Book #44: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park. A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

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?

I originally heard of this author through a list of books that were originally NaNoWriMo books. I’m not sure if this was on that list or not, but Rainbow Rowell was. I was intrigued to see what she had written and a book about a geek writer resonated with me. I got the audio book and about a year later, I finally listened to it.

The book’s beginning did throw me off for a second. It starts off with a webpage article about a children’s book series very similar to Harry Potter. It then goes straight to Cath’s perspective. It took a few chapters to understand the flow of the book and it was an interesting way to weave literature with the life of the characters.

Every part in the literature quotes is fictional. There is no Simon Snow book series (though I like that) and there are no Simon Snow fanfics (again, I’d read that). But what is used in the “quotes” relate to Cath’s life in some way. It shows the importance of books and how stories help or can help with life’s problems.

Who is Simon Snow? Think Harry Potter. He’s basically this world’s Harry Potter. Harry is mentioned, but I’m not sure if he is as popular as Simon Snow is in this fictional world. That said, he is also an obsession of Cath’s with her slash fanfiction.

I loved the fanfic element to the book. I’m not big on fanfics myself, but I know people who read some. I found having this element to a character helped me have a better understanding of my friends in that department. As a writer, I completely get Cath and her way of doing things.

I was honestly surprised at how much I liked the characters and the book. I am finding myself wanting more of Cath or her writing. I did have an audiobook hangover and am now waiting for that next great listen. Or at the least, allowing myself time before opening a new audiobook.

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