by Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: September 10th 2013
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Date read: June 9th 2014
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
“Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I’m a complete disaster.”
I just finish reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell a couple of hours ago, and before I dive into Eleanor & Park, I thought I should write the review first. So Fangirl is about Cath, a young infamous fanfiction author who loves the Simon Snow series, which is a homage to the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Her love for the series led her to write Simon/Baz fanfics which has in turn led her to become one of the leading fanfiction writers in “the fandom” community. In the beginning of the book, Cath starts her first year in college, without her twin sister, Wren, with whom she has shared everything with the last eighteen years. Wren is all about being the typical freshman; parties, boys, drinking, and new people. When Wren refused to be Cath’s roommate, Cath is forced to share room with a stranger. Her roommate, Reagan, is nothing like her. She isn’t a Simon Snow fanatic, she’s rather tough and outgoing. This leads Cath to worry. Will she make it without Wren? Will she even be able to finish Carry On, Simon before the release of the last Simon Snow book?
Cather: Oh my Zeus, how I loved Cath. She is such a nerd and it’s awesome! There were several times I felt frustration towards her, but wow. Just wow, she is such a relatable character. The fact that she has mild (?) social anxiety is very realistic and understanable. But I can only relate to a certain degree. I would prefer sitting in my dorm and read/write all day instead of going to parties. Or maybe even frat parties when I start my first year in university college next year. But I don’t really think that I would be starving myself or sit and eat protein bars just because I’m afraid of going to the cafeteria. Maybe I’ll just go to Starbucks or something and grab something there. I won’t be starving myself. Just no. I love food too much.
And then there was the thing with Levi. I did think it was slightly weird how she was
obsessed fond of Levi’s chin. And that she tried to catch his Adam’s apple (?) at one point. It was a little bit weird. Just a bit. Heh.. But other than that, I completely understand her worries. The way she was so nervous when she first came to his room. And then her desires despite the fact that she was a virgin. I completely identified myself with her when she had a cloud of thoughts for whether she would sleep with him or not. And I liked the outcome [insert perverted smug face here].
Levi: Hands down, I’ve found my fifth fictional boyfriend. Gahhhhh. Levi is such a sweet person. I don’t know how I can do him justice when I’m going to describe him now. He is such a sweetheart. Cheez. I just love him so much. He is so nice to everybody, which Cath points out at one point when they we’re talking about when she thought that he was Reagan’s boyfriend. He claims that he was flirting with her, but she just says: “You flirt with old people and babies and everyody in between”. Then he says he’s just being nice, to which she respons: “You’re extra nice. With everyone. You go out of you’re way to make everyone feel special.” Also the time when she was at the library writing with Nick (ugh) and Levi would just come and get her because it was dark out. I loved it so much when she called their dorm room and Reagan just said that Levi left the moment he heard the phone ring. Such a good guy.
All in all, he’s just so nice. He has the greatest personality, all smiles and bright. And he has such good manners, and morals. I really liked the part where she finds out about him having a spare key to their room, and asks why he always sit in the hallway if he has it. He simply says it’s never an emergancy. I just applauded him in my head and thought how other people would probably just use the key and go in already. While he sits there. Right outside, just because he respects their privacy and everything. I don’t know. It’s a small thing that just simply says a lot. I like how Rowell made him have a flaw though. It grounds him, because nobody is perfect, but Levi sure is damn close. The fact that his confident faltered for a second makes him so human, and so realistic. Because despite how bright and radient he is, and how happy he always seems to be, he has worries too. And not necessarily deep and meaningful worries, just normal worries that we all have. And when Cath just looks at him and tell him that he is “magic”, I knew that he understood that she really did care for him, concidering how much “magic” means to her.
Wren: I didn’t like Wren. At least not at first. She seemed so wild. In a way, I do understand her. She wants to experience things. The college freshman life. But I did think that she was being a brat and idiot a lot of times. Such as when she was dead drunk and Cath came because she got a 911 text. She just shrug it off and said that she texted the wrong C. Like what the shit. However, I started to like her again after she pulled her shizz together by the end of the book, after getting alcohol poisoning.
