“I’m the kind of girl who fantasizes about being trapped in a library overnight.”
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press
I think I might have found my new favorite contemporary book! : )
From the very first few pages, I was automatically grasped by the story since it was so reminiscent of my early college days. The characters also made the story so enticing and I yearned to learn more about them as the novel progressed. I truly saw myself in Cath, our main character, because I too was highly introverted and I also had a fear of being placed into a social gathering since at that time in my life, I was going through some social anxiety due to my past experiences. But like Cath, when you do meet people who are willing to understand and respect your personality, that is when the walls that you built start crumbling down and you realize that the world may not be as scary as it seems.
Cath’s world practically revolves around Simon Snow and her endless pages of fan-fiction and when she was young, she was able to share this love with her twin sister, Wren. Now that the two girls are beginning a new life at college, Wren is ready to let go of the fandom while Cath cannot help but hold on to it. Despite being so close when they were young, Wren decides not to be roommates, leaving her sister all alone. Cath is now surrounded by a brash roommate and her charming boyfriend, a skeptical professor, and a classmate who also shares her love for writing. While being suddenly thrown into this new environment, Cath is forced to learn how to live her own life without having to rely on her sister. With the addition of complex relationships, class struggles and worrying for her Dad, the path towards succeeding in college and life may not seem as easy as it seems.
Cath – Fanfic writer; Social Anxiety; Cares for Dad/Sister – Cath was someone I could easily connect with since I pretty much shared her experiences when I was in college. The fact that she tends to avoid social situations leads to her snarky and sometimes sarcastic comments which had me amused at certain points. Despite that, she does have a soft side since she was very much attached to her father and would always check up on him since he would be home alone.
Levi – Very Sociable; Next Door Boy personality – Levi is male character who looks and feels so realistic to a normal person. I liked the fact that Rainbow Rowell did not have to make him be this typical YA bad boy who is oozing with sex appeal. He is pretty much the average, sweet guy who every girl would want to meet and have a relationship with. That is not to say he is completely perfect since he does have his own flaws. However, I admire the fact that he is willing to accept and take responsibility for any mistakes he has done.
Wren – Bold; Outgoing – Wren’s lifestyle is college was the complete opposite of Cath and through her we got to see a complete different side to the life on campus. Although she is not the main character, Rainbow Rowell did do a great job in developing her story arc to highlight some important issues we face in college.
Reagan – Blunt; Straightforward – The dynamic between Cath and Reagan was so much fun to read about. I loved the friendship that grows between them and how Reagan was able to bring Cath out of her shell and help her adjust to college life.
If you have been following my blog, it is no secret that I typically do not reach for contemporary books since I generally prefer sci-fi/fantasy novels since they are the ones which provide an escape for me. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading this novel since there were so many moments which I found to be truly relatable. Some examples, existed within the college lifestyle such as the initial fear of being in a new place, having to make new friends, living with a roommate, stressing about classes/exams, etc. I love the fact that Cath would hide a bunch of protein bars in her room to avoid going to the dining hall which is kind of what I did but the only difference was that I basically lived off of ramen 🙂
The only issue I had with this novel which prevented me from giving it a perfect 5/5 was that I felt the ending did not seem as complete or resolved as I would have liked it to be. This could be because there was not much of a direct goal which had to be accomplished by the end of the story or that Rainbow Rowell did not want to drag the book out to make it longer than it needs to be. I did appreciate that we saw some growth in Cath since she is able to speak up for herself and does not shut everyone out like she initially had done from the start of the novel. The romance was beautifully developed and both Cath and Levi just seemed right for each other.
Overall, if you are looking for a fun and light contemporary read, you should definitely pick up Fangirl! 🙂
Fun Fact: I was living on campus for my first year of college and during the final exams of my first semester, I actually overslept and woke about approximately 15 minutes before the start of the exam 😦 The main issue was the lecture hall where we the exam was scheduled was on a separate campus and I has to take the bus to get there. This was probably the day (and may be the only day) where I broke the record for the fastest time I have ever gotten out of bed and gotten ready to go out.
P.S – I surprisingly did make it there and managed to finish the exam on time hehe
Did any of you guys read Fangirl? What were your thoughts on it?