I listened to the book Fangirl because my older sister read it over the holidays and told me I would love it and then took it away with her. I had an Audible credit and was agonizing over what to buy when it hit me that I could buy this book by some chick named Rainbow Rowell and I’d get to “read” it. So I did. And it pretty much changed my life.
The book is about Cath and her relationships. Her relationship with her twin sister, Wren, is changing because they’re going to college and Wren wants more independence from her family. Cath doesn’t feel that same need and doesn’t want to be too free. Her relationship with her dad is changing, because he’s home alone for the first time since their mom left, and she worries over him. Her relationship with her fan-fiction community is changing because the demands of college life is somewhat overwhelming. And now she has to deal with her roommate, her boyfriend, her sister’s roommate, her writing partner, and her professors.
Cath writes fan-fic about Simon Snow (a bit like Harry Potter only different) and she’s very serious about it. I wish I had the dedication that she does to her craft. It made me insanely guilty.
Okay, there are so many things I loved about this book, I almost don’t know where to begin. Levi, I’ll start with Levi. Levi is such a beautiful optimist and a treasure. He is Cath’s roommate’s (Reagan) friend, initially thought to be her boyfriend. He has never read a novel all the way through, and Cath actually get angry about it (something I would totally do).
“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”
She decides to help him with a test and reads the entire book The Outsiders aloud to him. It was my second favorite scene in the book.
Reagan is a pretty awesome character herself. She’s completely kick-ass and I-don’t-give-a-crap-what-you-think, but her relationship with Cath becomes one of my favorite in the book. They sit in the cafeteria and make fun of people. Reagan is a good reminder to Cath that there are other things in the world besides fan-fic. Like, take this quote for example:
“I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”
“I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”
“Me, too. I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”
She’s a perfect person to befriend Cath.
And Cath, oh man. I am her, in so many ways. Like she wears her fandom t-shirts every day and is introverted and awkward. She’d prefer to read or write to any other activity. And she cares so much about everyone and doesn’t know how to express it well. My heart bled for her when Wren walked away from, leaving her to room with someone else and basically deal with her freshman year alone. Cath deals with it by isolating herself and writing her fan-fic novel. Which, again, I relate to so well.
“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”
“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.”
“I don’t want to do anything. I don’t even want to start this day because then I’ll just be expected to finish it.”
The most emotional point in the book for me was the end. That seems cliché and expected, but it isn’t for the reason that you might think. Since Simon Snow is the equivalent of Harry Potter, I felt a kinship to Cath merely because her level of Snow fandom is the same as mine to Potter. At the end of the book, the last Simon Snow novel comes out and Cath and Wren get emotionally overwrought and I lost it. I sat in the dark of my room bawling as I listened because all of my Harry Potter feels resurfaced after seven years and I couldn’t help myself.
“Cath ran her fingers along the cover, over the raised gold type.
Then someone else ran right into her, pushing the book into Cath’s chest. Pushing two books into her chest. Cath looked up just as Wren threw an arm around her.
“They’re both crying,” Cath heard Reagan say. “I can’t even watch.”
Cath freed an arm to wrap around her sister. “I can’t believe it’s really over,” she whispered.
Wren held her tight and shook her head. She really was crying, too. “Don’t be so melodramatic, Cath,” Wren laughed hoarsely. “It’s never over… It’s Simon.”
ALL THE FEELS!
Rebecca Lowman is one of my favorite narrators of all time and she did such a good job reading this book. Although, I have to say, some of my favorite parts were the Simon Snow bits before each chapter, which were read by Max Caulfield. It was a phenomenal narration.
My favorite parts of the book were Cath/Levi moments. They get together before you reach halfway in the book, so I don’t really view this as a spoiler, but other people might. Levi is the ultimate extrovert, saying ‘hi’ to people he’s never met and starting conversations out of nothing. I admire his mad skills. Cath is the ultimate introvert and thus limits interaction with human beings to the absolute minimum. How could you not see them coming? And how could you not love them together?
“Cath couldn’t stop thinking about Levi and his ten thousand smiles.”
“I just want to know—are you rooting for me? Are you hoping I pull this off?”
Cath’s eyes settled on his, tentatively, like they’d fly away if he moved.
She nodded her head.
The right side of his mouth pulled up.
“I’m rooting for you,” she whispered. She wasn’t even sure he could hear her from the bed.
Levi’s smile broke free and devoured his whole face.”
“I’d give you the moon right now,” she said.
Levi’s eyes flashed happily, and he hitched up an eyebrow. “Yeah, but would you slay it for me?”
“How do you feel when I smile at you?” he asked – and then he did smile at her, just a little.
Not like myself, Cath thought.
“Like an idiot,” she said softly. “And I never want it to stop.”
“You flirt with everything.” She could tell that her eyes were popping– her eyeballs actually felt cold around the edges. “You flirt with old people and babies and everybody in between.”
“That’s not the point,” he said. “What kind of creep would I be if I let my girl carry something heavy while I walked along, swinging my arms?” Your girl? “The kind that respects my wishes,” she said. “And my strength, and my… arms.” Levi grinned some more. Because he wasn’t taking her seriously. “I have a lot of respect for your arms. I like how they’re attached to the rest of you.”
I am so completely fond of this book, it’s amazing love for it hasn’t consumed me. Read it, then go share it with everyone you know so that they may know the joy of it and spread it far and wide.