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The Not-So-Literary Heiresses

We came from a family of writers. Alas, we can't write. So we blog about our love for books instead.



Dia's Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

I have a confession to make. More than ten years ago, I was a huge reader of Gilmore Girls fanfic (Trory shipper), and when that ended, I moved on to Veronica Mars (LoVe shipper). In my defense, there were no such things as e-books and Kindles yet, soooo... I turned to the most accessible source of an endless supply of fiction at the time, fanfiction.net.

So I guess I kind of understand where Cath is coming from. It's fascinating, really, to think about how fanfic authors, especially the more famous ones, labor over their chapters while fans clamor for updates to be longer, posted faster, have more romance in them. For Cath, Simon Snow's world is the one she can escape to when her own life becomes too much for her.

Spoilers ahead: 


There's a lot happening in Cath's life when we meet her. She's just started college, and she really doesn't want to meet people. Her twin sister Wren, who's going to the same college, has asked that they live separately and try to be independent from each other for a change, and that kind of hurts. She worries about her dad, who has manic mood swings and ends up in the hospital. She's attracted to Nick, a creative writing course classmate, and to Levi, her roommate's ex. Her mom, who left when she was a kid, is asking to come back into their lives. And her creative writing professor doesn't think much of her fanfic, but thinks she has a lot of potential.

This is a lot to take in, even for just a regular college student, but even more so for an introverted, slightly xenophobic girl like Cath. I have to admit that her actions sometimes feel a bit silly to me, like when she subsists on protein bars for weeks because she's too scared to go to the cafeteria by herself. I mean, I get that going to a new school might be a bit unnerving, but to give up normal food just because you don't know who to sit with? I thought that only happened in YA books set in high school. Heh.

But once you get used to the fact that Cath is a bit cray, she does start to grow on you. I started to like her when she began developing relationships with the new people in her life, like her roommate Reagan. I liked their interactions a lot. An amusing Twilight reference in one of their conversations that made me snort:


Reagan was sitting at Cath's desk when Cath woke up.
"Are you awake?"
"Have you been watching me sleep?"
"Yes, Bella. Are you awake?"

The growing romance with Levi hits just the right note too. It takes months to build up, and when they finally, finally reach that point when they're ready to be completely open to each other, we get this:


"I like your glasses," he said. "I like your Simon Snow t-shirts. I like that you don't smile at everyone, because then, when you smile at me... Cather." He kissed her mouth. "Look at me."
She did.
"I choose you over everyone."

(Okay, it puts me off a little bit that her real name is Cather. It just... it makes me think of a catheter. Is that weird? I've never encountered that name before.)

At the end of the day, this story is about how Cath finds her own identity, both as a person separate from her twin sister, and as a writer with her own stories and characters not borrowed from someone else. For a lot of people, that's what college is about, getting a better sense of who you are, of who you're growing up to be. And even if Cath is a bit mystifying for me, I greatly enjoyed the story of how she does it. 

Source: http://www.not-so-literary-heiresses.com/2013/09/review-fangirl-by-rainbow-rowell.html