Young Delight Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Posted June 14, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews, Young Delight / 28 Comments

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Young Delight Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
two-half-flames


Genres: New Adult Romance, YA Contemporary Romance
Published by Wednesday Books
Released on September 10, 2013
Pages: 483
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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The Delight

When I give a thought to the most recommended young adult author to me, Rainbow Rowell is in the top three.  So, it might have taken a few years for me to act on it, but I finally picked up the book that most caught my fancy.  Oh course, a girl fanning over a book series seemed right up my alley.


Review

Fangirl, a standalone young adult-new adult crossover story about young Cath who must now leave her sheltered and controlled make-believe world for the reality of college, social anxiety, a roommate, guys, classes, a dad struggling back home with mental health issues and a mom who abandoned her and her twin wanting back in her life.

Her twin sister, Wren, is adamant that she and Cath need to live separate lives starting with separate dorm rooms, classes, and social life- and no, Wren is not going to continue with their secret world of Simon Snow.

It’s all so overwhelming to a girl who lived her life stuck inside the books, movies, and fandom of her favorite book character where her FanFic posts are popular and she never had to engage much with others or bother with real life struggles.

Slowly and painfully, Cath comes out of her twin’s shadow and becomes her own woman, dealing with her anxieties, and a balance in her life.

Fangirl was an engaging story from the start and had several hilarious moments, but those were blended in with some deeper elements.  Cath was the narrator and her blend of vulnerability, wit, and fretfulness caught me up from page one.  I found myself relating with her deeply at times and shaking my head at others.  Cath was somewhat tiring when she’d get caught up in things and I was ready to throw in the towel a few times, but…

Like most of us, she struggles with getting out of her own way and struggles to understand other people well.   I consider myself a fan of a few different fandoms and have even written some fan fiction, but I’ve never taken it nearly as far as Cath.  Then again, I’ve never had a reason to block out real life to that extent like she felt she did with what was going on in her family.  It was her way of having some control over her life as a coping mechanism.

Her sister, Wren, was something else at first, but I sorta got where she was coming from, too, and she was young and struggling to understand her twin’s very real social anxiety and her dad’s bipolarism.  But, as a side character story, she grew in the end just like Cath.

Then there was Levi.  He was too sweet to be believed and was a light and fun element in Cath’s life as he tried hard to pry her out of her Simon Snow world long enough to enjoy life’s experiences.  I wasn’t as fond that he was her crabby roommate’s boyfriend at first, but it wasn’t a cheating issue so much as he seemed to flit about.  He turned out to be something more solid than Cath understood until late.

Okay, and the focal point of Cath’s life- her geeky fan obsession.  Loved it!  Not because of the way it kept her from engaging with real life, but just the world of fandom and her connection with other fans, going to late night book releases, making traditions out of the movies at home, collecting, and fan forums on line.  It was so familiar and nostalgic to me.

There are so many real and relatable bits in this book though not all necessarily personally to me- her freshman year away at school, lots of different types of relationship learning experiences and struggles, making peace with a mother who abandoned her family when the twins were eight years old, and being the child of a parent with bi-polar disorder.  In fact, the family element was what held my attention the most.

And, so, my first jaunt with Rainbow Rowell’s writing and this story had me impressed and I will definitely be reading the others of hers I have on my pile.  I expected a light and even funny story which this was a little, but it dug deep and was thoughtful and emotional.  While it read for an older Young Adult audience, I think that even older adults who don’t mind looking back on the unsettled days of late teen years and sometimes complicated family situations would enjoy Fangirl.


Challenges Met

Mt. TBR #43
COYER Quarantine #29
Romanceopoly #39 Beau Blvd
Literary Pickers #75 salad
Books N Tunes #18 John William’s Harry Potter Theme Song


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Lorna
Lorna
4 months ago

It’s been several years since I read this. I really liked it as well. Reading this one made me read Eleanor and Park and that one is still a favorite YA for me. I’m glad you enjoyed this.

