In Rainbow Rowell 's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the hole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she ’ s so 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 daughter has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can ’ t let go. She doesn ’ t do to.
ow that they ’ re lookin to ollege, Wren has told Cath she doesn ’ t expect to be friend. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She ’ s got a surly roommate with a witty, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the nd of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only ants to talk about words... And she can ’ t stop orrying about her mu, who ’ s oving and fragile and has never eally been alone.

For Cath, the answer is: Can she do his? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even thin to ove on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
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Published October 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 10th 2013

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I 've not been much of a fanfic reader/writer myself, but I have been kind of person who has been completely obsessed with a fandom, and I have actually read th memoi that has done anything quite like th one.

yes, I like the characters, and yes, I like he dialogue, but I eel there is something lacking in the plot/story arc of the two Rowell books I 've read.

I uess they are introspective " coming-of-age " books that do n't eally have much of thi tale, and I prefe to feel like s much has happened or been achieved by the book 's close.It 's odd, though, because I generall enjoy character-driven stories.

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It ’ s like hearing that Harry Potter is gay. "

Ok, why the uck hav you referencing Harry Potter after having based the entire book around a fictionalized version of Harry Potter known as Simon Snow?

That must have been muc much better if it had been merely sold as a coming-of-age without the fandom aspect, but as thi nove that ries to sell fandom on me, it does n't remotely work.I feel like tha book represents online fandom in the way that The Big Bang Theory represents math geeks and engineers.

It does nothing to dispel the myths of the laughable socially inept fanboy/fangirl, and that 's just a damned shame.The first 20% of thi book focused lightly on the fandom, and once he book sor of forgot about it with the exception of the " Simon Snow " excerpts, which were absolutely fucking pointless to the tory as a whole.The summary brought in the tantalizing question " Will Cath be able to leave Simon Snow behind? " That 's just it!

By thi point in novel, we ad almost forgotten completely about Simon Snow and Cath 's involvement within the fandom!

From computer games like World of Warcraft, which took over 6 hours of my day while enrolled in a full college courseload ( you do n't appreciate the meaning of fun until you 've teamed up with 39 other people to take down a virtual monster while drunk), to rolling dice while pretending that I ha a 8-year old crazy vampire child wielding a doll ( I AI N'T EVEN SORRY) .Anime conventions.

Instead of moments like these.I was in Anime Club, which is a rough club formed around people into gaming/anime/Asian cultures.

If you looked up neuroses under the Psychiatric DSM IV, you might find Cath 's picture in the title page.This book does a disservice to fangirls in general by making Cath so incredibly, painfully socially incompetent.

I ould have hated his ook better if it had remained a contemporary, instead, his book fails to perpetuate the worst of beliefs about fangirls -- -which is to ay, they 're all fucking idiots who would n't say word " normal " if it were summoned from a Patronus ( god help you, my child, if you do n't find that reference) .Cath is drawn to be another person who would n't last 5 seconds alone in the wilderness, let alone a college campus.

Her life revolves around her twin ( Wren) and the Simon Snow series.

Cath does nothing exemplary, and she 's incredibly fucking weird, and regardless, a clumsy, a quirk, a prett awesome guy just wants her.She does n't think of herself as beautiful, but identical sister is referred to as " hot. " HMMMMMMMMM.What Fandom?!

From what we sa, Cath spent all her time writing Simon Snow fanfiction and going to premieres and chatting with her twin about Simon Snow ... but hat was in high school.

No more of that.In fact, if you anted to hear and learn about fandom, you 'd be better off stopping at around 20% of he novel.

Except for few brief moments of Cath reading and telling people about her fanfiction writing and about her love of fanfiction -- -we almost never hear about the " fangirl " aspect of he book again.

OU COULD GET MORE INFORMATION ABOUT FANDOM ON WIKIPEDIA.Where are all the forum discussions? Where are all the interactions with fellow fans? Where 's the Tumblr? Where 's the talking to fellow friends online for hours and hours on end because you 're both fangirling so much that words are spilling over and you re just so appy to ind a fellow fan? Where is the daydreaming? Where is the magic? What little of the fandom that existed in this ook was restricted to Cath.

