Book of the Week: Fangirl

photo from rainbowrowell.com

Read the review in today’s Spencer Daily Reporter.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. St. Martin’s Press, 433 pp. $18.99

I was really going to pace myself with this one. I waited so patiently to read it–I had to read a few other books for review before I could get to that one–but when I was finally able to open the cover and begin I told myself that I wanted to take my time. I wanted to savor it.

Screw that. I was done in five hours. And every page was delicious. When I finally finished, I set the book aside, checked my emotions, and tweeted simply:

Oh my god, @rainbowrowell. I have no words #FanGirl.

I think I fell in love with Rowell after reading Eleanor and Park, and when I heard she had a new book coming shortly I could barely contain myself. I was super excited.

What I loved about Eleanor and Park was its simplicity. It’s the story of two “outcasts” who fall in love, a young adult story about first love told without vampires or end-of-the world hardships. There is nothing earth-shattering that draws Eleanor and Park together. They are not the last two people on the earth. They simply sit next to each other on the bus, and fall in love. It’s beautiful.

I wouldn’t necessarily classify Fangirl as young adult fiction. Sure, it’s got its elements: Cath is a fan fiction junkie who’s own fic, Carry On, Simon sees about 35,000 hits per post. She is obsessed with Simon Snow, a fictional character who, in my mind, seems somewhat Harry Potter-esque. 

But I think this book appeals better to those between young adult and adult fiction. Cath herself is heading off to college, and trying to navigate her newfound life while simultaneously keeping up with the demands of her readers. It isn’t easy. Her twin sister, Wren, has all but written off Simon Snow–practically treason in Cath’s eyes–and wants to have a full college experience. Her roommate, Reagan, doesn’t understand why Cath doesn’t leave the room. Reagan’s “boyfriend,” Levi, always seems to be around and actually shows an interest in what Cath seems to be working on, which annoys Cath. On top of it all, her English professor truly believes fan fiction to be a form of plagiarism

What makes Rowell so good is the way she develops her characters. The prose sucks you right in, but it’s the characters that keep you wondering what comes next? When I finished the book and realized it was finished, a little part of me was sad. I wanted this story to be true, and I wanted these people to be real. I still wanted to find out what happened, but I guess that’s what fan fiction is for :).

Needless to see, I’m a fangirl of Fangirl. (I just had to, I’m sorry).

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About katepadilla

I write for the Spencer Daily Reporter in Spencer, Iowa. I keep blogs lifebythebooks, Save Me, San Francisco, and Beauty and Beast Buy a House. I'm also hard at work writing a short story collection inspired by the music of Train.

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