Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Well I knew it was going to take a spectacularly unforgettable book to bring me out of my reviewing stupor and I am here to say that Fangirl is it. It seems to me that Rainbow Rowell is trying to outdo herself with each subsequent book. Attachments had great promise but lost me around the three-quarters mark, Eleanor & Park was pretty dang spectacular but this book...this book just caught me. Caught me up in its characters and its life now all I want to do is tell every single person I know about it.

Cath Avery is not your typical college freshmen. True, she's got all her books ready and is all set up in a perfectly good dorm room (complete with one sarcastic roommate) but Cath is not pleased at being separated from her twin sister Wren. Her much more outgoing, prettier twin sister (in Cath's mind) Wren. But that's okay. She's got special permission to take an upper-level fiction writing course, boxes of protein bars to sustain her, and her Simon Snow fanfiction to occupy her time. So what if the majority of her friends are either online or only live in books? She can handle this split from her sister and her scatterbrained dad. She can. Only what happens when life really starts to come crashing down on Cath? Can she figure it all out without losing herself?

Fangirl is something special. Okay, Cath is something special. I can't remember falling so hard for a character in such a long time. How can I even quantify it? Cath is neurotic in the best way possible. She's a genius that could have just moldered away her entire freshman year if it weren't for her world-wise roommate Reagan whose mission in life (alongside the smiling Levi) it is to drag Cath out into wide world. And it goes without saying that anytime Levi graced the pages you can be sure I sat up just a bit straighter. Take this scene where he (and Reagan) meet Wren for the first time.
"Hey, Cath," he said, already smiling, "are you--?" He looked at the bed and stopped.
"Levi," Cath said, "this is my sister, Wren."
Wren held out her hand.
Levi's eyes were wide as Cath'd ever seen them. He grinned at Wren and took her hand, shaking it. "Wren," he said. "Such fascinating names in your family."
"Our mom didn't know she was having twins," Wren said. "And she didn't feel like coming up with another name."
"Cather, Wren..." Levi looked like he'd just now discovered sliced bread. "Catherine."
Cath rolled her eyes. Wren just smiled. "Clever, right?"
"Cath," Levi said, and tried to sit next to Wren on the bed, even though there wasn't enough room. Wren laughed and scooted toward Cath. Cath scooted, too. Reluctantly. If you give Levi an inch...
"I didn't know you had a mother," he said. "Or a sister. What else are you hiding?"
"Five cousins," Wren said. "And a string of ill-fated hamsters, all named Simon."
Levi opened his smile up completely.
"Oh, put that away," Cath said with distaste. "I don't want you to get charm all over my sister -- what if we can't get it out?"
Reagan walked back through the open door and glanced over at Cath. She noticed Wren and shuddered. "Is this your twin?"
"You knew about the twin?" Levi asked.
"Wren, Reagan," Cath said.
"Hello," Reagan said, frowning.
"Don't take this personally," Cath said to Wren. "They're both like this with everyone."
Doesn't that just leave you with a smile on your face? There were so many unforgettable moments in this book. Laugh out loud moments. Cry your eyes out moments. And times when you just want to go hug your best friend moments. Rainbow Rowell manages to juggle all these different plots and ideas and underlying emotions that it simply blows my mind.

And then there's the Simon Snow stuff. I cannot begin to tell how much I wish those books -- or Cath's Simon and Baz fanfiction -- were real. I have never wanted to read a fake book so flippin' much. Fangirl is the ultimate keeper. Cath and Levi and Reagan and Wren have all settled themselves into my heart and I just never wanted the story to end. But I think Rainbow Rowell gets that.

Because Everyone Loves a Second Opinion:
Angieville review
Book Harbinger review
Cuddlebuggery review
Dear Author review

4 comments:

Angiegirl said...

I love that scene so much!! When she tells him to put his smile away . . . I die. I die of how much I love Cath and Levi, Reagan and Wren, Simon and Baz.

*hugs*

chachic said...

Obviously, I have to read this soon since both you and Angie are raving about it. I really liked Attachments and sorry to hear that it didn't work for you. Good thing E&P (which I also need to read) and Fangirl did. :)

Michelle said...

Angie - I know! I wanted to add the rest (where he asks if she'll tell him when she takes off her clark kent glasses) but I figured it was too long. But oh! I loved this book!

Chachic - I think you'll *really* like this one. It's all kinds of good.

Jill the OWL said...

I need to get this for my daughter. She'd love it.