AUTHOR: Rainbow Rowell
RATING: ★★★ (3/5)
RECOMMEND?: For John Green fans
I've been slacking a lot with my updates because work and college just got a whole lot harder this year, and I didn't have a lot of time for writing. Fortunately though, I kept up the pace with my reading and I've read 19 books so far this year which is great since February isn't even over yet. I can't name all of them but there's a variety of YA, plays, classics, etc. You can check them all out on my Goodreads anyway, the link to that is on the right.
I wanted to review something new, popular, and that I had a lot to speak about. I've chosen Fangirl because it's a book that I was really excited about and everyone who's read it has been going on about how much they loved it. I got it in paper back which I'm quite happy about. (I hate hardbacks. I don't know why.) But I'll stop rambling and get on with the review now.
Fangirl is the story of a college newbie called Cath. She's probably spent her whole life being a fangirl and writing fanfiction about this book series called Simon Snow which bears a lot of resemblance to Harry Potter. The novel focuses on how Cath manages to break out of this bubble that she lives in with her fictional characters, and begins to explore the real world and make real friends and live her life. It's for anyone who's ever just wanted to run away with a character, or who's fell in love with a fictional realm, or even for people who just love a contemporary novel about love and friendship and being a geek.
But there's a reason I only gave this book three stars. The plot was probably the best part about it, yet even this left me feeling a little dissatisfied. Instead of including the elements of stuff usually associated with being a fangirl like TV show marathons and doing the thing where you wave your arms around violently, it basically was just a story about a girl in college who meets new people. The events in it like going to hospital, dealing with family, kissing a boy for the first time, etc, are those found in tons of books nowadays. I felt like the 'fangirl' element of the whole story was completely watered-down, which will disappoint many people who think they're going to be reading a story which really captures the life of a fangirl.
Nevertheless, it was really nice to read. Though it wasn't necessarily what I thought it would be, I still felt like I was reading a good book, and sometimes I just felt like I wanted to stay up that little longer to finish another chapter. Rainbow Rowell also puts snippets of fanfiction before each chapter, and it was interesting to see how the characters in Cath's writing reflected the real people in her life. You could tell that Rowell had really put thought into the symbolism of all that.
One thing which really tore me in two was the characters. There were some characters (like Reagan, Nick, and her dad) who I really liked. I felt like they had a voice of their own, they were distinct and stood up for themselves and I really loved Rowell's portrayal of them. Even when they started to get mean, I still loved to read about them which was great. Other characters, however, (Cath, Levi, Wren) really got on my nerves most of the time. Cath, the main girl, was socially awkward to the point where I was feeling second-hand embarrassment for her, and it got really frustrating sometimes when she'd pass off doing exciting things for sitting down and writing fanfiction, which wasn't always exciting to read. Levi, her love interest, seemed completely unreal, and though he was sweet and charming, there were times when I'd just get annoyed at their relationship.
To expand on that, I think the romance in the novel was a little unrealistic. Cath had the mental state of a thireteen-year-old girl, and Levi was twenty-one or something and it was impossible to understand what he saw in her. Plus, she never liked to go outside or show any real affection for him, and it also happened that he'd been at college for years now and he was still single, even though he was supposed to be beautiful. I don't know, parts of it seemed creepy, and others were just not really viable.
Overall, it was a nice read and I'd recommended it for people who like coming-of-age stories about being a writer and being obsessed with books. But if you're looking for something that really captures the lifestyle of being a fangirl and is a completely page turner and it's brilliant in every way, then that's not what you're going to get.
At the moment I'm currently reading Philippa Gregory's The White Queen and I'm thoroughly enjoying it! After that I'm planning to read Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski and then The Scorch Trials which is the second book in the Maze Runner Series. Yes, I started the Maze Runner, and it is freaking brilliant.
Not sure yet what I'll be reviewing next, but I won't leave it too long to decide! Thanks for reading.