review: ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell


4 stars

So many feeeellllssss.

It’s been a while since I managed to get through a whole book in less than 24 hours, but it flew by. I loved reading a fiction about fanfic. I loved the main character. Cath is exactly me if I was to go to university, but I can’t write like a demon. There wasn’t too much angst in this, just enough, and I loved that.

This was just a super sweet read.

If I were to compare it to Eleanor and Park, I’m not sure I enjoyed this quite as much. This was a lighter read though, and I’m definitely a fan of Rainbow Rowell now, it’s official. Gonna go read all the things.

First things first, a book about fanfiction? Hell yeah. I’m here for that. I initially got into fanfiction during my True Blood watching days, and I still read the odd Eric/Sookie fic even though I have long since given up on the show. The main character, Cath, really reminded me of myself, and had I gone to university I probably would have spent the first month not eating properly either if only to avoid the awkwardness of breaching the dining hall. On a more serious note, I thought it was really special that the main character was not just a ‘shy nerd girl’, but that she battled with pretty severe social anxiety, and I think this was approached and written about really well.

Not having a sister myself, I still liked that twin sisters were central to this novel. Cath and Wren were the best of friends up until the time they were preparing for uni, they shared everything – including a deep love for the Simon Snow universe. They spent many an evening writing fics together but as they’ve grown older, Wren has begun to grow out of this phase, but Cath’s love (bordering on an all consuming obsession) is as poignant as ever. Even though they are both going to the same university, Cath wants to roomshare and stick together, but Wren wants to branch out and make new friends, and essentially pull away from Cath a little. I really enjoyed reading about their rocky relationship, the differences between the two girls, and to see them gradually mending their slightly broken relationship throughout the course of the novel.

Writing fanfiction was Cath’s comfort blanket, and the novel was essentially about her growing into herself, and learning that change is ok, new things and people are ok, evolving is ok. Having to deal with her mother leaving her, her father’s sporadic episodes of breaks in his mental health, and her sister seemingly growing up without her, Cath had to endure a lot. All this combined with having to tackle a new life at university and I think Cath’s story is one many a young girl can relate to, and I think we would all be rooting for her to find happiness and her place in the world.

I loved the romance aspect of this novel. Cath’s love interest was not the obvious choice for me at first, and I liked that. In fact I think the early part of the novel was written in ways that purposefully lead you to thinking Cath would end up having feelings for one guy, when it fact it’s someone a little closer to home. I felt their relationship was so authentic, it evolved so naturally, that I actually believed in it, I believed in them as a couple. He was such a sweetheart, so well written and rounded as a character.

Wren was a very hard character to like at times. I understand she suffers many of the same trauma’s as Cath, and that everyone deals with obstacles differently, but sometimes I outright hated her for her attitude towards Cath and the responsibility she thrust upon her shoulders. Some of the things she said to Cath, the way she treated her, and just her overall attitude didn’t sit right with me. By the end of the novel I almost feel like Cath and Wren have switched places in some form, and in a way I am glad for it. Not because I want Wren to suffer, but because I think she gets to do the growing up she missed out on because she was running after the idea of it so fast. At the end of the novel, I turned over the last page feeling satisfied that Cath got her moment and everyone involved had bright futures ahead of them.

All in all, this was a great heartwarming novel with believable characters and authentic situations and relationships. I feel like there was a moral – That it’s ok to be whoever you are. There’s a place for everyone. Go at your own pace. Do you, and you’ll be fine.

Thanks for reading!

sign off heartJess


2 thoughts on “review: ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

    • It was a great read, I was close to giving it 5 stars. Personally, I felt for the characters in Eleanor & Park more, and was more invested in their story so had to rate that one higher. I believe her other two published works are adult fiction? I’m looking forward to giving them a go 🙂


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