Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Buy This Book: Book Depository / Amazon
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's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate 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. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ... (Goodreads summary)
WARNING: This review will be ridiculously long. I feel I need to fully explain every problem I had with Fangirl... And when words fail me, gifs will have to do!
Okay, it's time for me to be honest with the blogosphere: I didn't love Fangirl. For the first 300 pages or so I was really struggling with it and I was pretty mad about that. I kind of felt like the internet lied to me, Goodreads lied to me, the blogosphere lied to me and every single person who recommended this to me lied to me! I went in with my expectations ridiculously high because I had seen nothing but ridiculously high praise for it. And then I was just left feeling let down and disappointed. So please bear with me because this might be a lengthy one but I want to totally explain why I didn't get it.
I went into Fangirl not knowing an amazingly large amount about it because I didn't want to ruin anything for myself. I did know that Cath is a total fangirl who writes her own fanfiction and I loved the sound of that. I mean, if you're a lover of books then you have probably had at least one book that has made you totally fangirl. My worst one would of course be Harry Potter and I will fangirl till the day I die over those beauties. But I have to confess that I didn't realise how much of a big role that fanfiction would play in this novel.
I first must comment on Cath's name, which is actually Cather. Now it has a back story which does make total sense but the name itself is still hideous. I don't get why a person would actually name their child that... unless of course they hated their child. And seeing as Cath's mum ran off and left her, she probably did. Cather, I can't even figure out how you pronounce it. If it is how you start Catherine then it really is horrible and sounds far too much like a racial slur that's used over in South Africa.
|When they dared to mentioned Harry Potter.|
|I'm with Harry on this one.|
In regards to the rest of the story, I kind of feel like saying what story because to me there wasn't much of one. This book was 459 pages long and yet barely anything really happens. This book could have done with, and probably really needed to be about 100-150 pages shorter. For quite a while it just involved Cath sitting in her room, writing fanfiction, avoiding people and not wanting to socialise with anyone. I think Cath had the potential to be one of those characters that I can totally identify with. This quote in particular is spot on:
'I'm scared of everything. And I'm crazy. Like maybe you think I'm a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I'm a complete disaster.'
But I just couldn't get behind Cath because of how impossible she was at times. I didn't like the fact that she wouldn't let Levi into the room if Reagan wasn't there. Who makes their roommate's friend sit outside on the floor just because they don't want to make friends? She actively tries to not make friends and that infuriated me. I actually understood her twin sister Wren a whole lot more than I did Cath, and I am way more like Cath than Wren. But I got why Wren wanted to get away from Cath, to go out and make friends and actually live a little. I couldn't understand why Cath constantly tried so hard to not make friends with people and not socialise and that's coming from someone who is socially inept themselves. She got invited places and could have made friends but she just didn't even want to. I hated that about her. It would have been okay if it was just social anxiety, but at times it just seems like she isn't at all interested in the outside world... only writing about a world somebody else created. I wanted her to go out and live a little.
Levi was an okay character but a little on the dull side, especially as far as the romantic love interest goes. He was beyond sweet, he smiled constantly and wanted to be friends with everyone. He's the guy who will chat to anyone he meets and wants everybody to like him. But, if I am totally honest, I did not understand his attraction to Cath. I felt like it had to be 99.9% based on her looks because he barely has one conversation with her because she never talks to him. She brushes him off any time he tries to talk to her, she makes him sit out in the hall, she doesn't accept any of his invites to go to parties or hang out. And yet, even though she barely says five words to him, he really likes her and really wants to be with her. Why? Honestly I don't see any reasoning behind his attraction to Cath and I don't mean that in a bad way. I just really feel like I wasn't shown any real reasons why Levi liked Cath. She was mean to him, she practically ignored him and she never expressed an interest at all. It left me feeling like Levi must have some serious issues himself.
Reagan was IT for me! I absolutely adored Cath's room mate Reagan because she seemed like a real character to me. She was funny and she made me actually laugh out loud reading this book. She had some of the best lines in this book and I enjoyed it a lot more when she was around. I love her mostly for the fact that she describes Cath so well. Reagan was instantly likeable and she made this whole book ten times more enjoyable for me, without her I would have been lost.
I don't even have any complaints about the writing. The writing is solid and it hasn't put me off reading the authors work. I just think my dislike was a mixture of high expectations, not liking all the fake fanfiction and not completely understanding Cath and Levi as characters or as a couple. I think I might try one of her other books to see if I do better with one of those.
I really struggled at the very beginning, in fact I was pretty bored. The Simon Snow aspect seemed irrelevant to me and unnecessary. This was about 150 pages too long. Cath was a character I should have easily been able to understand and identify with but I just couldn't. She never tried at anything. Levi's attraction to her never made sense to me as she did absolutely nothing to warrant it.
I'm not fangirling for Fangirl.
Okay, blogosphere this is where I actually want to discuss. I have seen nothing but rave reviews for this book and I need to understand this. What have I missed? What did you get that I just didn't? Did you love Simon and Baz? Should I try a different Rainbow Rowell book?
If it turns out that I am not the only person on the entire planet that wasn't fangirling over this then I definitely want to hear your thoughts too. What was it that you didn't enjoy? Did you struggle with the fanfiction? Did you understand Levi & Cath as a couple?