“To really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.” - Rainbow Rowell
Rating || 4/5
Fangirl had been sitting on my shelf for almost year before I picked it up to read. I had low expectations for this book despite the praise from almost everyone on the internet. Rainbow Rowell's much-acclaimed Eleanor & Park was disappointing in my opinion. So I wasn't exactly looking forward to reading Fangirl. My initial thoughts were that Fangirl would be a filler book to pass the time (much like Eleanor & Park).
Thankfully, I was happily surprised.
Fangirl is a coming-of-age about Cath, a fanfiction writer of the famous Simon Snow books. She and her twin sister separate to become their own person. Add an awesome roommate, a cute farmer, bipolar father and absent mother, Cath has to prepare for the final Simon Snow book. But can she?
(Minor spoilers ahead)
Rainbow Rowell and I have an ambivalent relationship. A problem that started when I first read Eleanor & Park and continued in Fangirl. Two books I should have loved. Girls with weird quirks as the protagonist, raw heartfelt emotion and honest dialogue. I should have loved them. Eleanor & Park was a disappointment, but I liked Fangirl. Liked being the operative term.
On one hand, her writing style is amazing and I felt the need to consume page after page. On the other, it's nothing new. Her characters are realistic and hilarious but underused and (at times) two-dimensional. The plot is both simple and intriguing yet slow-pacing and anti-climatic. The lack of resolution, its contrived coincidences, and lack of character support. It was good, but it could have been better.
I wish Reagan and Cath's Fiction Professor was used more. I couldn't stop reading grinning whenever they were on page. I wanted Cath and Wren's relationship with each other and Simon Snow explored more. While I thought Levi and Cath's romance was adorable, it was just that. Adorable, cute but nothing exceptional. With that said, it did provide some heartwarming moments (i.e reading aloud and their first kiss. Oh goodness)
Rainbow Rowell hasn't achieved her zenith. It's as if she knows she can do so much more but doesn't.
Yet, it's been a long time since I could relate to a book and feel its real and raw emotion.
Cath, a fan of Simon Snow (this universe's Harry Potter), resonated with me. As a huge fan of Harry Potter, I remember crying when I read Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. I cried even harder when I watched the final film. So I related to Cath's turmoil of her favourite franchise's end. If anything, those were the best parts of the book. When it was going through the end of a fangirl's 'life,' and wondering what's going to happen now.
I give it 4 out of 5, because even with all the troubles I had with this book, I enjoyed it. It reminded me how it feels to be obsessed with a show, character, book. How I cried for half an hour when the Doctor regenerated. How I drooled when I saw Loki for the first time ever. How I grinned in both of amusement and bemusement when I was placed in Ravenclaw in Pottermore.
Fangirl is a book for the fans. For the obsessive fanatics who had to say goodbye and didn't want to.