Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 434 (Hardcover)Average Goodreads Rating: 4.20/5
My Rating: 4/5
Cath and Wren are identical twins. They do everything together, that is, until they went to college. Wren decides she wants to become independent - meet boys, go to parties, get drunk - all activities Cath doesn't enjoy. Cath is shy, has social anxiety, and writes fan fiction. Without Wren, she's lost. Completely out of her comfort zone, she doesn't know if she'll be able to survive college on her own.
This was such a fun and relatable book! I love Rowell's characterization and how she describes people. Instead of saying something like "he was tall and lanky" she writes something unusual and abstract but still makes complete sense. As strange as this sounds, when I like a book I physically feel something in my chest (what, I don't know), and this book did the trick.
The main reason I enjoyed this book so much was because of the relatability. Cath suffers with social anxiety, something I experience as well. There were many moments in the book where I was Cath. She said things I've said and did things I've done in order to get out of social situations. While her reluctance to do anything social was a bit more extreme compared to me (she did everything she possibly could to make herself exempt from social situations whereas I at least try occasionally to be social), the relatability was immense.
Now while I did enjoy this book a lot, I had quite a few quams with it:
1. The characters. I felt all the characters, minus Cath, lacked dimension and, well, character. All of the characters (Levi, Nick, Laura, Reagan, etc.) did have their own unique personalities, however, they could have been fleshed out more. A few of the characters, especially Nick and Laura, seemed to be there only to add a little bit of conflict. They didn't really further the plot or help instigate character development. Also, Levi. He's the "perfect" guy. What could be wrong with him? That's precisely the problem. No person in real life is that perfect. People are flawed, broken, or at least have problems of some sort not revolving around the love of their life. Levi's perfectness didn't do it for me. I would have preferred a more rounded, flawed, character.
2. The length. The book was too long. I mean, a 400 page contemporary? Some of the plot lines felt stretched and could have been scratched out completely.
3. The fan fiction. While an avid reader and lover of fan fiction, the Simon Snow excerpts and fan fiction just didn't cut it for me. When I read a fan fiction, I have already created a strong connection with the characters and want to know more about them. Not having read the fictional Simon Snow series, I couldn't do that. I didn't feel anything for the characters so the excerpts and fics bored me to the point where I didn't even read them after a while.
4. The ending. It wasn't satisfying to me. It felt too abrupt and cheesy. It left quite a few loose ends, for example, what happens with Laura and with Carry On?
Despite the many problems I had with it, I really enjoyed this book. It was fun, quirky, and a good read overall. I don't think everyone would enjoy it but I definitely recommend at least trying Fangirl out before giving judgement.