which lead to me picking up this book and giving it a try. The first was that Rainbow Rowell suddenly became a big thing in the book blogsphere, and almost everyone seemed to have read FANGIRL and absolutely adored it. The second, and perhaps the greater factor, was that I discovered that the main character of the book – Cath – was heavily into fanfiction. I have to admit I was intrigued. In a lot of ways, fanfiction is a dirty secret within the publishing world – everyone knows about it, but it’s not something that’s really looked on in a good way – so I was really interested to see that it could be a really important part of FANGIRL’s plot.
For me, FANGIRL is a strong three – almost four – star read. I really enjoyed reading it, and it was often fun to dive into Cath’s world and read the extracts from her fanfiction or the original novel her fanfic is based on. However, I did stall a bit towards the middle of the novel as I found some elements of plot to be a little clichéd. That being said, it was only a small section of the novel and once I passed it I ended up devouring the rest of the book. FANGIRL was everything I expected it to be, and an enjoyable read to boot.
Cath is a really interesting main character, and I found her quite relatable. Rowell did a brilliant job showing how difficult change can be – the move from home to university is quite a big one, and can be quite scary as you are one hundred percent responsible for everything for the first time. I also really loved the way that Rowell wrote and showed Cath’s love for Simon Snow and his world. I particularly liked the way that fanfiction was portrayed through the book as it seemed to be quite realistic.
If you are a member of a fandom or if you are moving off to University and you haven’t read this book then you should definitely give it a try. Whilst I don’t think it’s an accurate reflection of all University and fandom life, there should be elements which you can relate to. You should also give this novel a try if you are a fan of contemporary fiction. Although at this moment FANGIRL is a stand-alone-novel I hope that Rowell revisits this world, as I would certainly like to.