Book Review: Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.9/5 stars.

Full review to come.

Edited 10/21/2015

Alright. I had a really hard time figuring out what to rate this book, because I was so conflicted on how I felt about it. I mean, I liked the story and the side characters, but Cath. Cath.

Um, anyway, I guess I’ll start off with what I actually liked about it.

So, when Levi was first mentioned, I pictured this guy.

(That’s Levi from Attack on Titan, by the way.)

I once found a line in a fanfic that described him perfectly: “He was a bitter little man who made poop jokes.” Added to that is the sheer amount of awesome that comes with him. So, when this Levi acted really nice and sweet, it really threw me off, simply because I could not picture it. Every time Levi was mentioned in the book, I did not see him as a really nice guy who could pull Cath out of her shell. I saw him as someone who could snap any second and, I don’t know, kick the person nearest to him, like, eighteen times in the face.

So basically, book!Levi’s complete opposite.

Now, that being said, I liked Levi. I liked how he could pull Cath out of her shell, how he was always there for her, how he challenged her in ways no one else really had before. He was honestly pretty great, and one of the highlights of the book.

And Reagan. Ooh, I liked her! She was pretty darn cool. Could have used a little more characterization, but I liked her friendship with Cath and the way that they made their pact.

The plot was also good. I enjoyed seeing Cath’s struggle to make sense of her relationship with her mother (or rather, lack of relationship), her trying to be more social, and her involvement in fandom (even if this wasn’t really all that accurate, but I’ll get to that later). The pacing was also pretty good, even though I found myself kinda bored in some spots. I didn’t like it at first, but the book grew on me and by the end, I liked it more than I hated it.

Speaking of hating things, it’s time for the bad stuff.

My main issue with this book was Cath. She honestly made me so freakin’ angry in the beginning, what with her weird fear of the cafeteria, her awful eating habits, and just her character in general. This was basically me throughout the, like, first half of the book:


And then she got more of a spine than some other literary heroines coughKelsey Hayescough, and I started to like her. And then I started disliking her again. Yeah, it was kind of a roller coaster ride of feelings there…

But yeah, I did not like Cath (again) by the end.

And Wren! Did not like her one bit, all through the book. In fact, my reaction to her after her…drinking overdose was something like this:

Me: *incoherent mental screaming*

Me: *also incoherent grumbling and gesturing*

Yeah. She was just a no person for me. Same with their mother, actually.

Those were my issues with the characters. Now for my other major issue with this book: This was not an accurate depiction of fandom.

Where were all the inside jokes? The cons? The everyday references? The other fans, the actual fangirling? You know, when I picked up this book, I expected a lot more squealing and laughing about random fandom jokes and crackfics.

And yet, the Simon Snow fandom was not really mentioned, other than a couple of times at the beginning and randomly throughout the book.

This was, quite frankly, incredibly disappointing to me. The author could have done so much with fandom- she could have gone deep into the world of fans- but she didn’t. She barely scratched the surface. I think that’s what I found so disappointing about this book, even more than Cath and Wren.

Anyway, that’s why this book got 1.1 stars less than the five it could have gotten. Still, the entertainment value was pretty good.

Though WTF was up with that random Harry Potter reference in the middle of the book? I thought in this world, it was all about Simon Snow…

Edited 10/22/2015

So I was talking to my friend about this book, and she came up with a great analogy. She said that the fangirls in this book were more like One Direction fangirls (and by that, we mean said fangirls without any other fandoms), instead of being more like anime fangirls. Honestly, I agree completely.

Edited 11/10/2015

After reflecting on this book a little more, I have decided to change my rating. 2.9 stars.

View all my reviews

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