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on 4 June 2014
I’m fangirling over Fangirl.

Simple as.

In America, Cath and Wren have moved away to be at University. From the very beginning, it’s everything I hoped the book would be and so much more. Cath is in her own little world. All she wants to do is write. There’s nothing wrong with that. Writing got a lot of people very far in the world. But she’s not much of a social butterfly either. That’s where I found a link with Cath. Neither of us like going out of our way to join in. We’re used to our surroundings and when new ones are around us, we become nervous.

If you’ve got a copy of Fangirl, you’ll know about the drawings on the inside of the front cover. I heard about this a few weeks before I started reading and my first thought was, “oh, that’s rather clever.” But now that I’ve read and fallen in love with the book, I’m not so sure anymore. Upon several chapters, especially the beginning ones, I found myself flicking back to the front cover and looking at the drawings of the characters. I felt that if I wasn’t imagining them in the correct way, I wasn’t going to get the full effect of the book. It didn’t necessarily put me off, it’s just not something which really added to the plot for me.

The little snippets of the Simon Snow books were brilliant and a lot like Harry Potter (no complaints from me!). I loved how we got a sense of what genre Cath loves and while she reminded us of her favourite scenes, we also fell in love with the story. But more importantly, we fell in love with her story of Simon. Reading Rainbow writing about Cath writing about Simon was genius. It added a lot of depth and power to the plot,.

What I enjoyed the most was that through the use of great literature and writing, Cath grew closer to people and she slowly came out of her little bubble. It was an absolute delight to watch in front of my eyes and I loved how she matured over the first year at University. As well as being at school, Cath dealt with other issues; her twin sister, her Dad and her Mum. I couldn’t relate to the drama she had with her Mum but it was emotional to read about.

When Rainbow writes about Cath and Levi in the later chapters, it’s as if nobody else is around. I didn’t care for any other characters or whether my cup of tea was still hot or not, I just wanted to be in the moment with them. Readers aren’t made to feel like a third wheel, they’re made to feel as if they’re part of Cath and they’re falling madly in love with Levi. He’s hot. He really is.

Rainbow’s writing style is comfortable. I don’t mean that in a boring way! I felt at home with her writing and this is the first book of hers which I’ve read. With the use of adjectives, vivid descriptions and incredible dialogue, Rainbow proves that by being yourself, true love will come and knock on your door, or sit out in the hallway..

I have to mention the ending and don’t worry, no spoilers! For me, it was short and it was the only issue I had. It didn’t really tie up any loose ends. I closed the book and said “is that it?” I just hope and pray that Rainbow has secretly been writing a second book for the second year of University so we can know what happens.

Other than that, I loved it and I can’t wait to meet Rainbow when she visits the UK in July.
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on 1 November 2017
Okay so, I'll start by saying that I really liked this book. I'm not a contemporary reader, mostly because I don't get the same goose-bumpy feeling that I love when I read Fantasy fiction. Rather than thrilling goose-bumps, I ended up with a warm fuzzy tummy and happy feelings inside my brain area.

Cather has social anxiety. Clearly a development of her childhood experiences. Refreshingly however, it isn't seen as an issue by anyone except Cather. Her friends don't force her to Parties, they don't put her in situations she doesn't ask for herself. She isn't seen as something to be fixed and was instead respected, especially by Levi. I read too many books where the girl becomes some heartthrob because she realises she's pretty after all. Cath is respected and loved for who she is, and not who she could be which I think is a great message to send out to Introverts and people who suffer from social anxiety. There's nothing broken, so there's no need to be fixed.

As far as the plot is concerned, I enjoyed all of the separate avenues and how they were explored individually and separately. Levi & Cath's relationship was just one of many subjects that this book explores, so it was nice to see that while a key plot point it wasn't the story's be all and end all.

Also, I LOVED Rowell's depiction of Fan-fiction. She doesn't depict Cather's passion as a lesser form of fiction. She doesn't alter the writing style to make it seem more amateurish. She doesn't structure it any differently to the rest of the book. There's no literary difference between Cather's Carry On, and the narration of Fan Girl. While Cather's teacher clearly doesn't approve of her using her work in her classes, it is clearly a character choice that Rowell has made rather than it being a possible reflection of her own attitude towards fan fiction. It was a respectful and all around wonderful depiction of fandom interaction. I greatly appreciated it.

Writing wise, I loved the writing segments from the Simon Snow books and Cather's fiction that where dotted throughout the book. I also liked the final section, where [we read a section of Cather's final paper. Rowell managed to state how well her piece did without writing more than three words - as she indicated that Cather won the prize that Nick had been hoping to gain with their jointly written story.

