Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, everybody is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath it’s something more. Fandom is life. It’s what got her and her sister, Wren, through losing their mom. It’s what kept them close.
And now that she’s starting college, introverted Cath isn’t sure what’s supposed to get her through. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fanfiction 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.
For Cath, the question is: 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?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I’ve read all but one Rainbow Rowell book and I think she is quite excellent. I love her dialogue and the way she writes relationships. Her writing, or her characters, have literally actually made me swoon several times. As far as her books go though, it took me a couple of goes to fully appreciate this one.
Let’s start with the most obvious thing, I am a selfish being, so if I don’t find the main love interest swoon worthy and attractive (yes I find fictional characters swoon worthy and attractive) I find it very difficult to really be invested in the relationship. That was an issue I had with this book…OK yes. That’s my own issue and not really the fault of Rainbow Rowell. It was nice…but it didn’t really draw me in or make me hope and wish that they’d get together.
I found myself most drawn to the sections of ‘Fangirl’ that were excerpts from the fictional ‘Simon Snow’ series and Cath’s fan fiction…They definitely drew me in which is testament to Rowell’s excellent characters and dialogue. Baz and Simon! AAARGG!
I don’t want to take anything away from ‘Fangirl’ because it too is well written and tells an interesting story. It comments on what it means to read, and to be smart, and whether the two are mutually exclusive. What it means to have a twin. The relationship between Cath and her sister Ren is an interesting part of this story, why are they growing apart, and should they have to? Is a fascinating question for not just twins, but all siblings? The relationship between the girls and each of their parents is also well written and somewhat heart breaking. Cath’s fear that she share’s her father’s brand of crazy, and her fear and resentment towards her mother are palpable. They scream at you from the page.
The exploration of fandom and fan fiction and the role it can play for the individual and for larger fan communities is quite fascinating and worth thinking about. Rowell presents the argument for and against fan fiction from several angles. As a long time lover of Harry Potter, I used to be a crazy fanatic, but I’ve somewhat mellowed over the years, I found both Cath and Ren’s journey relatable and the parallels between Harry Potter and Simon Snow rather amusing.
I think if you are an unapologetic nerd you will especially enjoy this unapologetically nerdy book. It’s definitely worth a read. YAY for Rainbow Rowell!!
Stay tuned for my review of ‘Carry On’ next week. I’ve been slightly obsessed with it this week but I wanted to review ‘Fangirl’ first.
Where I bought it: iBooks