Release Date: 30/01/2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
(Add to your Goodreads shelf)
I don't like to compare books. I cut out the parts of book descriptions that mention other books because it's annoying. However, I'm going to say it. I Loved This Book More Than Anna And The French Kiss. And more than The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight. I compare this book to them based only on my feelings at the end of the book, which mostly involved a lot of curling into a ball and crying about my feels. This happened.
I wasn't sure about Fangirl when I first saw it on every book blog. I've been let down by hype before. Hype is a cruel mistress, waiting to strike you down with a terrible novel at any moment. Weighing in at 459 pages it's quite a long book for a contemporary romance, however there were lots of things to cover and the pacing never slowed down or went too fast. The sections about Simon Snow were so well written, I knew when Simon's author, Gemma T. Leslie had written them and when Cather had written them without having to check the names. I loved Simon's story just as much as Cather's. Despite it's obvious connection to Harry Potter, Rainbow Rowell added lots of new things instead of just straight copy pasting so while it felt like Harry Potter I was still reading something new. Like finding bunnies. I actually pictured Simon and Baz as James Potter and Severus Snape, when they were Harry's age. Baz undeniably looks like Snape on the cover. And now I want a Harry Potter with two gay dads. There's a fanfic for that right?
Having social anxiety myself, plus living on Tumblr where The Fandoms lurk, I understood Cather so completely I almost felt like her twin sister. Wren, Cather's actual twin sister was harder to understand as we don't often see her throughout the book and we only get to know her properly through the last few chapters. Levi and Nick are also two very different people. I never really liked Nick, not from the moment I met him and later wrote a note that said something 'Why you do that you *expletives*'. Levi on the other hand, I loved him by page 70 and at that point I knew I would love the book too. He does do one kinda shitty thing but makes up for it later and I forgive him. Just.
The story covers many more issues that just first love. It has the loss of a parent, mental health and simply finding yourself. I've never been but I hear US colleges are a pretty overwhelming place to find yourself in. Cather gets swamped pretty quickly and does exactly what I'd do - avoid everything and lurk on the internet. As she deals with her issues, falls in love and comes to terms with her Mom leaving, you see it in her fanfic as little details start to seep in. It was really clever.
I hated the ending, purely for the fact that it ended. And it was a little sudden. I flipped the page for the next part and hit a blank space which shocked me enough to stare at it for the next minute before realising what had just happened and curling up into a ball of feels. Basically.