Saturday, June 6, 2015

Book review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Macmillan
Release date: Jan 2014
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Bought at Waterstones

Description: 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 any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there's romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. 
Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realising that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible. 

My thoughts: I love this book! I read it first a year ago and could have sworn I'd reviewed it then, but apparently not. Having just re-read it cover to cover I get the chance to talk about it now instead!

The book starts with shy nervous Cath moving in to her college dorm and resenting the fact that her sister is moving away from her, to a dorm across the campus with a girl she's already made friends with.  Meanwhile Cath has the grumpy Reagan, a girl a couple of years older than her as a roommate. The story follows Cath as she adjusts to university life. I really wish I had this book in my first year of university, because it would have helped me so much seeing a character experience the problems I was. Because my first year sucked - I massively struggled to make friends, and I stayed in my flat a lot of the time when I wasn't in classes or studying at the library. Gradually, Reagan drags Cath out of her shell a bit to face things like the dining hall.

There are a couple of other big things happening in this book for Cath. She's writing a long fanfiction, essentially her version of the last 'Simon Snow' novel (about a boy at a school for magicians) which is releasing at the end of the class year. Cath is determined to finish her version of it before the real one is published, and she has thousands of readers wanting to know what happens next in her story. She's taking a creative writing course and working on assignments with Nick, who loves to write as much as she does, and they are each helping each other to improve. But Nick never walks her home from the library at midnight. Levi, Reagan's (maybe) boyfriend comes to do that, or Cath runs back by herself. So she likes Nick, but....

Then her sister is getting drunk at parties, worrying Cath. And her Dad seems to be struggling having the house to himself without his daughters around. And their mum, who left when they were younger, wants to get back in touch with them. Why now, thinks Cath? But her twin wants to see their mum, and Cath just can't understand why.

All these threads are woven together really well. So although the story is following Cath through her year, it's never boring. The decline and then mending of her relationship with her sister was really well told. Her adjustments to life at university were something I could really relate to and it shows that even if you struggle at first, which lots of people do, you'll figure it out, you'll adjust, and then university really can be a great place. Cath changes over the book, in some ways quite a lot, but it is all believable change because you can see the various tipping points in the story that impact her. And if you needed any more reasons to love it, the end of each chapter has an 'excerpt' either from the 'real' Simon Snow stories, or from one of Cath's fanfics about the characters, which are all fun to read and give a snapshot into the world Cath loves so much.

 This is a wonderfully told story with characters who are all believable. If you've ever been a fanfiction writer, a fangirl or boy for a series, a struggling uni student, I highly recommend this book. And if you weren't any of those things, read it anyway, because it's great. There's a gradual romance, family drama, drama with Cath's classes... so many great things.

I really love this book, and I'm absolutely giving it 10/10.


Nicola Reads YA on June 7, 2015 at 12:55 PM said...

Great review!

I really love this book and wish I had it during my first year of university too as I can really relate with it. :)

Tiffany on June 7, 2015 at 2:08 PM said...

I like this book too! It's basically about us and I like how author potrayed us in this book.
Anyway, great review :)

Tiffany @ The Bookish Thought

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