Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Release date: September 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 433
Goodreads || Book Depository

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 fanfiction, 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 that 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 fanfiction 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


5 stars

This review is based on a reread of the book.

Fangirl is a book that I’ve wanted to reread for a very long time, because I enjoyed it so much the first time I read it. And it was just as good the second time around. This book is so relatable and I think all readers will be able to find something to connect with, whether it’s being part of a fandom, starting college for the first time or having a slightly dysfunctional family.

I really enjoyed the plot of this book and thought it had a really good balance of romance, family and fandom goodness. Both times I’ve read this book, I was completely immersed in Cath’s story and everything that was happening. There’s something that’s just really addictive about this book. Because I saw so many similarities between Cath and myself, I was really rooting for her and wanted to see what was going to happen next. It was definitely a hard book to put down. I read Fangirl in one sitting the first time, and two sittings the second time. I also really liked the pacing of the book. It progressed at the perfect speed for me – nothing felt rushed but the story didn’t drag either.

The book also included extracts of Simon Snow, as well as Cath’s Simon Snow fanfic, Carry On. The first time I read this book, I skimmed over and pretty much skipped all of the Simon Snow extracts because I was just so keen to see what would happen to Cath next. But having now read  and loved Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, I read through all of the extracts and little snippets more carefully this time and really enjoyed them. I still would have preferred if there were fewer of these extracts because they sometimes broke up the main storyline, but I liked that they were included and I liked the role that they played in the book (and Cath and Levi’s relationship).

I enjoyed Cath’s character so, so much in this novel. I saw so much of myself in Cath and it was just impossible not to love and care for her. Her worries and insecurities were so relatable and I definitely felt like I was on her journey of self-discovery with her. I also loved Levi in this book. He’s not really my usual type of book boyfriend but he was so caring and adorable and just all the good things. He complemented Cath really well and I loved him to bits. I also enjoyed Reagan a lot and thought she was the perfect friend for Cath. She was tough but also kind at the same time, which was exactly what Cath needed to come out of her shell. And finally there’s Wren, Cath’s twin sister. I hated her the first time I read this book, and nothing has changed since then. I wrote in my notes “Wren is still a cow”. She came across as very self-centred and annoying, and I hated how she treated Cath for most of the book. She did redeem herself at the end by being the sister she should’ve been but I’m pretty sure that I’ll still hate her the next time I reread this novel.

If you’re looking for a book with characters you can really relate to, I highly recommend Fangirl. It was sweet but serious, and explored so many themes that I love to read about in YA.


33 thoughts on “Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Yay Jenna I’m so glad you enjoyed the re-read of this book! I absolutely loved it, including the Simon Snow extracts when reading it and how adorable Levi was. It definitely sounds like Cath is still as relatable the 2nd time around and Regan plays a key part in her friendship and self discovery. Lovely review Jenna!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ksenia says:

    Fangirl is a book by Rainbow Rowell that I haven’t read yet, though I constantly see it around (especially with the release of Carry On). One of the reasons I put it aside was fandom aspect. I never was in any fandom, so I have feeling that I would be missing something important. What do you think? The other reason I’m hesitant to read this book is Simon Snow. I’m not a big fan of story within story format, I always feel like it breaks the main story. But you 5 Stars look so promising, Jenna. I’m torn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I don’t think you need to be part of a fandom to enjoy Fangirl. It’s got lots and lots of really relatable experiences and moments in it that I’m sure you can connect with. Like being new to college and being too shy to make friends. The Simon Snow stuff in this book is something you can definitely skip. There are just little excerpts that appear between chapters, so you can just skip over them. Which I actually recommend because after rereading Fangirl, I realised that the excerpts have spoilers for Carry On.


  3. Ayunda says:

    Glad you liked this book the second time around! I only read this once a few months ago and I loved it. I’ve never read Rainbow Rowell’s other books though, but I’m planning on changing that soon 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lydia Tewkesbury says:

    I reread Fangirl pretty regularly and it never disappoints me. I agree with everything that you said – Cath is such a relatable person. I love how her romance with Levi is so awkward. So much of the time people in YA come off as so experienced in relationships even when they’re not supposed to be, so I found it so refreshing to read about a girl who found the whole thing to be something of a struggle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I need to reread Fangirl more regularly because it just makes me so happy to read a great book that never gets dull. And I totally agree about the romance. It was really adorable because her worries and her inexperience were really realistic. I also liked that she was in a previous relationship that wasn’t really a relationship, and they both realised that romance wasn’t supposed to be like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackie G. says:

    I try to avoid hyped books for as long as possible, but Fangirl seemed like it would right up my alley, so I couldn’t resist it. It really did live up to expectations, which is awesome. I, however, wasn’t a fan of all of the excerpts. I started out reading them diligently, but as the story progressed, I skipped over them. I too loved how Cath and Levi bonded over Cath’s fan fiction, but…I basically skipped over those pages where she’s reading her story out loud. It took me out of the story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Yeah I totally skipped the excerpts the first time I read Fangirl as well. It really does take you out of the story and I just wanted to know more about Cath and Levi. After properly reading the excerpts this time, I’m glad that I skipped over them the first time because there are spoilers for Carry On.


  6. hiraethforthepages says:

    Fangirl seems to be getting just all the praise and it sounds great! Aha, I haven’t picked up any Rainbow Rowell novels yet but her books sound great, maybe this one will be my first 🙂 Great review! Definitely excited to read it now 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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