Monday, 30 June 2014
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
Related Reviews: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Synopsis: Cath and Wren are twins that have always done everything together. Always had the same interests, the same clothes, the same friends...until now. They are both off to university but Wren doesn't want to be part of a pair anymore, she wants to go out drinking, meet boys, go to parties and not have to worry. Cath, however, feels differently. She would rather stay in her bed writing fanfiction than go out. However, university is a time for new and changing experiences. Cath must decide whether to allow new experiences and people enter her life and discover whether there is more to friendship and romance than she thought before.
Review: I was first introduced to Rainbow Rowell when Eleanor and Park was suddenly everywhere. I was selling many copies at work, the whole blogging world was talking about that book and then, one of my best friends was recommending it and surprised I hadn't read it before her. It was a book I knew I would love before I starting reading the first page. The same goes for FANGIRL. I mean, a book about a geeky girl who starting university amongst people who are far more into the partying side to university than she is? That was pretty much the definition me a year ago. FANGIRL was what I expected and OH SO MUCH BETTER. This review may verge on a geek out and an ongoing ramble at the brilliance of this book so bear with me.
I loved every single word of this book, every single moment, every scene, every character - just my whole experience of reading this book was just pure brilliance. Rowell writes with a depth that allow you to get to know the characters so well. The book is essentially Cath's first year at university, which could have the possibility of becoming boring and long winded. However, the writing becomes so absorbing and engaging that I developed the 'Oh just one more chapter even though it's 3am' syndrome. Suddenly, I was finishing the book and I wanted to go straight back to the beginning and read it all over for the first time again. I became absorbed in Cath's world as well as the world Cath writes fanfiction for with the extracts from her fanfiction scattered throughout the novel, meaning I never wanted this book to end.
The characters assist so excellently to the amazing plot and writing. The cast of this book are all so genuine, realistic and really show the different types of people you find at university. I became quite attached to Cath. She reflects many teenager's inner thoughts and her obsession with Simon Snow and the fanfiction reminding me a lot of the Harry Potter fandom. Reagan, Cath's roommate, was a good addition for her sarcasm and harshness, there really needed to be someone to tell it to the others straight. As many people will agree, Levi was a nice character and so good to see a positive male character in a book. In some ways, I kind of wanted Levi to be real!
I know I keep repeating how relatable this book was, but this is mostly what got me engaged within this novel. Rowell describes Cath's experiences of university without hesitation showing the best and worse parts of moving away from home to study in a great way. It felt a lot like reading an account of my own experiences of the past year from moving to university and getting used to it, the new, exhilarating experiences, the social aspect and the people you meet.
FANGIRL is one of the best novels I have read so far this year. Rowell is a superb writer who keeps improving for me (so looking forward to meeting her at YALC!). She is a writer whose books continue to remind me why I love reading, and one of the best recent voices for young people.
This book is a must for anyone who is starting university in September as a crash course of what to expect. It gets to the heart of what your first year of university consists of - discovering new people and experiences, living independently away from the people you've always been with as well as expressing yourself.
I give it a 5 out of 5