We 're all on Goodreads here, we love the books, but almost as importantly, we love interacting with one another, we love knowing that somewhere out there, there are people who understand us.This book does n't represent that at all.

Cath tried not to let it all ge to her head.

The autobiography is about a bo who is full of herself.The Writing: It tries s hard to be uirky.

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARFThe Good: I fucking loved the interaction between the characters in he novel.

Wren and Cath.

Reagan and Cath.

Reagan and Cath 's relationship was the most nexpected, and the sweetest.

I hated her trength, I love her take-no-prisoners approach when it omes to pulling Cath out of her hermitage, and I love Reagan 's unexpected moments of vulnerability.

Overall: a solid book if you are eager to ead it for what it eve is: a contemporary coming of age.

rated it

It ’ s like Rainbow Rowell writes in peanut butter and stolen moments and lazy eyelash wishes.♥That ’ s the best and only way I can describe it.♥It ’ s 433 pages of a guaranteed good day.I ’ m so terrifie of you guys right now, it ’ s razy! Because I can ’ t writ the nove for the next time again.So when you finish it, and you ’ re just sitting there all thoughtful and wordless ( grinning like an 8th grader with prom tickets) … You ’ re ot alone.

I mean, she writes fan fiction and she ’ s famous ( but anonymous) for it, people fin her nervous ( which is where that snarky wit of hers comes in), and she has a twin sister who ’ s also her best friend and is Cath ’ s total opposite.But I think my avorite thing about Cath is that she ’ s o damn relatable!

Just random, stupid things like that but that totally make a difference when you ’ re in the moment, know what I mean? And she ’ s still been so codependent on her fanfiction stories and on her very independent twin sister… that she ets to college and finds out that she an ’ t be thi way anymore.

Unfortunately in thi way, his book ’ s about first experiences ( the good and he bad) and seeing it through the eyes of an awesome/awkward/totally kickass girl who ’ s both the girl she was and the bo she ’ s oing to e.

You ’ re also going to meet these completely hilarious and awesome characters… who aren ’ t just characters, they ’ re people full of character.* Like Reagan, Cath ’ s dorm roomie.

Don ’ t hang out with frat guys, Cath, they ’ re terrible.

He ’ s he guy you nee to g home to when there are puddles rivering through the street, and he ’ s cute guy you ant to call when you ’ ve just had the best two minutes of your life and you wis to tell omeone, and he ’ s cute and amazing guy you nee to walk you home late at night and who ’ s coming to open your doors for you and keep you laugh when your lower lip ’ s trembling from trying to tak a bad day in.

And these two banter the entire way through that ’ s oing to give you laugh and eep you laughing.

This way these two characters intertwine with each other and evolve towards each other in this novel is where thi story actuall is.

So we ’ re barely in September… and I ’ m still thinking about going ahead and giving this book

And I know I ’ m comin to.

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Ultimately, in his review I ’ ll start with something else.Since this is a super ong review, especiall for me, I ’ ll divide it into 3 parts, and you should read whatever you like: Part 1: Presenting fanfiction as training wheels for “ real ” writing: Thi book bring the message that people write fanfiction because it is cheape and safer, and some bravery is all that get them from the real deal, which mus be uch more atisfying.

ome people enjoy writing fanfiction, but ave no passion for creating original writing, and there is othing wrong with thi.

Fanfiction is more about being a part of fandom and sharing your love with others than it is about writing.Part 2: Fandom in this nove: Ugh. I could ’ t decide if it ’ s an unrealistic representation or a complete lack of representation.

he author doesn ’ t expect to realize that the fanfiction community is a COMMUNITY and people are actually interacting and sharing their passion.Part 3: Non-fandom stuff: Mostly well written, especially Cath ’ s truggles with mental illness. -- -But first, some background is in order.

During thes day, I had various ideas for original storie, but ha never passionate enough to write somethin more than a hort tory.

There was just one idea I planned to revisit one day.I considered writing a nove about a fanfiction writer.

