5+++++++++REVIEW: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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~ Synopsis ~

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age take 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. Reading. 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 leg 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?

***

REVIEW

“Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I’m a complete disaster.” Cath –

I’ve been in the thick of this story for over a week now – and I finished it nearly 10 days ago. I just can’t escape it. The sweetness of it – the beautifully awkwardness of everything Cather is. Maybe because there are certain, very real aspects of her that reminds me of ….. well, myself.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to pick up this book – I ADORED Eleanor & Park, devouring it on one sitting – but while I was on vacation in Wales this summer, I found this book in a thrift store. Why ANYONE would donate a Rainbow Rowell book is beyond me! Those strange Brits. I’ve been carrying it around in my purse for weeks, waiting for the right time to crack it open …. And it did not disappoint.

Cather is a twin, she and her sister Wren are off to college – but what was supposed to be a natural transition, the two of them rooming together, Cather hoping college will be a little less scarier with her sister by her side, all crumbles when Wren tells her she’s decided to room with someone else…. Not to mention she’s cut off all her long brown hair, trying to distance herself as much as possible from Cather. Wren is desperate for some independence. Even though you can understand it – it doesn’t make the transition any easier on Cather. Not to mention she’s worried about leaving her father, all on his own. Cather & Wren are all he’s had since their mom left all three of them when they were in the 3rd grade.

“There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.”

Cather is…. Well….. socially awkward doesn’t even cut it. She’d much rather spend her days on the computer, writing fan fiction about Simon & Baz – characters from a fantasy story much like Harry Potter with a little bit of Twilight mixed in. But when Cather starts school – meets her new roommate, and her roommates BFF Levi things start to change for her…. Slowly but surely Reagan is going to draaaag Cath out of her shell, even if it kills her.

“As far as Reagan was concerned, Cath was already problematically weird. “It’s bad enough that you have homemade Simon Snow posters,” Reagan had said last night while she was getting ready for bed. “Do you have to have gay homemade Simon Snow posters?”
Cath had looked up at the drawing over her desk of Simon and Baz holding hands. “Leave them alone,” she said. “They’re in love.”

Cather, a writer by nature – when she isn’t submerged in her famous fan fiction series, Carry on Simon is working with her writing partner Nick, on a story that they’re assigned in Fiction Writing. Cather is breaking out of her shell – to a point. Allowing herself to crush a little on Nick, after her high school boyfriend Abel dumps her over the phone. Cather starts to notice…. well, boys. Boys EVERYWHERE around her – Nick, and Levi with his mega-watt smile. Even though Cather is pretty sure he’s dating her roommate, she can’t help but crave that smile….

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Levi is utterly adorable – funny – snarky – and though we can tell he’s TOTALLY flirting with Cather, she’s a little slow in the uptake. But when these two end up studying all night – reading The Outsiders together, one of the most innocent and beautifully intimate scene I have ever read happens – these two…. Good lord, if you looked up the word Swoon in the dictionary? It should have a picture of these two. You know that moment when you’re reading a book – and the goosebumps start, and you close your eyes after you’ve read the most amazing line and savor it; like it was the most delicious thing you’ve ever read before. This scene was it for me. This scene was double chocolate cake or Crab Legs dipped in melted butter good. Who knew – just two people sitting on a bed, reading a book together, arms entangled for the first time….. could make me feel so many things.

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I fell back into my old English Major habits – I’d say about ¾ of this book is highlighted – dog ear’d and very, very well read. Rainbow Rowell is gifted – HIGHLY gifted in the art of dialog. Because she writes like she’s having a conversation. Sure, her characters talk…. a lot. But that’s what I love about her books – her characters seem so real. They have real issues – relate-able issues.

Cather and Levi….. just wow. They may be my new favorite book couple. The innocent, first time feelings of a girl at that age – the boy who shows her she really isn’t all that different – that she’s beautiful, smart and whatever insecurity she has over Wren ….. well, it just isn’t a comparison for him.

“That’s your twin sister?”
Cath nodded and sat down at her desk. “Wow.” Levi scooted down the ved so he was sitting across from her. “I’m not sure what you’re getting at,” Cath said, “but I think it’s offensive.”
“How can the fact that your identical twin sister is super-hot be offensive to you?”
“Because,” Cath said, still too encouraged by Wren and, weirdly, by Abel, and maybe even by Nick to let this get to her right now. “It makes me feel like the Ugly One.”
“You’re not the ugly one.” Levi grinned. “You’re just the Clark Kent.” Cath started checking her email.
“Hey, Cath,” Levi said, kicking her chair. She could hear the teasing in his voice. “Will you warn me when you take off your glasses?”

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Gawd! There is so much ridiculous perfection in that conversation – I will carry that around with me forever. And there are many, very many conversations like this between Cather & Levi that give me chills – make me laugh, and even made me cry. The perfection of this first time love for Cather was so endearing and lovely that I gobbled it all up. Do yourself a favor and check this amazing book out – Rainbow Rowell will not disappoint. Cather, Wren, Reagen & Levi will make you miss those awkward teenage angst, and your first time away at college – and the hell and amazingness of it all.

***

Rainbow Rowell

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Tumblr

Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS & LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Her newest book – Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl is out October 6th 2015! (via the author’s website)

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