Reagan: Reagan is the bomb. I would absolutely love if I got her as a roommate. She is so funny, like when she says that she feels sorry for Cath, so she’ll be friends with her, and after Cath said that she liked not being friends with her, she just says “Me too… I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.” Like wow. Just wow. And how cool she takes everything. When she finds out that Levi and Cath slept in each others arm and everything. Gosh. She just said that she’ll be over it once she comes back from the showers… And she did get over it. I was so suprised. I thought that she was going to be a scheming douche or something, but she just got over it. She even helps Cath, usually indirectly, but still. I love it when Nick drops by at the end of the book to ask Cath if she would agree to the credit sharing thing. She just pops her head out when she hears Cath outside. And Cath describe Reagan look by saying: “Reagan was looking at Nick like she was already tying him to the railroad tracks”. Reagan is simply boss, okay? I love her.
First of all, the plot was amazing. The book is divided into two semesters for Cath’s freshman year. The fall semester was okay. There were parts that was funny and so on, but nothing really happened. It was mostly getting Cath out of the bedroom and all. And then there was the Nick thing. She would go to the library and write with him, and I just sat there and reading everything and was getting these bad gutfeelings about this monobrow dude. Little did I know that I was so right. He was such a douche. He just simply took credit for the whole thing and literally used Cath for her awesome writing skills. It made me so mad.
Then there was their dad’s situation. I didn’t quite know how to paint the picture of their dad. On one hand he was “crazy” but on the other hand, he wasn’t that crazy. I felt that Cath described it in a really bad way, as if he was insane. While what I was getting, were more that he had mental breakdowns, because everything became to overwhelming. And that’s okay. I don’t feel like that makes you a maniac. I just feel like it was milder than what she described it. It was bad, but not that bad.
During all this, there was also the thing with Levi. Before being stabbed in the back by Nick, and worrying sick because of her dad, she had to handle the fact that she was reading a book for Levi, ending up kissing him, and drift off to dreamland with him, then suddenly catch him making out with another girl. Ehh… What the heck just happened? I was so confused when I read this, I was feeling Cath’s emotions and confusion and everything. I was furious with Levi. I didn’t understand anything. He kissed her, and literally slept with her. Then he jsut makes out with another girl? That’s out of character. I was sad that Cath told Reagan not to tell Levi about this, because she just wanted to forget about it. Sigh… I wanted something to happen between them so much.
During the second semester shizz kind of went down. Finally. After avoiding Levi for a looooong time, she got her explaination. I was waiting for this moment, because he was just not going after her. I even lost hope for a weak second there. Then the part where she comes back to her dorm and he’s sitting in front of her room and I’m just like “hehh… IT’S FINALLY HAPPENING!” I swear my folks were looking at me oddly.
I was so happy that they gave it a second shot, and that they did it somehow “properly”? It’s not like they just suddenly jumped on each other and were like crazy making out or anything. Just sitting with each other, and taking things kind of slow. He knew he had to regain her trust, and she knew she really needed to trust him again before she could do anything. And I genuinely loved that they didn’t exploit and exaggerated “I love you”, but rather said “I really like you”, or just simply “I like you” instead. It wasn’t until the end of the book that they actually said that they loved each other. That made everything more sincere, and I couldn’t be more satisfied.
The last thing I want to approach reagarding the plot, was the situation with Nick. Holy shit he is such a douche. I’ll be short since I already talked about it earlier. But like seriously, Nick? Seriously?? How could he do that. I didn’t see the book trailer, nor did I read the back of the book, so I didn’t know that Levi was the designated love interest. Therefore, I actually thought that there was something meant to happen between her and Nick. Then Levi just sweeps in and everything gets better. Nick is such a douche for taking the damn story and rob all of her parts without giving her credit for it, and I’m was so grateful that our dear professor Piper just saw right through his arse. I deserved what he got. The fact that he had the nerves to come to her and ask for her help like that, and still calling it his story. Dumb. I hope he learned his lesson.
I have to say something though. As much as I wanted to give this book full score, I can’t. Because as much as I loved it, there was an extremely slow start. At least for me. I was pushing myself through the first part of the book, and it wasn’t untill chapter 10 or so that I truly began reading like fire rapidly spreading in a dry forest. And I understand that this book is called Fangirl, but I wasn’t really fond of the excerpts that we got. Sometimes they were fine, but when she for instance read from her fiction, I was just sitting there frustrated and browsed the pages to look for how long I’d have to read before I would get more Cath/Levi time. I would be fine without the fanfiction excerpts. But that’s just me.
All in all:
Recommendation: I definitely recommend this book. It’s so sweet, and there are a lot of people out there who can relate to the characters, mostly Cath. I for sure picked up a few things so take with me forward.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (I would give it 5 stars if it went faster during the first semester. The first chapters was too slow for my taste)
UP NEXT: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
PS: I’m sorry that this review was so long, I had a lot on my mind. I’m glad that you took your time to read it all!