Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fangirl Review

I'm pleased to report that my second Rainbow Rowell went down nice and easy.  Last week was Eleanor & Park, this week it was Fangirl. Also, I took a trip to the library today and procured Rowell's other two books.  Attachments and Landline are waiting in the wings.  So, why have I decided to binge on one author's written works?  First of all, Rowell's prose is so very readable.  She has a talent for conjuring compelling scenes out of character-driven plots and fashioning dialogue so real that you can hear the conversations play out in your head.  I found this to be true in Eleanor & Park and the trend continued in Fangirl.  Second, it's fun, every now and then, to consume one author's works in their entirety.  You become so aware of an author's personal style and technique. There's also the added rush of achieving expert status on a certain writer.  Think about it.  For how many authors can you say that you've read everything they've written?  Including short stories? For me, not very many.  But anyways, onto the synopsis...

Fangirl follows freshman Cath Avery during her first year of college.  Unlike her twin sister, Wren, Cath is not excited to be entering the halls of higher education.  Cath is anxious and reclusive, a bit prickly, and prefers to spend her time engaged with her hobby — writing Simon Snow fanfiction. (Simon Snow is a stand-in for Harry Potter.) During the school year, Cath's established lifestyle is rocked by... 

  • Moving away from home, Omaha, Nebraska, to Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Leaving her bipolar father behind
  • Dealing with the growing distance between her sister and herself
  • Having a strong personality for a roommate
  • Having said roommate's boyfriend be around all the time
  • and Taking a fiction writing class with an esteemed professor who doesn't recognize fanfiction as a legitimate or acceptable form of fiction writing
Like I typically do with books when my ADD is bad, I started out Fangirl by listening to the audiobook, and switched over to page format once I got hooked on the storyline.  (Once I get hooked, there's no prying me away.)  This happened fairly soon with Fangirl; I'd say I was reading the e-book by chapter two.  

I can't say that Fangirl was a life-altering book, but it was solidly written, had a good flow, distinct characters, great dialogue, and a sweet romance.  I'd even say I enjoyed it slightly more than Eleanor & Park. In Fangirl, the characters are slightly older, which made them a bit more relatable to me.  However, for both books, I was completely sucked in, emotionally — both laughing and tearing up.   

What got to me especially in Fangirl was the character of Arthur, Cath's father.  He struggles with bipolar disorder and his storyline shot me right in the heart.  I think he may go down as one of my favorite fictional dads.

Other highlights: realistic portrayal of twins, fantastic interactions between Cath and her roommate, hilarious bits of dialogue, honest depiction of romance, and emotionally moving moments.

Lowlights: I sped-read through a lot of the fanfiction excerpts, although I realize that their presence was necessary.  The plot meanders, especially around the middle.

So, that's that.  I give Fangirl four north stars out of five.

Be sure to stay tuned for my next Rowell review, of Attachments. Thanks, always, for reading!


  1. This is my favourite Rainbow Rowell book! It was so relatable and so much fun to read :D So glad you liked it~

  2. I have fallen out of love with YA. I have a feeling reading this would pull me back in. Attachments was a so-so read for me, but I enjoyed Landline and E & P. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on those. Either way, happy bingeing!