Review - Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

FangirlTitle: Fangirl
Series: N/A
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: September 10th 2013, St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 438 Pages, Hardcover
Source: Thanks to my friend for lending this to me!
Rating: 3/5 Cupcakes!
In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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? Open her heart to someone? Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?
I've heard endless good praise for Rainbow Rowell's novels and I've been excited to jump on the bandwagon. I borrowed Fangirl from my friend and could barely wait to read it! For the most part, I enjoyed it, but I felt it was over-hyped. Upon finishing it, I didn't sigh and hug the book, I didn't find myself smiling and exclaiming how cute it was; I just felt disappointed and thinking, "Is that it?". I could relate to the element of being a fangirl and being socially awkward and I liked that, but there was just something missing. I was expecting a charming, heartfelt read and although I enjoyed reading this, there were a few things that, sadly, kept me from loving it.

Fangirl is about 18 year old who is starting her first semester at college with her twin sister, Wren. When Cath arrives, she almost buckles and heads back home. Wren wants to be her own person and be free and Cath believes her dad needs her more. Her roommate doesn't seem to like Cath, and her over-friendly boyfriend is constantly hanging around. She expects to have her sister to lean on but she Wren has already made a new friend and getting ready for a bunch of different parties. At least Cath still has Simon. Simon Snow. The equivalent to our Harry Potter. Cath is a massive fan. She's seen the movies, read the books and has personalised posters of him and Baz hanging up in her room at home and now, at college. She also writes Simon Snow fanfiction. Posting a chapter or so every night. She has thousands of readers and gets tens of thousands of pageviews daily. However, as Cath navigates through her freshman year, she slowly realises that maybe, for once, she can loosen her reign on Simon and start discovering who she is.

Fangirl sounded like the perfect novel for me. It was a fantastic idea, as there are so many fangirls out there, that can relate. A lot of times whilst reading this I found myself saying, "Ha. That's exactly like me!" but like I said, there was something preventing me from enjoying this novel to the full extent. I can't pinpoint what exactly was missing or what I didn't really like, but there was just something missing.

I liked the characters, I didn't love them but they were okay. Cath was, obviously, the character I could relate to best. She has social anxiety (I have anxiety), she's awkward, anti-social, a fangirl, a writer, a book-lover and an introvert. So I liked Cath for those reasons, that she was relatable, but there was something about her that made me not able to completely like her. She seemed quite judgemental and secretive, I didn't feel like, at all, I really got to know her. Her voice seemed as if she was constantly disinterested and bored. At times she was so introverted, to the point where she came across as rude. I only actually saw her loosen up during the Emergency Kanye Party (which I loved!) and then I felt like I could see more like what she was like. I loved seeing her actually having fun, as she is generally stringent and uptight. I must give her her dues that she was amazing to her mentally ill father and her wild sister, which I admire. I also got quite frustrated with her as she was unhealthily obsessed with Simon Snow. Obsessed to the point where she was passing up fantastic opportunities because she didn't want to let go of him. When the Professor gave her another chance, I was screaming at Cath to take it and just try and escape her comfort zone and showcase her potential.

I initially adored Levi. He was so happy, positive and out-going as much as Cath is quiet and reserve. I adored how her slowly won Cath over, easing her from her weary state to a more accepting, interested state. It was very sweet to watch. HOWEVER, he completely  broke my trust, made me question his thoughts on relationships and honesty, when he was caught doing something he shouldn't have been doing. I don't see how Cath could just forgive him like that, especially when he offered no reasonable explanation as to why. I must say, my dislike for him grew after that.

Wren, Cath's twin, frustrated me continuously as well. I understand that she was at college and that she didn't want to be with her twin sister the whole time and that she wanted to break away. What I didn't understand though, is that why didn't she bother to answer Cath's calls and still keep in contact. I only started liking her towards the end when she showed some appreciation to her sister who cares about her so much. Also, it was so irresponsible for her to get paralytically drunk every night and to keep drinking when she had a health scare.

The only character that really came to life was Reagan. I didn't like her foul mouth or her appreciation for drugs, but she had personality and spunk and gave the book a more vibrant feel.

I didn't really enjoy the romance either. Cath was just so awkward around him and I never really got the impression that she actually loved him. They just seemed to be a mismatch, and in this case, opposites don't attract. I could see Cath was more comfortable around Nick and it's a pity he wasn't the nice guy who I initially thought he was. I just didn't feel like their relationship was formed from love. It was a friendship trying forcibly being shoved into a romantic state. Their relationship just exuded awkwardness, why was she always nibbling his chin? It just seemed weird. The romance wasn't what I expected. 

This is a contemporary so there wasn't tons of action. I found it moved at a steady pace and it kept me pretty interested. The two hospital scenes seemed to be randomly placed there, though.

I'm afraid to say I'm not fangirling over Fangirl. Although the main character was a book-lover and a writer and that appealed to me, it wasn't enough for me to completely love the story. Cath was very uptight and never seemed to show her true self and Levi I adored until he did that one thing. The kissing scenes were extremely awkward, and although I felt Levi put a lot into the relationship, I feel as if Cath never really did. I enjoyed the parts where she read to him, though. Overall, I'm disappointed. I think this book is slightly over-hyped and my expectations were too high. Not the charming, funny book I was expecting!

I give it: 3/5 Cupcakes!