My only issue with the book, and it's not a big thing; is that there wasn't that big an indication of how Cather was feeling towards Levi. It was clear that Cath enjoyed Levi's company and that they got on, but I didn't really pick up that she had feelings for him until it was explicitly talked about. While none of their actions felt forced, it would have been nice to have some form of physical indication that that was where Cather's emotions where at. It would have made their progression into a relationship that little bit more believable I think.

Overall it's a wonderful book, and I'll definitely be reading more Contemporary Fiction in the future!
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on 15 June 2014
It is going to be very hard for me to not to fangirl ;-) all through this review because I absolutely loved it. I have it on my Kindle but believe me, I will be buying a physical copy so I can re-read it in all its tactile glory.

Fangirl tells the story of Cath as she starts university and all the troubles that that entails for the incredibly shy introvert that Cath is. Making this big scary step even scarier is the fact that her twin sister Wren wants to go her own way in university – to not room with Cath and develop her own circle of friends separate from Cath. Cath’s only escape from the real world is her love of Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) and the fanfiction she writes about his world. On top of this, she has to deal with a gruff never there roommate and her always there boyfriend, a cute classmate who is only interested in her for one thing but it’s not what you think and a writing professor who wants her to expand her writing outside of fanfiction. Plus, a dad who is not coping so well now he’s on his own and absent mother who wants back in her life. Phew!

I loved Cath from the get-go, she is a girl after my own fangirl heart, we may obsess over different things – I don’t write or read fanfiction but I understand why people do – but both our obsessions make the real world a bit more bearable. She is so realistically drawn (as are all the characters) that as a fellow introvert, it is easy to connect with her. I adored Levi (the roommate’s always there boyfriend) and I want one for myself, he is just simply, well, adorable. It took a little while for me to warm up to Cath’s twin Wren and her roommate Reagan, but once I did, I loved them too.

I really liked how important relationships were in this book - parent/child, siblings, friends and lovers. Her relationship with her dad is so cute; I wish the relationship with my dad was like that. As much as Cath could happily shut herself off from the real world and only having contact with her dad and sister, she learns that she needs other people – real life people.

The character growth for Cath was realistic – she didn’t suddenly become an extrovert but she did slowly come out of her shell, although not all the way, which again is realistic. Speaking of slow developing, the romance was also on slow boil and was super sweet.

I also really liked that every chapter ended with either an excerpt from a Simon Snow novel or from Cath’s own fanfiction. It was like a story within a story, a story that I wish was real because I really like Baz – Simon Snow’s nemesis, roommate and maybe lover.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporaries, coming of age stories, romances and books with socially awkward characters. If you read and loved Eleanor and Park by Rowell, you will love this too.

Thank you Rainbow Rowell, for your wonderful books and your real and relatable characters.
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on 21 August 2017
What started as a light-hearted story about a young woman's first days at Uni quickly evolved as a thoughtful tale about mental health. Do not be fooled by the cutesy cover. While it is upbeat and quirky, it moves into darker corners of everyday life.

Cath lives and breathes fandom. She and her twin sister Wren devoured a children's fantasy series called Simon Snow. They wrote wreathes of fanfiction, hung out in forums and went to late night book releases. Their obsession grew at the same time their mother had left them. In that sense it was not so much a craze but a way to cope. For Cath, it was not only the option to live in someone else's world, but to have their words become yours. In writing fanfiction, she ensured that the story that comforted her during the painful separation, never ends. This is a notion that really hit home. Cath takes comfort-zone to a whole new level. 

As the sisters head off to college, Wren is keen to become independent and live apart. So Cath is faced with a terrifying new life, away from a once inseparable twin and a father who also never fully recovered from the family trauma. We soon realize that this is more than your usual freshmen jitters. Cath has trouble engaging with new environments and people, preferring to almost starve than ask where the food hall is. A big bulk of the novel focuses on how she navigates through this, with the help of some zesty characters and a cute farm boy. This is when the plot slows a little, but the author easily maintains a constant liveliness to the story.

Cath is a very sweet character and I imagine she speaks to many types of 'fangirls'. We all understand how special certain books are, their characters, worlds and most importantly their words. We root for Cath to grow in confidence and independence, not so she can cast away her past but so she can finally create her own stories. 

xxx
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on 26 August 2017
This is a truly heartwarming coming of age story. The main character, Cath, may not always be likeable and can be frustrating but she is a very real character and I was rooting for her to overcome her issues and allow herself to enjoy all good things in her life like fan fiction, boyfriends, college and family. Cath has to come to terms with the fact that her world is expanding while being a very anxious person. She also has to overcome her own prejudice’s and be more accepting of other people. Her fan fiction has been her world, her comfort and it’s hard for her to let anything else in, she doesn’t want to, but like all teenagers, she is forced to expand her world and try new things or become lost.

