Book Review: “Fangirl”

“Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Source: Bought

Summary from Goodeads:

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 anymore – 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 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.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s learning that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.


I wasn’t sure how I’d like this book but it ended up being pretty awesome.

Truthfully this is how New Adult books should be. This is closer to a real college experience than any of the other NA books out there that I’ve seen. College is full of uncomfortable experiences. You see people you care about making poor decisions and there’s very little you can do to get them off of that track. You’re forced to work with people who are only looking out for themselves. Despite all that you can sometimes meet people who are really good to you. Rowell was able to capture all of that.

I had mixed feelings about the fandom situation. On one hand, I can get how something becomes a big part of your life. The obsession with the fan fiction aspect was a bit too weird for me. I’ve never been a fan of fan fic. The pseudo Harry Potter story was weird. Especially be how close  to the HP books is was AND for the books to not even acknowledge HP (except a passing reference). It was just weird for me. I did appreciate getting to see snippets of Simon Snow and the fan fiction between chapters.

The bottom line? This is my ideal New Adult book.

17 thoughts on “Book Review: “Fangirl”

  1. I LOVED Fangirl. Eleanor & Park is still my favorite Rowell book (I’ve read all three of hers) but Fangirl was close behind. I identified with Cath so much, it was actually a little scary.

    I didn’t mind the fan fiction aspect that much. It certainly wasn’t my favorite part, and I would probably love the story just as much without the little blurbs from the Simon Snow stuff, but I didn’t mind it.

  2. I felt much the same way about this one. It felt like a real college experience, but the fan fiction was a little outside of my comfort zone. It worked for Cath’s character, but definitely wasn’t something that I was really interested in.

  3. I think the problem you had with Simon Snow’s similarity to Harry Potter is similar to the way I felt about the fictional world of Fillory in the Lev Grossman book The Magicians. It’s not that I minded that Fillory was clearly derived from Narnia, but I did mind that Narnia and Fillory were amazingly similar and yet apparently coexisted in this world. I don’t know. I get why you can’t use real Harry Potter as the basis for the fan writings, but inventing Simon Snow seems a little weird.

    • I can totally understand that. The Magicians didn’t bother me too much at the time because I had no experience with Narnia. Once you “get” the allusions they’re hinting at, it’s hard to ignore the fact that they supposedly exist together.

  4. I want more college books like THIS ONE!!! It explores so many real issues that real college-aged people face… not just “should I have sex with this tattooed bad boy who is in a band or not?” It was weird for me to read about the fanfic obsession too. It was a little too nerdy for me. I was a little wild in college, so it was hard to relate to Cath just wanting to stay in every night…. BUT I totally related to her feeling lonely and being scared to make friends. I definitely felt that way at times when I first started college.

  5. Totally understand what you mean about the Fan fic. I think it was so we could get a grasp of Cath’s obsession? Not sure. It didn’t click for me. I also thought the parts where Cath was reading her own fan fic to be extremely boring. Like, I just don’t care about Simon Snow, okay? I don’t need to read this.
    Sweet, quick review, Alison!

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