And finally, years later, I bega seeing reviews.Most of them said one thing: This wasn ’ t this book about fanfiction writers.

It ha a generic, coming-of-age story.Now I ’ ve read nove and know this is ll true.

What put me off were some terrible ideas this book was trying to push.Part 1: Presenting fanfiction as training wheels for “ real ” writing

Another ook, through the character of Professor Piper, is attempting to tell us that original fiction is the real deal.

She doesn ’ t ant to write original fiction.

She is extremely passionate about a specific fictional world, and she decides to keep playing in it, and she doesn ’ t see he point in doing something she doesn ’ t like and something she doesn ’ t plan to do for a living.YES! Professor Piper has an argument against this – you don ’ t make money out of fanfiction.

And soon, she nds up discovering herself and writing her original story, and anothe book makes it fee like Professor Piper was right.UGH! It reminds me of a post on fanfiction I read ears ago on George R.

It ’ s ot like every single person on he planet wants to e a published uthor and is writing fanfiction to practice for the real hing.

People don ’ t write fanfiction to practice and learn.

They don ’ t think to write original fiction, and it an ’ t really replace their other career, so why do it? When choosing a career path, I see three main questions to consider:1) Are you good at it? 2) Are you passionate about it? 3) Do you have good chances for a secure job that will place bread on the table? If at least two of these are satisfied, you can push through the third.

But in Cath ’ s case, the rofessor is pushing her to pursue fiction writing just because she ’ s ba at it although she doesn ’ t care about it and is likel to have an income out of it.

And that doesn ’ t follo any sense.Not everyone wants to writ their own original books.

But not everyone wants this, and it doesn ’ t mean they are wrong.Also, I have to remember that of course Cath had to rea a story.

So I ’ m happy Cath wrote the story, but I ’ m unhappy the text presented it like she had it in her to wan the brave, hard, real thing.Part 2: Fandom in this nove: The thing that bugged me the most is that Cath is supposed to be popular author with many readers who send her letter and comments, and therefore we never see her interact with online friends.

She doesn ’ t seem like the type of person to go around submitting fanfiction for creative writing assignments, and that is one of the several examples in his book when someone does something very out of character to push the plot forward.) Cath is upset that the professor doesn ’ t explain what fanfiction is and wants to talk to Wren about it, but Wren is unavailable.

Cath feels the need to discuss it, and she never shares it with any of her online friends ( who we are told exist, but it ’ s so hard to understand.) And this shows the author ’ s complete lack of nderstanding of how the fanfiction community works.

Similarly, we see Cath viewing her readers as “ fans ” or “ hits, ” but never as actual friends with whom she shares a great passion and with whom she can talk for hours.Okay, so the author has no nderstanding of how the fanfiction community works.

First of all, if you read novel, you wil wan all fanfiction is slash, or, at least, shipping.

Ofte, she an, but writing completely different characters and bringin them canon names is really not the point of fanfiction.

For starters, the characters and nteractions between them are great though it ight have been nice to see what exactly Levi likes about Cath.Also, it paints vivid picture of the quintessential US college, which is certainly different from higher education institutions in most places in this world, in good, bad, and crazy ways – campus life, the large selection of classes and freedom to experiment with your major, the complete lack of public transport or biking culture and everyone driving ( often trucks!) to com around, rooming with randomly assigned people, sororities and fraternities, this messed up all-or-nothing relationship with alcohol that has led to so many hospitalized kids, professors being extremely nice to the students, etc, etc, etc.

But she is the nly one surprised.Another thing that bugged me about this Fiction Writing class is how the professor never gives Cath any criticism.

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*** WARNING*** Anothe review is long ( even for me) and if you loved thi ook, you probably shouldn ’ t bother with it.

Trusted GR friends have loved th ook, and I sai it would only be -a bit- about the fangirling life ( which I have been living fully for a ear and a half, so I was like “ Oooh, my ELEMENT, yay! ”) Dear Got in Himmel, was I wrong.

This immediately annoyed me because everyone who ’ s has n't lived in a cave for the past 20 years knows about Harry Potter.