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  Lorna

I definitely want to read Elinor and Park. I’ve got Attachments and Landline on my TBR pile for next, but I also want to snag the Simon Snow book she wrote, too. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
4 months ago

Well some of the things in this book hit home with me. I have social anxiety and my brother is bi-polar. It sounds like a book that I might like. It went in my wish list.

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Yes, it showcases mental health so well and how the characters fought hard to have a joyful life. I think you’d appreciate this one, Mary. 🙂

Greg
4 months ago

I really liked Fangirl and agree with everything you said. the family elements with her dad and sister, as well as the freshman year stuff, really worked for me. Glad you enjoyed it also!

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  Greg

Yes, it was so relateable even when I don’t share so much about her life. 🙂 I definitely want to read more.

vvb
vvb
4 months ago

Been meaning to read this one for awhile. Eleanor and Park was my first Rainbow read and I loved it. Tried Landline, but could not get into it.

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  vvb

I can’t believe how long I put this off. Sigh… I missed out. 🙂 Oh yes, Eleanor and Park is on the list. Oop, too bad about Landline. I have that one and Attachments on my TBR pile.

Rachel @Waves of Fiction

I’ve had this on my physical book shelf for years and just have never got to it. Must read it someday! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

Sophia Rose
4 months ago

Haha! That was me, too. I finally hauled it down and it was as good as all the rave reviews said. 🙂

Romance Reader
4 months ago

I liked this, happy you enjoyed it too.

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  Romance Reader

Thank you! I sure waited long enough. LOL

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
4 months ago

Great review Sophia Rose I just wish I liked NA better usually too my useless angst for me but this does sound good.

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

I get that completely, Debbie. Not a huge fan of teenage angst, either. This one has it somewhat, but there are some other things going on to make that easily skipped through to get to the other stuff I did enjoy. 🙂

Melliane
4 months ago

I did read this one a while ago when it was released in French but I don’t remember the story I confess

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  Melliane

Haha, not real memorable, eh? 😉

Carole Rae
4 months ago

Good for Cath !

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

She really came into her own and that was great to see.

Amber Elise @ Du Livre
4 months ago

I loved Fangirl so much! It was my first Rainbow Rowell book as well and it remains my favorite.

Sophia Rose
4 months ago

How cool, Amber! I can’t believe I waited so long to try it. 🙂

Sarah @ All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

I am glad that others can find enjoyment in her work, I don’t care for it at all. Part of my massive irritation with Rowell is the fact that all her characters are named for towns in Nebraska. I am just waiting for one named Omaha next…

Sophia Rose
4 months ago

Haha! You crack me up, Sarah. Is there a Grand Island? Teasing. I have a few popular authors that I just can’t. Their writing and I are not a match.

Sarah @ All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Grand Island, Nebraska Population: 51,478. I can see it now, GI and Omaha are detectives, on the case of a jewel heist, aided by their colleagues Champion and Valentine!

Sophia Rose
4 months ago

Buahaha! And their K-9 Scott’s Bluff on the scent.

Lola
4 months ago

I heard great things about this one, but haven’t read it myself. It sounds like a good one and I like the sound of how it blends real life struggles, fandom and the whole family aspect.

Sophia Rose
4 months ago
Reply to  Lola

It really was a good job of detailing out the life of a girl struggling with mental health, family issues, and enjoying fandom. I’m definitely going to read some of her other books, too.

ShootingStarsMag
4 months ago

It’s been awhile since I read this one, but I loved it. I could relate to Cath in a lot of ways – even the social anxiety as it’s something I’ve dealt with my whole life. I just read Carry On (after only like five years lol) and I love getting to dive into Simon Snow’s world.

-Lauren

Sophia Rose
4 months ago

Yes, I heard that she wrote Simon’s story. I want to read that one, too.
Haha, I will not twit you about the five years b/c as you can see, I took my own sweet time on this one. 🙂