Reviews for Fangirl
Booklist Reviews 2013 September #2
*Starred Review* Much of the literary fandoms we see are dominated by bookish girls writing and posting online fan fiction, often romantic in nature and frequently featuring gay, nontraditional relationships. But this is Cath's world. Her fandom is the Simon Snow series. Simon is a Harry Potter-like figure who battles vampires and the Humdrum, a creature bent on ridding the world of magic. Devotees by the thousands read Cath's two-year-long opus "Carry On," a piece she's determined to complete before the release of the final installment of the series. However, life has intervened: she's starting college with her twin sister, Wren, who has demanded separate dorm rooms so they could both "meet new people." An awakening unfolds, as Cath battles loneliness, her father's mental illness, a new writing class, and feelings for her dorm mate's friendly part-time boyfriend. This is an epic writ small; the magic here is cast not with wands but with Rowell's incredible ability to build complex, vivid, troubling, and triumphant relationships. The internal lives of the characters are so well developed that it is almost surprising to remember that Rowell is writing in third person. Fans of Eleanor & Park (2013) and other novels about, nerdy types will thrill at finding such a fantastic and lasting depiction of one of their own. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Change-resistant college freshman Cather holes up in her dorm room, writing fantasy fanfiction. But as the year progresses, she is pushed outside her comfort zone by her snarky roommate, Reagan; by Levi, Reagan's ex-boyfriend (and eventually Cath's first love interest); and by her manic but well-meaning father. Rowell transitions seamlessly between Cath's strong interior voice and clever dialogue in this sophisticated coming-of-age novel.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #6
College freshman Cather Avery is resistant to big life changes such as moving away from home and leaving her childhood behind. With identical twin sister Wren eager for more independence, Cath holes up in her dorm room, writing on her own the fanfiction they used to create together about the Harry Potter-esque Simon Snow books: "It felt good…to get lost in the World of Mages and stay lost…This was why Cath wrote fic. For these hours when their world supplanted the real world." But as Cath's first year progresses, she is continually pushed outside her comfort zone: by her snarky roommate, Reagan; by Levi, Reagan's ex-boyfriend with the smiles and floppy hair (and eventually Cath's first love interest); by her fiction-writing professor; by her manic but well-meaning father; and even by her estranged mother. While the fanfiction and first-love story lines are important, this is first and foremost Cath's coming-of-age story. She is a teenager overcoming numerous insecurities and learning to balance family and school responsibilities with her writing and romantic interests in order to discover what truly matters in her life. As she did in Eleanor & Park (rev. 5/13), Rowell creates a refined narrative style that transitions seamlessly between Cath's strong interior voice and clever dialogue to fully develop Cath's complex personality. Between chapters, Rowell incorporates scenes from both the Simon Snow series and Cath[Wed Dec 17 16:30:31 2014] enhancedContent.pl: Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\enhancedContent.pl line 249.
's fanfiction, further connecting readers to Cath's literature-centric world. This sophisticated novel from a talented writer will captivate nerds, romantics, and book lovers alike. cynthia k. ritte Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.
Kirkus Reviews 2013 July #2
With an unflinching voice, Cath navigates the lonely road of her freshman year at college, untethered from her gregarious twin sister's orbit and unsure whether her wild popularity as an author of fan fiction makes her more--or less--of a "real" writer. The novel's brilliance comes from Rowell's reimagining of a coming-of-age story's stock characters (the reclusive writer, the tough-talking friend, the sweet potential boyfriend) as dynamic and temperamental individuals--which adroitly parallels Cath's own fan-fiction writing process. Rowell challenges readers to love characters who are loyal, vulnerable and funny--but also realistically flawed. Cath's gruff exterior protects her easily wounded and quite self-conscious heart, but her anger is sometimes unreasonable. Roommate Reagan is a fiercely loyal friend but an unfaithful girlfriend; Cath's crush, Levi, has a receding hairline rather than the artificial movie-star perfection bestowed upon the brows of so many romantic heroes. The nuanced characters help the novel avoid didacticism as it explores the creative process and the concept of creative "ownership." Though Cath's Harry Potter–esque fan fiction (excerpts of which are deftly woven into the novel) has a devoted following of more than 35,000 readers, a professor deems the stories plagiarism and stealing because, "These characters, this whole world belongs to someone else." Cath's struggles to assess this conclusion's validity give readers much to consider. Absolutely captivating. (Fiction 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews Newsletter
Cath is a popular fan fiction author, more at home in the magical world of Simon Snow than in her freshman year at the University of Nebraska. The author of Eleanor and Park (2012) cele-brates the magic of reading and fandom with a lovable (anti)heroine venturing out of her comfort zone. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 July #3
Cath Avery's life has two polestars: Wren, her identical twin, and the Simon Snow series, a Harry Potter-like publishing phenomenon that Cath has been reading--and rewriting, as a hugely popular fanfiction author--for years. While Cath is an expert on Simon's life, she finds her own difficult, especially now that she's starting college and Wren doesn't want them to room together. Since Cath would rather stay in her room and write than do anything involving other people, that first year is terrifying, which she expected, but also heartbreaking and romantic, which she did not. Rowell (Eleanor & Park) blends Cath's first year of college with excerpts of both the "canon" Simon Snow books and Cath's distinctly non-canonical fanfic, to create a funny and tender coming-of-age story that's also the story of a writer finding her voice. Rowell makes all of Cath's relationships--with her father; Wren; her acerbic roommate, Reagan; and, especially, Reagan's ex Levi (who practically takes up residence in their room to woo the skeptical and extremely nervous Cath)--touching and utterly real. Ages 13-up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 August
Gr 9 Up--This charming coming-of-age novel tells the story of a painfully shy teen who prefers the fantasy world of fanfiction to reality. Cath expected to survive her first year of college with the help of her twin sister. Wren, however, is taking full advantage of her newfound freedom from parental supervision, spending a great deal of time partying and very little time with her needy, nerdy, slightly pathetic sister. Feeling lost and alone, Cath scurries from class to class, hiding in her room and working on her Simon Snow fanfiction omnibus. When she writes, she can escape herself and be somewhere else. Otherwise she's just another social misfit stuck with a surly roommate, her roommate's overly friendly, kinda cute boyfriend (who might also be flirting with Cath), and a family that's falling apart. Sometimes, however, real life can become better than fantasy. Even if getting there feels like an epic battle. Cath is an exceptionally well-developed, self-aware, and endearing character, partly because she is so quirky and flawed. There are also great secondary characters, but because Cath doesn't want to get involved in the messiness of their lives, readers are also kept from knowing them more fully. The plot is multilayered and filled with complex subjects (such as divorce, abandonment, and mental illness) handled in a realistic manner, and the writing effortlessly and seamlessly weaves these threads together. This book will find a wide audience, especially among older fans of Harry Potter.--Heather E. Miller Cover, Homewood Public Library, AL [Page 115]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.