Tuesday, September 3, 2013

YA Review: Fangirl

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?


Rowell, Rainbow. (2013). [Genre: Contemporary, Coming-of-age]

Goodreads|Book Depository  

Thank you to St Martin's Press for an advanced reader copy of this title. All opinions are my own

Firstly, can I just say how much I love YA covers that aren't racially ambiguous girls lying in leaves, or fawning over equally racially ambiguous boys. Yay for unique covers!! Yay for covers that portray what the characters actually look like!! I love Fangirl's cover, it's gorgeous and what first attracted me to the book.

There are lots of other things to love about Fangirl  too though. I love how real it is. Cath is just so. . .believable. Rainbow Rowell manages to roll traits together in a subtle, yet inviting way that builds such a vivid picture of her characters. The supporting cast is fun, funny and just as well treated as the Cath. Reagan, Cath's roommate in her first year of college, made me laugh a lot and I loved Levi, Reagan's maybe boyfriend and Cath's. . .something. Without bringing in spoilers, the character development was also great. Serious issues (mental illness, family break up) are covered in a way that doesn't take away from the overall 'lightness' of the story, but also doesn't trivialize the subjects at hand. I also really enjoyed the general storyline - there are multiple threads of Cath's life at play here as she moves through her first year at university and does a lot of growing in the process. None of the threads seem insignificant and all come together in a satisfying way. Rainbow Rowell really is a story-weaving talent.

And the fandom element? (Cath is a fan-fiction writer obsessed with the Harry Potter-esque 'Simon Snow' series) Brilliant. Why has no one written a YA novel about girl fan-fiction writers before????

There was one little thing about Fangirl that irked me. Just one tiny little thing, insignificant really, but it annoyed me enough that it took 5 stars down to a 4.5. The fictional 'Simon Snow' series that Cath is deeply involved with parallels Harry Potter in obvious ways (orphaned magical boy goes to magical school, long running series with accompanying movies, similar title set-up) and is set in the same time period. Because of this, it kind of feels like in the world of Fangirl Harry Potter shouldn't exist. So when it was referenced. . . something in my brain jarred. And didn't unjar. It was just. . .odd.

Don't let that stop you reading Fangirl though, because overall . . . . magic.

4.5 stars

Fangirl is released September 10th

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