Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
This book has been highly recommended by Never Not Reading and a few more people to me, and I am so glad I listened! Fangirl is so adorable and sweet.
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 enjoyed this book since chapter 1. I have to say, however, that I am quite biased towards it – my boyfriend and I met in a US University, I have a history with fanfiction writing (I used to be admin of the fanfiction section on an anime website! Much nerding? Yep.) and have social anxiety myself. So a lot of the book just felt like – yes, exactly, someone gets it!
The story is rather character-driven, which means for a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like much happens. There is lots of character development, which I really liked to read! The relationship between Cath and Wren felt very well portrayed, I love a good story with sisterly relationships! I’ve read a few reviews complaining that Cath’s social anxiety protrayed fanfic readers in a bad stereotype, but I honestly didn’t see it that way at all. I found her anxiety very easy to relate to, and although her social ineptitude felt frustrating at times, it never felt unrealistic. I really loved Levi’s character and Wren’s. In my opinion, only Reagan was left not quite as complex as the other characters, I wish her story had been more explored.
I didn’t quite understand how the parts of the Simon Snow story added before new chapters did much for anything… I figured it could possibly give a prelude to what the chapter ahead was going to be about, but I never kept them in my mind while reading the chapter quite enough to tell. Also, I felt like there were many loose ends! I had to go to the FAQ to have one or two questions answered, but definitely not all!
It’s also important to point out that, while the name of the book, the synopsis and some blurb about it point to it being a book about fanfiction and fandom, it’s not. It’s the story of Cath, who happens to be a fanfic writer. As much as fanfic is a big part of the book, it’s not the main story, and you don’t get to see lots of fandom.
I loved seeing the writing process of Cath and how difficult it could get, or how easy. I loved writing a while ago, and I had the same situation with fiction writing when it wasn’t fantasy… it just didn’t feel right. And world building is so damn hard, I admire so much authors who can pull it off.
Fangirl made me literally happy while reading it, and transported me right back to college years, and to falling in love. I am absolutely sure I will read this more times, and I look so much forward to reading Carry On!
Verdict: You will enjoy this book if you like YA and romance, I smiled a lot through the book, especially the first third. If you love fanfiction, this might resonate a lot with you, but don’t expect to see lots of fandom. A very cute summer read!