Fanfiction, Identical Twins and Hairlines: Fangirl Book Review

Finally, the long awaited review has finally come up! Most of you have probably known from my Bout of Books readathon updates and my 2016 TBR that I have spent a long time anticipating for myself to read this book. So many of you have been saying how great it is, and how much I’ll love it.

Fangirl is a young adult novel written by Rainbow Rowell about a girl, Cath, who is entering college. You have probably heard of this book before. This novel is about Cath and her twin sister Wren, about her struggles in college, about her passion in writing, and, basically, this novel is about discovering herself.

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date Published: 2013
Num of pages: 445
Date read: January 6th, 2015
Goodreads Link
Book Depository Link

Coming into this book, I have heard so many good things about basically everyone who has ever read it. But I try not to get my hopes up too high. The novel starts off very interestingly, and I can immediately relate to Cath. She is so passionate and obsessed in the Simon Snow stories – she is a fangirl. And of course, all of us here in the book blogging community can totally relate to that! Other than that, as a newcomer in university myself, I can really relate to Cath on her anxiety with meeting other people. Cath is basically just me.

As for the other characters, I quite liked Wren, Cath’s twin sister. What struck me in the middle of the book is how Cath and Wren seem too much like your stereotypical twins – Cath being the quiet, nerdy one and Wren being the outgoing, charming one. I was kind of bugged by that aspect of the characters, but other than that I really love Cath and Wren’s relationship. It was my favourite part of the book to read.

The other characters were just awesome for me. At first I was a huge fan of Nick and I had actually hoped that Cath would end up with him. I think it was because from Cath’s point of view, she actually described so many of Levi’s weaknesses – how he was too cheerful, how his hairline was terrible, and other little things that made Levi unlikeable. But in the end, it actually made him more real-like, and ultimately better for Cath.

You’re never going to find a guy who’s exactly like you—first of all, because that guy never leaves his dorm room.

Speaking of boys, the romance in this book was adorable. I loved the little tug and pull between Cath and Levi, and all the little scenes involving them before the actually got together that really made the two of them perfect for each other. And when they finally were together, everything they did was just cute and lovely and I just want more from them. And especially because Cath is a writer, I love how when Cath would look at Levi, she’d be able to describe him in such a beautiful and poetic way that makes me love him as well.

cover2Even so, I did find some problems about the book. I didn’t really like the parts about the mother. I felt like it was a little unnecessary and just added to too much drama into Cath’s life. I really liked Cath’s dad, but I thought he was too caricaturized and his illness seemed like something that again, Rowell added just to add more zest and more drama into the story. But I really liked Cath’s relationship with Reagan, and her love for her father and sister.

Another thing that sort of bothered me was the fanfiction parts. At some times I really liked them, I thought they were suitable to the story and was a great addition, especially if the scenes written were sort of similar or almost like a parallel to Cath’s life. But then there would also be some sections of the fanfiction that didn’t make me feel anything, and all it did was just ruin the flow of the story. We discussed this in our discussion topic of the Book Basilisks Book Club, and most people agreed that the fanfiction wasn’t a great part of the book.

I loved the parts where Cath struggled with her passion, which was Simon Snow and writing fanfiction. I really liked the part where she was angry at her teacher for saying that her fanfiction is not a real piece of writing, and when she claimed that Simon Snow was part of her, how the characters felt like hers. It was so relatable but also showed a great part of Cath’s character.

The ending for me was excellent. I thought it was kind of weird that it ended with a fanfiction and then with a short story, but I really liked the short story at the end. It made me feel warm and happy and it reminded us of the whole central theme of this book, which is basically about Cath, and family, and being strong, and loving yourself and others.

quote2“It’s okay if you’re crazy,” he said softly.
“You don’t even know-“
“I don’t have to know,” he said. “I’m rooting for you.”

I read a wonderful question and answer section in the back of the book with Rainbow Rowell, about how she thought that in the end Cath didn’t just “give up” on Simon Snow or that after these experiences her love for the books didn’t decrease, instead she extended her love towards something other than Simon Snow, but also to new people like Levi and Reagan.

In the end, I gave this book four stars on Goodreads. It did not disappoint. Sure, it had some problems, it wasn’t a perfect book. But it made me smile and giggle, it gave me so much feels, it was relatable, it had a great flow and the message in the end was wonderful. This is definitely a book that will stick with me for a long time.

4 stars

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  1. I love Kath. I could relate so much with her awkwardness and fangirling. And Levi is adorable. He reminds me if a dog with his ceaseless enthusiasm and I love his chemistry with Kath. It’s just cute.

    Honestly, I skipped most of the fanfics. I agree, it wasn’t that relevant to the story, though, I found myself reading it after finishing Carry On lol

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If you loved the cute bits in Fangirl, I’m sure you’ll enjoy Carry On as much. I was kinda mixed about it at first, but as I read other reviews, I began to appreciate it better. Would love to hear your thoughts about it in the future!

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Well I’m firmly in the “Carry On is awesome” camp- so you won’t hear anything but praise from me- it’s such a joy to read. I’ve only read Eleanor and Park, but didn’t really relate to that much, so that’s why I’m still tentative about it

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for putting into words exactly how I felt about this book. Highlights: I adored Levi for his faults and his good-natured confidence despite them. The fanfic parts had to be more relevant to Cath’s life–otherwise, they were just gratuitous interruptions. Everything else you said, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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