Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Contemporary YA
Date Read: 16/10/2015 – 20/10/2015
Rating: ★★☆



I read this book as a former fangirl. I am not invested in fandom to the degree I was even a couple of years ago. And I’m okay with that. But I think it probably did taint my reading experience a bit. As I said in my review of The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl, I don’t read a lot of contemporary YA fiction, but this one is so well-known, I decided to give it a go when I saw it on a display at the library. Unfortunately, for me it fellt a bit flat.

The main character, Cath, and her twin sister Wren, are Simon Snow fangirls. They’re also starting college, and to Cath’s great horror, starting to drift apart a little. Having to deal with life on her own for the first time ever, Cath navigates classes, boys, and a mentally ill father without her sister by her side. But at least Simon Snow fandom is always there for her.

It was cute. I’ll give it that. But my main issue was I never felt like the fandom aspect rang true. I felt like it looked at fandom through the same lens that The Big Bang Theory looks at nerds. That’s a bit harsh, and I certainly didn’t have the same issues about Fangirl as I have about TBBT, but it did feel a bit outside-looking-in.

There was also the issue that Cath only ever seemed to go through fairly superficial character development, and the side characters didn’t seem to have any. Levi, the main love interest, was basically just Amazing and Perfect, Wren was a typical party girl… I guess this is probably all pretty standard for YA, but as someone who doesn’t read a lot of contemporary, it stood out. Add to this the fact that some pretty loose ends were never tied up at the end, and I really couldn’t bring myself to give this more than 2.5 stars.

#WWW Wednesday – October 21, 2015

Happy Back to the Future Day, everyone! Here is a celebratory picture of me: bttfday

This may be the first time my glasses have ever showed up on this blog, despite the fact that I am wearing them more often than not.

Anyway, that’s not actually what we’re here for. We’re here for WWW Wednesday, a bookish meme that is hosted by Sam over at A World of Words and you can join in over there by leaving a link to your own WWW Wednesday on today’s post.

  • What are you currently reading?

I’ve just started The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker. The only chance I had to read today was while I was waiting to pick up my partner from work, and that wasn’t very long. But this promises to be a really good book, I think.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

I finished Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth and gave it four stars. There was less Rapunzel than I hoped for, but it was still an interesting read.

I listened to Silhouette, which is another Doctor Who novel. It was set in Victorian London and featured the Paternostra Gang as well. It was narrated by Dan Starkey, who was able to do a very good Peter Capaldi impression. In fact, most of his male character voices were great, though the female ones were a bit annoying.

And I finally read Fangirl! It’s due back to the library on Friday or Saturday, so I just got there in time. It got 2.5-3 stars from me. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, but there were enough parts that fell flat for me to not rate it higher. I think perhaps if I was still as much of a fangirl as Cath is (and trust me, I was once), I might have enjoyed it more. I also wondered if the Simon Snow “excerpts” were just made up by Rainbow Rowell to pad her NaNoWriMo word count. They weren’t especially relevant, except for maybe giving us a glimpse of the world Cath is so invested in.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

I also have We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson and the first two volumes of Return to Labyrinth from the library, so they’ll be up next. I will get through the graphic novels very quickly.

It’s getting quite late now, so I’m going to head off. See you soon!

~ Emily