Rainbow Rowell creates really interesting characters with wonderful dialogue and descriptions. I really enjoyed the book. The reason for not giving it five stars is because sometimes I felt it lulled a bit in places which made it seem a bit longer than it needed to be.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, I’d recommend it to anyone.
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on 6 January 2017
Fangirl is a coming of age story about 2 twins - Cath and Wren - who are just about to go off to college. Up until this point in their lives they have done everything together and were rarely apart, kind of like each other's shadows. To Caths dismay Wren decides that she would like them to live more separate lives at university, and that includes not being each others roommates. Cath suffers social anxiety and is more interested in writing fanfiction - Simon Snow, loosely based on Harry Potter - rather than going to parties and initially struggles adjusting to her new life. This is how Reagan and Levi enter Caths world - but to say much more would be to spoil things, so I'll shut up now.

I found this book ok. However I think that's because of my stage of life. If I'd read this book when I was a teenager I would have loved it and i'd definitely recommend it to younger adults.
I wish the boys I'd met at college were like Levi. That's another gripe of mine, some books aimed at ya make particular guys out to be the perfect knight in shining armour gentleman figure, and literally the dream guy of young girls fantasies. If most girls (99.5% of them) were hoping to meet a guy like Levi (especially with his patience at 21), they'd be in for a long wait, and books such as these really will dash many girls high expectations when they find out for themselves that this isn't reality for most people.

I do think my 3 star rating is probably a bit harsh and simply because I'm not in my teens so find it harder to relate to now. However i can remember being at university in my first few months and feeling similar to Cath. It did take a while to adjust and start really enjoying college life and becoming more involved. I think there are a few good life lessons for younger readers to take away from this book, it's just I've already learnt them.
I'll not let this discourage me from trying another of Rainbow Rowells books, but next time I'll read one of her books that are aimed at adults because I did enjoy her writing style.
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on 17 September 2015
OMG!! This book is the feels of FEELS! I loved it and couldn't put it down! Rainbow Rowell is now one of my favourite authors.

Sypnosis:

Fangirl is about identical twins Cath and Wren, these two do everything together even so as going to the same University.

Wren is the more outgoing of the two who just wants to party, make friends and enjoy everything university has to offer. Cath on the other hand is a shy, geeky fan fiction writer that wants to appear invisible to everyone and just get her head down.

Cath has an obsession with a book series called Simon snow and launched her own fan fiction page that carry the story on in different scenes and she is quite a success at it, but it's literally all she can think about

As the girls have two very different ideas of University they decide not to live together so Cath has to share with Reagan, she has a boyfriend that is always there, encouraging Cath to go out bowling and parties.

Then there is the boy in her fiction writing class that wants to be writing buddies.

Cath soon finds love, but with whom?

" I don’t just kiss people. Kisses aren’t... just with me."

My thoughts:

Fangirl is written in a 3rd person POV and started off pretty slow for my liking and I couldn't see what all the hype was about! At 100 pages in things started to get interesting and the pace was set.

The characters in this book are so relatable and realistic, with Cath and her social anxiety, daily worries and awkwardness, her fathers mental health and Wren going off the rails.

Levi is just the most amazing character I have come across always happy and just there! when you need him. He's a listener and patient and OMG!! I think I have a fictional crush!

I HATED!! the Simon Snow fan fiction parts I thought it was just a rip off of Harry potter and was not interested in this part at all that I started to skip all these parts and unfortunately there was so much of it

Rainbow Rowell is a contemporary romance genius! I was even thinking about the book at work, trying to think what was going to happen and what I had already read, that's how hooked I was on this book.

I never wanted it to end it just made me all warm and fuzzy inside, this would have been a five star book if it wasn't for the Simon Snow parts

I have read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and I loved it, but I definitely will not be picking up carry on as it's all about Simon bloody Snow-sorry!

I recommend this to anyone that enjoys contemporary and romance novels.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars
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on 7 September 2017
I had heard so much about this book, mostly positive, and I felt like reading some contemporary fiction, so decided to give this one a go. I have to say, I enjoyed it so much more than I expected. It’s YA, and it reads as such, but that is what I expected. Of course there were times I rolled my eyes and shouted, ‘Oh, come on!” at the book, but the characters were well developed and likeable. Whether guys like Levi actually exist, especially in that age group, is up for debate, but that’s neither here nor there.

