In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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? Open her heart to someone? Or will she just go on living inside somebody else's fiction?
©2013 Rainbow Rowell (P)2013 St. Martin's Griffin
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"A wonderful Love Story, addictively undramatic!"
Since I liked Elenor & Park a lot, I went straight to the next Rainbow Rowell book. The recently released Fangirl. What a wonderful love story. Rainbow Rowell wields an effortless power over words and characters. I became a Fangirl-fan after only a few minutes, the story has a great flow and is extremely addictive without being overly dramatic. No villains, no death, no great deception, not a lot of crying and all the same. I grew so attached to Cather and all her friends. I would have loved for the story to never end.
The Narration by Rebecca Lowman is perfect. Her voices are distinctive without being overacted. Five Stars. Maxwell Caufield is a bit over the top for my taste, but since he is only reading the Simon Snow Excerpts at the beginning of the chapters, it was sort of funny.
"Freshman Comes into Her Own"
After devouring Eleanor and Park, sought out another Rainbow Rowell novel. Did my best to let go of the previous characters and give this one a new focus and attention.
Cathe's twin is moving in a different direction as they enroll in college. Alone, nervous, a little odd, she spends most of her time writing fan fiction in a Harry Potteresque world; Simon Snow and Bas. She has a huge fan base yet can't seem to devote the same amount of attention into her fiction assignments.
Some of the characters are predictable and some surprise you. Took me a little while to adjust to the Simon Snow pieces (as narrated by 80's hottie, Maxwell Caufield), but found the ending of both storylines tied up nicely. Rebecca Lowman is superb as Cathe, who is awkwardly searching for a foothold in friendship, possibly love, and her future in writing. Worthy novel for an entertaining read.
"Odd premise, excellent audiobook"
I will listen to every book Rainbow Rowell writes, but it will be a while before I re-listen. When I want to time travel to revisit my own early college anxieties / small victories, I will re-listen to this book. For now, I'm jealous of people who haven't listened to Fangirl yet -- it was a delight.
Rainbow Rowell won my heart with "Eleanor and Park." "Fangirl" is less fraught and stressful, but drawn just as well. In both, Rowell conjures the awkwardness and excitement of teen emotions with disturbing accuracy. The "Simon Snow" fan-fic plot was a lot more endearing than I expected it to be. I loved the overt and subtle allusions to Harry Potter and Twilight. This element reminded me of "Ready Player One" because it was both funny and nostalgic.
Rebecca Lowman was an excellent narrator for the main story. I enjoyed the interludes of Maxwell Caulfield reading excerpts from the Simon Snow stories. The combination was such a smart idea.
It's a strange situation when you read and review books that were other people's choices. This is true particularly when you're an older male and your reading partners are much younger females. I've listened to, and learned more about romance audios than I ever desired to know. The first Rainbow Rowell to become a part of my library was Attachments; a humorous look at a mama's boy and a couple of twenty-something females and not too much of the angst and ennui that are a large portion of Rainbow Rowell's novels. Eleanor and Park never moved past angst and ennui Fangirl does and it only takes nine hours; yippee, what fun.
There are certain components of this audiobook that are very well done and Rebecca Lowman did a good job as the narrator. The aspect of twins and the behavior exhibited by the newly freed college students away from home for the first time were both unique and well done. The story of the twins father and the balancing act between being functionally manic and way too manic that is the reality for anyone afflicted with bipolar disorder was another positive point. I struggled at times getting through the slower portions of this audiobook and after the first couple of chapters the Simon Snow sections were merely a cue for me to fast forward through the end of chapters. The fact that I don't read or listen to Fantasy, nor am I any sort of follower of fan fiction which I'm certain didn't help my appreciation of this selection.
The girls appreciated this one more than I did and I'm betting that won't vary a lot.
I put off listening to this for so long because I didn't think it could live up to the hype. I was wrong. Cath was the perfect, flawed character who was so real and Levi was better than words. The side story had me just as engrossed as the regular story. As a huge HP fan, I can totally get on the Simon Snow train. The narration from both narrators made the story. Loved it all.
"Couldn't stop listening then it was O V E R."
I am going to start with this I WAS SO DISAPPOINTED BY THE END.
Alas, you really have to love the rest of the book to be disappointed by an end AND YES I loved this book. I mean, most of the time I loved it. Kinda like you love your family most of the time and sometimes you just really don't. You don't love them and you can't listen to one more minute of their whiny useless drivel. There were plenty of times I wanted to pull Caths ponytail right out of her head.
This book is so well written. It's smart, funny, sad, moving, and snarky! I literally could not stop listening.
I have lots of criticisms.... and really that just means it has substance and curves and nooks and little places to get lost and found. I mean the book enthralled me, made me feel something, made me invest and wish for other things. Really everything a novel should do.
So I highly recommend you listen or read or whatever, just do it, add Fangirl to your list, and then come and complain about it with me.
OH and the narrators are great.
"Protagonist is a bit of a letdown"
While I enjoyed some of the wordplay, as well as the all-too-rare college setting (why are so many YA novels set in high school? well, I guess that makes sense, but nevertheless), the protagonist is just completely spineless. I actually listened to this while running, and it actually made me run faster because I was just so angry at Cather-- she actively avoids anything new, and resents her sister for meeting new people and having fun in college. Granted, this might have been me projecting at my own memories of being an overly introverted person back in college, but that doesn't change the fact that Cather just cannot stand alone as a protagonist.
There are a number of redeeming factors, however; her roommate, Reagan, is probably the only reason I continued reading the book, and her sister is just fun to read in general. However, the love interest is a bit of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl archetype who cannot stand as a character without Cather, and is wholly uninteresting with manufactured hamartiae.
Finally, the book ended right as the story really got rolling, with the first half of the story consisting of mainly Cather whining. In fact, it was so abrupt that it almost didn't make sense-- and right as Cather was starting to grow on me, too.
Overall, I cannot wholly recommend this book. It is cute. I will grant you that. But if protagonists who rival Hamlet in their wishy-washiness bother you, this book is not for you. It's really too bad.
I have heard good things about Eleanor and Park-- might try that one. But this one was meh.
I haven't listened to Lowman or Caulfield before, but they did a really great job considering the circumstances. Lowman reads an especially snarky Reagan.
Fangirl's ending was quite abrupt, but it was creative in its used of somewhat mixed media (i.e. excerpts of the fanfic Cather reads all the time). That might be nice to see.
"Fangirl is fantastic."
This is a fantastic, entertaining, make you laugh and cry, make time fly by fast, very credit worthy audiobook. Rebecca Lowman gives a brilliant performance. She makes the characters and the story come alive in such a way that after a while you stop noticing the narrator. The story just happens inside your head. I like the world of Fangirl very much. It's a small world, but a place I enjoyed spending time in and populated by characters I cared about very much. I especially enjoyed Levi, he's not a conventionally handsome or perfect guy who never puts a foot wrong, but there was just something about him that made me root for him and made me smile inside and out, even when he screwed up. We should all have a Levi in our lives at some point.
"Not my favorite by Rainbow, but... "
... very listenable. I related a lot to Cath's "freshman blues" and her family dynamic, so she was an enjoyable character for me to read. I just didn't get the same kind of electricity as I did from Eleanor & Park or, oddly enough, Carry On. Perhaps because, in this instance, Rowell's phenomenally written characters were participating in a simpler, less exciting storyline? Also, I would've loved to have heard this book done in the dual perspective style of her others, as I feel that has really added depth to her characters' relationships in her other works.
Even as an older adult, I love this and all of Rainbow Rowell's books. This story is wonderful and has perfect narration.
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