Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Purchased from Audible)
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Full book details here.
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?
Where have I been this book’s whole life? Seriously.
I’ve seen so much hype about this book and Eleanor & Park, yet it took me forever to pick up Eleanor & Park and even when I fell in love with that book, I still didn’t immediately read Fangirl as I should have. I’m kind of, maybe, a little bit mad at myself about it.
Because as much as I loved Eleanor & Park, I love Fangirl more.
I’ve been on such a reading roll lately. I’ve read so many great books in a row, I’m almost scared to start a new book for fear that it won’t live up to the greatness of all my previous reads lately!
Anyway, Fangirl. I’m not typically into books with a nerdy heroine. I have no idea why because I’m pretty nerdy myself (obv). However, I loved Cather and all of her anxieties and fangirling,
Rainbow’s characters are always so beautifully developed and multi-dimensional. There is so much truth to them and even when the characters kind of suck, you still understand why they are the way they are. This book was no different.
Cather’s twin sister, Wren, is such a believable character and, if done poorly, would’ve been incredibly annoying. But she wasn’t annoying. She was … human. And though I didn’t love her (like I loved Reagan, but more on that later), I understood her. I got why she was the way she was.
I loved how the twins’ relationship was portrayed. I’m super close to my sisters and I totally related to this on so many levels. My one sister and I are absolute opposites, like Cather and Wren, and I’ve felt disconnected from her at certain points in my life because of this, despite how close we’ve always been, and it hurt so much that when I read about Cather’s pain as she was dealing with the same thing, I could completely empathize. It hurt so good.
Side note: the names of these twin sisters, Cather and Wren, would’ve been super cheesy if this book wasn’t written by Rainbow.
So, about Reagan. Oh, Reagan. If you’ve been following my Goodreads updates as I read this book, you’re very familiar with my love affair with Reagan.
Reagan, Cather’s new roommate, is brash and loud and unapologetic about being such a force in this book. She is probably one of my all-time favorite supporting characters ever written. She’s absolutely hilarious. I loved how she could be completely mean to Cather, but somehow still manage to be completely on her side.
Every introvert should have a “handler” like Reagan.
I have a soft spot for Cather and Wren’s father as well. I love how his mental illness was shown in this novel and how, despite it, he was still a really great father when he was lucid. (Single dad <3)
— Spoilery thing to follow–
Then there was Nick. Oh, Nick. I wanted him to be The One only because there was something so romantic about co-writing a story… until he turned into Mega Douche.
— Spoilery thing ended —
And, now, Levi. S.w.o.o.n. I loved him from the very beginning, even when I was angrily yelling at the book, screaming at Cather not to eff around with her roommate’s boyfriend. I didn’t want to hate Cather, but more than that, I didn’t want Reagan to hate Cather. I didn’t want any bad blood between them because I loved them as a duo way too much. I loved Reagan and Cather more than any other couple in the book.
Rainbow did such a great job with showing how magnetic Levi was as opposed to telling us about it. He didn’t have to be stereo-typical book boyfriend mega hot – his personality did all the attracting. He could’ve looked like a troll, but some of the things he said and did would’ve had me in love with him anyway.
SEE? I’M NOT SHALLOW! Not all my book boyfriends have to have rippling abs and perfect hair. Just, you know, some (most) of them.
Aside from the characters, the story was fantastic as well. I was left with some questions, though. Like, did I miss it? Did Cather finish writing Carry On in time? Did she kill off Bas? HELP ME!
Side note: Levi wearing Cather’s Carry On Shirt at the book release party is so effing adorbs.
And then the ending. Nobody knows how to end a book quite like Rainbow Rowell. Rainbow’s books end abruptly and perfectly and I always want more, but know that if I had more, it wouldn’t be quite as brilliant. I always find myself saying, “FML, but that was good.”
Audiobook Performance: 5 Stars
Rebecca Lowman narrated Eleanor & Park as well as Fangirl and she did a fantastic job with both. She’s definitely one of my favorite narrators, now. This book also had snippets from Simon Snow stories that were narrated by Maxwell Caulfield, who has a delightful British accent. I always appreciate multiple narrators.
Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars
I was not expecting to get so many butterflies from this book! After having read a few books that were a little light on the stomach-clenchy goodness, it was nice to have one that provided very active butterflies — especially toward the end of the book!
Re-read Worthiness: 5 Stars
There is a very good chance that I will reach for this again, likely a print version so that I can underline and tag my favorite lines — there were so many beautifully written pieces in this book, I need to revisit them in print!
Bookshelf placement: Absolutely
I NEED this displayed on my bookshelf. It will likely even be displayed in the coveted top shelf display area in my library.
New Top Book Boyfriend: YES!
Just like the butterflies, it has been awhile since I had a new book boyfriend and I’m so excited to add Levi to my list of wonderful book boyfriends. His electric, outgoing, and incredibly sweet personality is everything I love.