I did wonder whether Rowell wrote the Carry On story to flex her Harry Potter muscle, to give her own inner Fangirl an excuse to write some magic school story. I kind of liked that. I have never been much really into fan fiction, but I can see the appeal and it was kind of nice to see such a big phenomenon woven into a story about modern young people. I thought it was cute. And that’s what this whole book is. Cute. And sometimes that’s what you need to warm the heart.

Sure, I felt too old for the story, but that’s kind of cool, as it turns into a sort of guilty pleasure and who does not need a guilty pleasure every now and then? I am sure that, had I been eighteen years old, I would have absolutely loved this book. As it is, though I enjoyed it a lot, I won’t go out of my way to read another book by the author any time soon.
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on 18 October 2017
You can read many books in a lifetime, and so far I already have. But there are only a tiny number, few and far between, that have the ability to suck you in totally - to move you to a new world so that time passes you by without your noticing, and you forget who and where you are. Fangirl is one of those books.

Like Cath is transported to the world of Mage's, I felt myself by Cath's side the entire time. And I have never been prouder of a character than when I saw the final section of this book. I am so in love with Cath and Wren and Levi and everyone in this real-but-not-real world; I even like to think that Cath and I could be friends.

This story isn't about culminating to a heroic, climactic battle - it's about beautiful, deep, true characters who you come to know and respect and love. It's about making decisions you don't always agree with, or believing things that make you want to reach in and shake them. This book is about people. Real-but-not-real people.

And I couldn't love it more.
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on 5 November 2014
There are some books that come into your life and sweep you off your feet. You know they haven't been written just for you, but it feels like they have. Fangirl is one of those books for me. I love it like asdfghjkl...or heart eye emoji...or squeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Here's why.

Fangirl is essentially a coming of age story, beginning as twins Cath and Wren leave for University. Whereas they were once inseparable, the girls are forging their own identities, Wren more easily than Cath. Cath seeks solace by writing fan fiction- pages and pages of stories about Simon Snow (he's a bit of a Harry Potter type character). Online she has an army of followers waiting for fan fiction updates, but in reality Cath is awkward- unsure about her room mate, adrift from her sister, worried about her Dad...and that is without the added issue of her Mum suddenly wanting to make contact after leaving on September 11th. Yes, the September 11th.

Admittedly, one of the reasons I love Fangirl so much is the subject matter. I'm one of those weirdo geeks that writes fan fiction about their favourite band and posts it online, and I read all kinds of strange shit that other people post (like the one where Josh, the drummer and Dan, the guitarist are gay and they adopt baby One Direction. That was just plain weird). So although fan fiction and general all round obsession with a programme/band/book series might be difficult for some readers to relate to, I was super duper excited to find there was a book out there about 'us'. The writers no one notices unless you're one of the big hitters who gets snapped up by a publisher, becomes a cult smash and gets their story made into a film (EL James, I hate you).

Like Rainbow Rowell's other novels, it is hugely character driven. Cath is instantly likable. She's quiet and withdrawn. She seems inexperienced, both in relationships and life in general. She's full of anxiety, too nervous to venture to the dinner hall for fear of making some kind of social faux pas. She prefers the world in her head to the real world. All this made her so easy to warm to- I wanted to be her friend, write with her and watch Simon Snow films, hiding away from the big, bad world.

I also fell completely in love with Levi, the guy Cath meets through her roommate Reagan. He's a bit of a strange one in that he blows hot and cold, but he strongly believes in the importance of family and that is exceptionally attractive. He's caring, which he shows via meaningful gestures not just hollow words. And he's clever. Maybe not in a conventional way, but he is. And he's hard working, and he has a scent all of his own, and, and, and.... He's not flawless by any stretch, but he's magnetic. New book boyfriend alert....

I wasn't prepared to devote so many emotional feels (good fangirl word there!) into Cath, or Levi, or Wren, and certainly not her mentally ill Dad, and that was a mistake. Because by the end I was a blubbering mess, physically wrung out. Rainbow Rowell taps into the pain that is all around us-insecurity, anxiety, peer pressure, depression- and squeezes every little bit of emotion out of her readers, which is why she is so hugely popular. People can relate to her characters, and want to believe they'll get a happy ending, or at least some kind of resolution or inner peace.

As Wren says to Cath-

“Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”
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