Author: Rainbow Rowell
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. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate 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.
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?
Fangirl is an easy YA read which follows Cath, an aspiring writer and creator of fan fiction for hugely popular magical series Simon Snow. I listened to this novel on audiobook.
I enjoyed some parts of this novel, with Kath’s time at university and blossoming relationship with Levi quite interesting to read about. There were also some issues that were addressed in this novel, including anxiety and depression, and I think it’s great that Rainbow Rowell has included these and addressed them. However some parts of the novel felt too juvenile for me – and I know this is a YA novel, so perhaps that’s more the problem. Maybe I’m a bit too old for it, and to be honest I don’t read a lot of YA for this reason. But regardless, I feel I may have felt the same if I was reading this when I was younger.
Also, the Simon Snow extracts were dull. I love Harry Potter – the series that this is obviously based on – but the extracts of fan fiction were just so boring I found myself skipping forward past them. They didn’t seem to have any real effect or impact on the story. The characters were okay, though got a little irritating at times, so overall the novel felt pretty long at times, and I found myself skim reading some parts which I HATE doing.
Don’t get me wrong, I think this is an entertaining story at times which is quite sweet at times, and touches upon some important issues too. I think perhaps I’m just too old for YA on the whole (though I’m certainly not writing off an entire category of books – there are some YA novels which I’ve hugely enjoyed). You never know until you give it a go, I suppose, and it wouldn’t necessarily put me off reading some of Rowell’s other novels (this is the first I’ve read). It just wasn’t for me, unfortunately.
Yes it’s the only Rainbow Rowell novel I read and it wasn’t for me either. I didn’t really get the Simon Snow stuff very much and even the development of something between the two main characters isn’t a highlight in the novel.. I’m not sure this is the author for me..
Glad it’s not just me – everyone seems to love it! I wonder if perhaps she’s not the author for me either, but might give another one a go sometime and see… not sure!
Oh I’m sorry you didn’t like it much but I agree, Simon parts were boring, I tbh just skipped most of them.
HannahCassie @ http://www.psilovethatbook.com
Yeah, I’m deifnitely in the minority but just wasn’t for me. Just checked out your blog btw, looks great 🙂
My copy of Fangirl arrives tomorrow! I have similar feelings towards YA as you, where there is just so much YA I can read… let’s see, maybe I will read it after a 10-hour work when my brain can’t process a literary book with war and psychological drama anymore…
That’s true, for me it is a nice change from crime to be fair! Something different at least 🙂
Great review! It’s often difficult to review books that you aren’t completely sold on. I find the YA ones the hardest because of the age issue, just as you did. I liked the way you handled it here. Good job!
Judi at Blue Cat Review
Yeah exactly, hard when something’s generally aimed for a bit younger age! Thanks very much!
I have a hard time generally with YA but this one worked for me for some reason. You might try her novel Landline for adults – it was the first I read by her and I loved it. It felt very real to me (the parts about marriage and kids) even though there was a big fantastical element in the plot. FWIW, I also didn’t care for Eleanor and Park, which everyone loves. I think if I’d read it as a 15 year old I would have loved it, though.
Have vaguely heard about Landline and as it’s an adult novel it might be more up my street – thanks for the tip! ????x
Oh yeah. Having to skip totally sucks. I don’t think there’s a “too old for YA” because I know a lot of people who are even middle age but enjoy YA. But I know what you mean, because I’ve also felt “too old” a lot of times, and ultimately that’s the reason I read YA only very occasionally 🙂
Yeah you’re very right, it’s not about age and to be fair I’ve read many brilliant YA books I’ve hugely enjoyed. Think this one just wasn’t for me 🙁 will definitely try some of her other books though!
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