{ Review } Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

3.5 stars
“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”
Read in June 2020

I have to be honest; I didn’t expect to enjoy this book all that much and I kind of picked it up reluctantly. You have to understand that so far, the only other book I read written by Rainbow Rowel is Carry On, it was back in 2017 and I rated it with 2,5 stars. While I loved my king Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch, the rest of the book really lacked depth and character development, the world-building was weak and not inventive. What I hadn’t realized back then is that Carry On is a support book for Fangirl, and I probably shouldn’t have taken it at face value. I probably will not give it another shot now that I know though, because overall, I still had major issues with the writing style and with most of the characters. Let’s just say that Rainbow Rowell would have stayed out of my life if it wasn’t for a trick of fate.

So, what decided me to pick this book now, you may ask. Well, my former company received this book by mistake in 2014, and since I was the only bookworm working there it made its way to my hands. Which means this has been on my TBR ever since and because one of my New Year’s resolution for 2020 was to read or delete all the books I added before 2016, it was time to give this a try since I already owned it. Second of all, it was lockdown because of COVID, I had a painting by numbers ready and I really like to listen to audiobooks while doing artistic activities -especially contemporary because it requires less of my brain-, it relaxes and focuses me so all the conditions were met.

“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”

If I had to describe Fangirl using one word, it would be ‘Easy’. I went through the audiobook in less than two days and it ended up being a decent pick for the mood I was in, just an easy and fluffy coming of age novel. In Fangirl, we follow a girl named Cath who would rather live in the fantasy world of her favourite book than to face reality. She and her twin sister, Wren, have always been adamant Simon Snow fans. Going to conventions, dressing up as characters from the books and writing -now successful- fanfictions has always been a huge part of their life. But lately, Wren is growing away from the fandom and slowly emancipating herself from her sister; she just announced Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates at college. When the story starts, our main character is feeling lonely and completely outside of her comfort zone.

I may sound like an oddball, but I’ve never ever read fanfictions. To be honest, I didn’t even know it was something that existed until less than ten years ago when I was in my early twenties. I plan for sure to read one someday but haven’t had the opportunity yet and I feel intimidated by the concept, every time I start looking, I feel overwhelmed by the choices, and close my browser before having read anything. As for the college plot, I have never experienced either as it’s not something we are confronted to in France. Anyways, all this made it difficult for me to connect with the main character’s struggles, having been confronted with none of them. And yet I kind of followed the flow effortlessly and ended up feeling entertained by the story.

“I’m the kind of girl who fantasizes about being trapped in a library overnight.”

Still, many parts could have been better, everything including characters doesn’t seem like Rainbow Rowel forte. The side characters once again lacked depth and development and I can’t speak properly about them and what defined them only a few weeks after my reading. We didn’t get enough background facts on them, sometimes none at all, and it seemed like they were only here to help Cath to grow as a character or to add some drama, but not to actually exist on their own. Concerning Cath, the fact that she suffers from social anxiety was something I can only respect, but she acted like a child most of the time and I feel like the author got mixed up in the portrayal of this specific mental illness. Cath severely lacked maturity sometimes and it really bothered me because it just made it even harder to connect with her.

I have to say that the love interest, Levi, was actually quite good, but maybe I’m just weak like that. I understand that some of you might love this book and really identify with Cath, but unfortunately, it wasn’t the best book for me. I liked it overall but many points bothered me enough to say that I think I might be officially done with Rainbow Rowell, even though I liked this book better than the previous one.

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Have you read or will you read this book? What did you think about it?

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French Book Blogger and avid reader 📚 - YA, Adult, NA, Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance -, LGBT & disability rep 🏳️‍🌈, Ravenclaw Potterhead △⃒⃘, English teacher 👩🏼‍🏫 living to travel 🌍, proud mom of Padfoot 🐕 and Juniper 🐈

8 thoughts on “{ Review } Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  1. I read this book years ago, and at the time I was still really into writing, not just fan fiction, but any kind of fiction and I think that’s why I loved it SO much. It brought out the writer in me. I feel like if I was to re-read this now I wouldn’t like it as much!

    Liked by 1 person

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