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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 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 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 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 31 January 2014
Fangirl is a breathtaking, brittle, funny, touching, clever book. Rainbow Rowell has created a protagonist in the spiky, private, anxiety ridden Cath who is almost too painful to read to begin with. I found, reading the first few chapters, that she reminded me so much of my late teenage self that it was quite uncomfortable reading - I wanted to swoop in and mother her, tell her it’ll all be okay in the end.

I keep starting sentences then realising if I do, I’ll spoil the story. But the plots, the subplots - they’re so beautifully woven together that I lost track of time reading this book on the train and almost missed my station. Rainbow Rowell’s descriptions of the physical sensations of falling in love, the minute details of skin and breath on hair are just so real that you half expect to turn around and feel the characters have come to life, that you’re Cath and you’ve been consumed with passion and fear of the unknown.

There’s humour, too - in the beautifully drawn relationship between the twin sisters, in Cath’s roommate Reagan - who is sharp and funny, but so much more than the cardboard cutout you might imagine she could be. Rowell’s characterisation is so beautifully drawn that there isn’t one character who doesn’t feel ready to walk straight off the page. This is a read-again book. I can’t stop recommending it to everyone.
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on 6 March 2017
Had high expectations for this book after reading a lot of good reviews and seeing a lot of hype over it. Very disappointed. The story seemed to have no plot at all and the problems Cath faced didn't seem to get explored, it was like the writer got bored and quickly summarised them and added in another pointless plot. I kept waiting for something interesting to actually happen. I thought the whole story with her mum would get explore more and resolved but the mum was seen once and had to effect on the book whatsoever.
The character Cath was badly written and acted like a 5 year old half the time. Getting annoyed that her twin wanted to have a life at college and meet new people and go parties (which is what 95% of college students do) instead of sitting alone in her room. Cath didnt even try to even make one friend and the ones she reluctantly made friends with she treated like crap, in the real world noone would bother with her. She got mad at her teacher for saying she couldn't hand in a fanfiction for a class and was arguing it wasn't plagiarism (yet she wants to be a english major).
The worst thing about this book by far was the fanfiction and story included featuring Simon and Baz. Badly wrote knock off of Harry Potter. Didnt make sense and you could read the whole book without reading the 'fanfiction' and not miss anything. Totally Pointless.
Even though it is set in college it is wrote for a much younger audience and wouldnt recommend reading unless under the age of 16.
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on 27 August 2017
If you wish to read a light hearted novel about fan girls growing up then look no further.

It is far from perfect but the characters just grow on me. There are many moments of frustration but the couple are there to always relive the moment. Most important of all is that Levi is just too adorable and bright that it actually reaches me through all those words and pages. He is so winsome even out of the book. Not to mention the natural power girl Reagen whom I was very fond of as well.

The Story presented is normal but it gives off a good vibe. It is an enjoyable read and it warms my heart.
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on 23 November 2016
Even though I am 40 something, I really enjoyed this book and could identify with Cath so much! It was like reading how I may be if I was a teen now. It is an easy read but well written.
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