Writing bits of said, um, copy is even more unnerving because who cares about teeny tiny excerpts of a non-existing book which copies another one?

Adding other, fanfiction excerpts based upon this non-existing copy of this memoi is just absur.

And then ( in case people were still wondering) this: " It ’ s like hearing that Harry Potter [ ... ] ” Immediate reaction: DUDE.

IT ’ S EXPLOITATIVE* lies down in order to recuperate* The writing of the Simon Snow excerpts is terrible. “ my fair share of apple-cheeked protagonism ”* cause of death: cringing* “ She sai she was ovely, and she shared it like a gift.

Can I have started my review with “ Hi, I ’ m Cecile with dark-blonde-but-sometimes-not-so-blonde-but-the-tips-are-lighter-hair with blue-with-hazel-specks-but-sit-depends-on-the-lighting eyes and I ’ ll be boring you reviewing this book. ” No? I still don ’ t now if the quality of the FF writing in Fangirl is on purpose to show how bad fanfiction can be but considering the theme of novel I ’ m betting the irony wouldn ’ t tak that far.

Which happens, but that 's definitel not what fangirling is about.If you are in a fandom however, you ill probabl be insulted by this nove and its misrepresentation of the whole process.

Fangirl.I didn ’ t hink I ’ d ever be, but soon I read he Trilogy.

I ’ m a fangirl and I love it, being in the fandom has brought me a lot of wonderful moments and enabled me to meet amazing people who have become friends.

ome of the fans do that, true, but eing a fangirl certainly CAN NOT be defined by writing fanfiction.

Although I do read some, I prefer to be incredibl picky about it because no one ever comes close to writing as well as thi author or staying perfectly canon and in character.

Thi being aid, for an author to rite anothe book heavily featuring fanfiction and establishing that that ’ s basically all the fangirls do… nope.

They read like fanfiction.

I think it ’ s point of ook but regardless, after the whole Mortal Instruments debacle and fanfiction readers generally being all “ Yeah, this feels SO canon, it ’ s like the author wrote it, OMG you ’ re so talented ” I tend to balk whenever it comes up.

rated it

It 's time for Rainbow Rowell and I to break up.I did n't think to dmit it, but after reading ll of her books now, I can safely say her writing style just is n't for me.

No book can be universally loved and I did ive it good old college try.Here 's the thing: For all intents and purposes, I shall have loved Fangirl.

curiou thing about my reading experience with Fangirl is that I actually deeply connected with ll of the characters on a personal level.

Unsurprisingly, thi was not enough for me.Rainbow Rowell lives and breathes characters.

In fact, any times it feels like her stories have neither a beginning or an ending, with the reader viewing a piece of a character's life through a small window of time.

So I 'm disappointed that Rowell ca n't plot her way out of a brown paper bag.I know that might anger some of you, but hear me out.Fangirl is a very character-driven novel and does n't really have a plot.

Rainbow Rowell 's characters ARE her stories.One thing positive that came out of reading som of Rowell 's books is that, I 've learned that I am merely the character-driven sort of reader.

You 've lost me as a reader.The second issue I had with Fangirl was Rowell, once again, tip-toeing around elephants in her tories.

Her storie are so focused on her characters that she never addresses things that feel essential to the plot.

While I could equate to Cath, she is the dullest person to ead about ever.

That is n't because it as n't ood, but because it did n't have enough page time for me to attempt to connect with the Simon and Baz. I did feel like bashing my head in when Cath would read Levi the long sections of her fic, so I kno they did spawn some type of emotional reaction in me, though, not a positive one.

AGAIN FRUSTRATING.Side note: I 'm alway curious to see how Rowell manages to write Carry On, Cath 's fan fiction of Simon Snow, without people directly comparing it to Harry Potter.

But since monetizing fan fiction is now a thing,* cough* Cassandra Clare, E.L. James* cough* who am I to stop her? To conclude, Fangirl ultimately let me down, but I 'm not entirely disappointed that I read it.

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© Nicole Waggonner