book review, young adult

Review: Fangirl

To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

fangirl_coverdec2012

I have checked off one book from my insanely long TBR list! 126 more to go…

AUTHOR: Rainbow Rowell

GENRE: Young Adult Fiction

WHERE DID I GET THIS BOOK / WHAT FORMAT: local library / ebook

RATING: 3.5/5 stars

SUMMARY: Cath is one of the biggest Simon Snow fans in the world, and a popular fanfiction writer in that fandom. She is about to start her freshman year of college with her twin sister and best friend Wren, but things go amiss when Wren declares she’d rather not room with Cath. Cath, who deals with crippling social anxiety, struggles to thrive in the social atmosphere of college without her socialite sister to guide her, and also struggles to reconcile the real world that she lives in and the fictional world that she would rather inhabit.

THOUGHTS: Okay so the worst thing about being a book blogger/reviewer is that as you read a book, you start to determine what its rating will be from the very outset. I began hating this book and evolved to like it. I enjoyed Fangirl, although I probably liked it a lot less than those who read Young Adult exclusively. A lot of YA reviewers gave it a 5/5 but honestly I didn’t love the book like that, nor did I not like it.

I found Cath to be kind of immature, even though I know this is an aspect of Young Adult fiction, it sometimes got on my nerves. Cath isn’t that young- she is a freshman in university. I am going into my second year of university, so Cath isn’t that much younger than me, and there are a lot of aspects about Cath that I could appreciate and relate to: her preference for books over parties, her reluctance to partake in overwhelming social activities, and her love for fictional worlds and characters. However, the way that Cath just shrugged off some of her school work or even her important relationships in order to tend to her literary commitments seemed ridiculous and acts that belonged to an angsty sixteen-year-old rather than an eighteen-year-old. Other characters comment on Cath’s pettiness and immaturity throughout the book, so Rainbow Rowell had made a deliberate choice there, but honestly? I wasn’t the girl’s biggest fan (see what I did there?)

Other than that, the rest of the book was enjoyable for me. I liked the family drama it encompassed, Cath’s journey to breaking a little more out of her shell, and her experiences with the harsh realties of real life breaking her out of her fantasy-induced stupor. All in all, the characterization was done quite well- none of the characters were too tropey, not even the introverted, fangirling nerd that was Cath. The relationships between characters, and how they broke, mended, and strengthened is what really gave this novel its life.

Also, I was LIVING for the frank portrayal of mental illnesses, self-medication, and family drama. This could have easily been a super fluffy, cute book, but instead, it also incorporates some serious subjects that fiction exists to take us away from sometimes. If anything, this book speaks to the self-medicating powers that fiction writing and fiction reading can have- for a few short moments, it can give us a place to hide from ourselves and our own issues.

If you like YA in general, I’d recommend this to you.

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16 thoughts on “Review: Fangirl

  1. Pingback: TBR jar / TBR masterpost | It's Novel to Me

    • She turned in a fan fiction for an assignment for her Creative Writing class and didn’t understand when the professor told her that was unacceptable. I mean…really?

      Like

  2. I’m not in the right age group for YA books, but there is something about them that is appealing. Normally the pace is a lot faster than adult novels. I’ve not read this one, but I understand perfectly about how as the book evolves you start to feel differently about it.

    Like

  3. terriluvsbooks says:

    I go back and forth on how I feel about YA books. I’m starting to like them less and less especially as my own children are getting to the age of YA.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. gemmasbooknook says:

    I read a lot of YA but not contemporary YA. This is one though that has interested me for a while. I might see if I can get it from the library. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have heard and seen this book around a lot and that makes me not want to read it. I have this bad habit, if I see a book around a lot before I read it I am less likely to pick it up. Based on your review, I made a good call. I am not a fan of characters behaving more juvenile than their age suggests.

    Liked by 1 person

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