Review of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Published: 30th January 2014
Publisher: Macmillan Children
Pages: 480


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’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren, Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

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…


I’m fangirling over Fangirl.

Simple as.

In America, Cath and Wren have moved away to be at University. From the very beginning, it’s everything I hoped the book would be and so much more. Cath is in her own little world. All she wants to do is write. There’s nothing wrong with that. Writing got a lot of people very far in the world. But she’s not much of a social butterfly either. That’s where I found a link with Cath. Neither of us like going out of our way to join in. We’re used to our surroundings and when new ones are around us, we become nervous.

If you’ve got a copy of Fangirl, you’ll know about the drawings on the inside of the front cover. I heard about this a few weeks before I started reading and my first thought was, “oh, that’s rather clever.” But now that I’ve read and fallen in love with the book, I’m not so sure anymore. Upon several chapters, especially the beginning ones, I found myself flicking back to the front cover and looking at the drawings of the characters. I felt that if I wasn’t imagining them in the correct way, I wasn’t going to get the full effect of the book. It didn’t necessarily put me off, it’s just not something which really added to the plot for me.

The little snippets of the Simon Snow books were brilliant and a lot like Harry Potter (no complaints from me!). I loved how we got a sense of what genre Cath loves and while she reminded us of her favourite scenes, we also fell in love with the story. But more importantly, we fell in love with her story of Simon. Reading Rainbow writing about Cath writing about Simon was genius. It added a lot of depth and power to the plot,.

What I enjoyed the most was that through the use of great literature and writing, Cath grew closer to people and she slowly came out of her little bubble. It was an absolute delight to watch in front of my eyes and I loved how she matured over the first year at University. As well as being at school, Cath dealt with other issues; her twin sister, her Dad and her Mum. I couldn’t relate to the drama she had with her Mum but it was emotional to read about.

When Rainbow writes about Cath and Levi in the later chapters, it’s as if nobody else is around. I didn’t care for any other characters or whether my cup of tea was still hot or not, I just wanted to be in the moment with them. Readers aren’t made to feel like a third wheel, they’re made to feel as if they’re part of Cath and they’re falling madly in love with Levi. He’s hot. He really is.

Rainbow’s writing style is comfortable. I don’t mean that in a boring way! I felt at home with her writing and this is the first book of hers which I’ve read. With the use of adjectives, vivid descriptions and incredible dialogue, Rainbow proves that by being yourself, true love will come and knock on your door, or sit out in the hallway..

I have to mention the ending and don’t worry, no spoilers! For me, it was short and it was the only issue I had. It didn’t really tie up any loose ends. I closed the book and said “is that it?” I just hope and pray that Rainbow has secretly been writing a second book for the second year of University so we can know what happens.

Other than that, I loved it and I can’t wait to meet Rainbow when she visits the UK in July.

Twitter: @rainbowrowell


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