I spent months entering contests for free books on Goodreads without winning a single giveaway, and I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever win when I hit the jackpot. I won a copy of Rainbow Rowell's unreleased "Fangirl" and I was so anxious to receive it. Of course my mailman took that time to have a postal service breakdown, wherein he decided I didn't actually live where I live, and I was seriously afraid that my copy of Fangirl had been returned to sender. But finally, it came.
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
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?
I never doubted that I would love this book, and I am really relieved that it was as awesome as I had hoped it would be. The protagonist in this book is Cath, a fanfiction writer who goes my the screen name Magicath. Cath, with some assistance from her twin sister, Wren, writes fanfiction (and slash) based on books about a magician named Simon Snow. This means that in addition to writing "Fangirl," Rainbow also wrote Simon Snow stories to put into the book! Two books in one! The ARC I received has 404 pages - I don't know if this count is the same in the final copy - but this is a long book, and while I normally would have been annoyed and wished for the book to end, I loved being able to stay immersed in this world for as long as possible. These characters and the story are just - perfect.
Since I'm pretty sure my husband doesn't read this blog (he reads my vegan food blog over at imnotstarving.blogspot.com) I can tell you that I am in love with the male lead in this book. Love love love him. Sad the book is over and we can't hang out together anymore. Sad that this book isn't even out yet so there's no fanfiction waiting for me to read it. Alas. Also, there's this intimate scene between Cath and said crush-worthy boy that has absolutely nothing to do with sex and yet it is so intimate and amazing.
Cath living in her little fanfiction world totally mirrors me and my first semester at college, where I spent hours on IRC chatting. (#cafebleu, undernet, woo!) Internet quote! "There are other people on the Internet. It's awesome. You get all the benefits of 'other people' without the body odor and the eye contact."
Quote on being introverted. "In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't google). Like, where does the line start? What food can you take? Where are you supposed to stand, then where are you supposed to sit? Where do you go when you're done, why is everyone watching you? . . . Bah." A BAH even! Rainbow is in my head.
Cath even believes in my idea to work Murphy's law in my favor. "But she could worry about it, and as long as she was worrying about it, it probably wasn't going to happen. Like some sort of anxiety vaccine. Like watching a pot to make sure it never boiled."
Funny quote! "But you're so helpless sometimes. It's like watching a kitten with it's head trapped in a Kleenex box."
A great quote where I redact a name, just in case. "But ______ wasn't a nerd; he liked real life too much."
"Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision."
Okay, look. Just go read it. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go buy a copy of Eleanor & Park now because I just feel the need to own everything Rainbow writes until the end of time.