Contemporary New Adult
St. Martin's Press
Available September 10th
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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?
Fangirl is a story that instantly resonates, Cath's passion for a beloved book series and its characters something that makes us feel connected to her from page one, easily becoming members of her online community through our shared love of fiction and the worlds it paints word by word. Seeing our love and the very thing that makes us so happy reflected in someone else, even a fictional character, is like a glorious validation of our feelings, the acknowledgement from Cath that we're not alone in something that people outside a specific fandom – whether it be books, movies, games or comics – might not fully understand causing us to want to stop reading for a moment and just give Fangirl a monstrous hug for telling what feels like our own story.
Cath is a young women perched precariously on the threshold between stasis and change, scared to move forward when her life up until this point has been as she thinks she wants it, wrapped up in family, writing, and her unending love for the Simon Snow book series. What's so comforting and heartwarming about Cath's story is the way change happens for her; the new people and new experiences in her life are in no way indicators that her life before was less-than or in need of new direction, but rather they are the opposite, embracing the woman she is and showing her it's safe to expand her world outward without losing touch with what's she's already so painstakingly built. Change for Cath is a stunningly gradual process, and our faces simply can't help but break out into a giddy grin as she takes baby steps into uncharted territory even as she maintains a death grip on what's familiar to her.
The romance in this story is woven lovingly into the gradual change process, Cath's extreme hesitancy to explore any type of relationship with Levi after being burned initially a refreshing break from the insta-love and insta-lust of so many fictional relationships. Trust is of the utmost importance to her, and she makes both Levi and herself work long and hard at building a foundation that won't crumble at the slightest shake, opening herself up an inch at a time until she's absolutely sure Levi won't take up the slack in her rope and hang her with it. Their banter is adorable and so sweet we can hardly even stand it (in a good way, not an overly-saccharine way), and their romance shares the spotlight spectacularly well with Cath's writing and her various family challenges, ensuring her life feels utterly genuine in its highs and lows.
Those readers looking for an action-packed read or a grand, sweeping romance will not find it in Fangirl, instead we're all treated to four hundred pages of life – sometimes it's a bit slow, sometimes frustrating or painful, but it's also sometimes so magnificently satisfying and intense the warmth of our glow doesn't fade for days. In between the chapters of Cath's life we're also gifted with snippets of both Simon Snow canon as well as excerpts from Cath's Simon Snow fanfiction, as caught up in the Harry Potter-esque world as Cath is. We revel in the seriousness with which she approaches the fandom, pleased her dedication mirrors our own to whatever book series we love most, and we're simply grateful to see that love expressed so beautifully by Ms. Rowell.
This book was given to me at BEA free of charge by the publisher for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.