Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

We had heard loads about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell in recent months so we're really pleased that we finally got a chance to read it! This book has been making waves in young adult readership circles ever since it was released in 2013 and subsequently chosen as the first selection for Tumblr's book club. 

The central character in Fangirl is Cath, an anonymous online fanfiction writer with legions of internet fans. The story begins with Cath and her twin sister, Wren, moving into their college dorms for the first time as they prepare to start their freshman year. Wren sees college as her chance to define herself as an individual, which leaves Cath struggling to face a whole new World of experiences on her own. 

We have to say that we really enjoyed reading Fangirl, (you could say that we're fans! nudge nudge wink wink) it felt fresh and original which can be tough in a genre that tends to rehash out the same types of stories again and again. 

There were a number of things that we particularly loved about this book:

1. The family relationships - we appreciate the fact that Rainbow wasn't afraid to depict a fragmented family with real, deep rooted, complicated issues.  

2. The character of Cath - Reading the first few chapters we wrongly assumed that average looking, socially awkward Cath would have a complete beauty and personality overall before becoming popular and bagging a hot boyfriend. We are so pleased to tell you that this does not happen in Fangirl and Cath stays true to herself throughout the story. 

3. The fragments of fanfiction dotted throughout - Cath writes fanfiction inspired by a famous series of books about a character called Simon Snow. There are plenty of correlations between Simon Snow and Harry Potter and Rainbow has even admitted that it was intended as a homage which makes it an instant win in our eyes! But aside from that, the fan fiction passages within the book make for really entertaining stories on their own. We would happily read all of Cath's Simon Snow fanfic. 

There were a couple of small things that we didn't love, but we can't go into too much detail without giving away spoilers. Suffice to say, one chapter was a little too 'lovey dovey sweetness and nice' for us and we felt that some characters were under-developed BUT with a sequel in the works, we think this will be rectified. 
Our favourite line in this book has to be 'I'm rooting for you'. We're not going to tell you the context, but if you go on to read Fangirl - keep an eye out for it!

Fangirl has a solid 4.2/5 rating on Goodreads and we recommend this book for ages 13 -16. But if, like us, you're a fan of Young Adult fiction long into Middle Adulthood you'll enjoy it too!

If you've read the book, or you plan on doing so make sure and tell us what you think of our review. What do you agree or disagree with? 

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