Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

September 2, 2014 Review 0 ★★

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Series: Standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on 2013 September 10
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 445
Format: E-book
Source: Purchased
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two-stars

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

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 fan fiction, 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 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 fan fiction 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? Writing her own stories?

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

Luxa: So…uhm…so…

Me: So what?

Luxa: 2.5 stars for this book?  Did you see the GR rating of this book?

Me: Yes. Is that important to what we’re going to talk about today?

Luxa:  Stop being bitchy. How come you gave this book a 2.5 star rating? Are you a hater on the loose?

Me: You sound like I am a convict.

Luxa: Damn right! Fangirl has a 4.36 average rating in GR.  You’re deviating from the norm. You should be fangirling over this book.

Me: Huh? Reading this book was already bad enough and you want me to do…to do that stuff? Do I look stupid?

A moment of silence.

Luxa: Okay. Let’s hear it.

Me: What about?

Luxa: About why you ruthlessly gave this book a two and a half star.

Me: Uhm. I don’t know. I am not you.

Luxa: Must we bring the lie detector device or Veritaserum?

Me: Don’t be lame.  You can always resort to force.

Luxa: Messy and you’re not worth it. So, is it because this book didn’t have JK Rowling’s name on its front cover?

Me: The truth is, Rainbow Rowell is JK Rowling’s 2nd pseudonym.

Except for the heavy thump of book on the floor, everything is silent.

Me: Of course. I’m kidding. I’m just telling you that your questions are absurd.

Luxa: Fine. But why? I swear, we will not leave this room until you answered me.

Me: Whatever. I don’t know. It’s not just for me. When I was reading it, I was horribly reminded of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Contemporary and Coming of age mixture does not really suit my taste.

Luxa: But why? I thought you like light, smart and funny stories? And I think there’s a bit of a drama here too. Those are all the ingredients you want in your books, right?

Me: Ahm… Yeah. The problem is I hardly felt anything while reading this book. It’s like I’m reading but I’m not understanding it. It felt dry and dismal.

Luxa:  Why?

Me: Hmmn… The Lumatere Chronicles might have sucked my bag of emotions dry.

Luxa: Oh jeez.  Get a grip of yourself.  Didn’t the characters jump at you? Cath, Wren, Levi and Reagan?

Me: Why would they jump at me? If they ever would, I would hardly feel the pain. They’re just paper dolls you know.  They’re just X and Y, no Z.

Luxa: But Cather? Levi? And Wren? Everyone’s sympathizing with Cath. And a lot of girls love Levi. You’re such an unfeeling little git.

 Me: It’s not my fault if I don’t feel a connection to any of them. Cath’s disorder is somewhat forced. True, I was curious at first but later on, I find her disorder—if she’s suffering from any at all—quite annoying.  She’s the type of girl who’d put wrinkles on my face in just a few years. And Levi? He has this ready smile for everybody, his hair always stick up, he has a wide forehead and he never reads. Other than these things, I don’t know him AT ALL. You mentioned Wren right? Gahh. I hated her.  She’s selfish and her only ambition in life is to get wasted. I’m pretty sure of this because almost every time I see her, she’s either drunk or going to a party to get drunk or she’s preaching Cath that drinking is totally cool.

Luxa: You’re exaggerating. I’ve heard otherwise.

Me: I’m not stopping you to read the book.  Go ahead and see it for yourself.  I couldn’t even stand the YA character stereotyping in this book. It makes me sick.

Luxa: You bet I will.  Stereotyping?

Me: Yep. Why is it that main female characters always look plain, geeky, anti-social and all that? And the other “interesting” character always look beautiful, gorgeous and all things perfect?

Luxa: That’s your cynicism talking. So what about the story? Didn’t you enjoy it? You love reading fan fictions right?

Me: And I thought we’re done.  I love reading fan fictions but making it as a foundation for a story, nope.  I was exhausted after reading Fangirl. Like everything is just revolving around Cath’s boring routine. She goes to class, goes back to her dorm to write another chapter of Simon and Bas, goes to the library to write with Nick, then proceeds to check on her dad.  Then halfway through the book, she started a new routine which is reading her work to Levi.

Luxa: But—

Me: I really failed to see the kind of message this story is trying to convey. Complexity of familial relationships? Sure, there’s one but it hardly moved me as other books did. If anything, Cath and Wren’s mom was the reason why this story has a plot at all. If the mom didn’t leave, Cath wouldn’t have been immersed in the world of fandom, thus, Fangirl wouldn’t have been born. And the presence of their mom in this book is negligible. When I met her, she’s just so lame. It wasn’t even thoroughly explained why she left.  And that scene in the hospital, I just want to slap her. Mother of Cow, she just left even if her daughter almost died from alcohol poisoning.  When I finished the book, the author forgot to include what happened to her.  So—“

Luxa: Stop!  Stop! Stop! You’re getting carried away.  Okay, let’s move on. What about Cath finally seeing the world? You know, going out with Levi. And I know that there’s a good romance going on in this book.

Me: I wonder what’s the difference between persistence or stubborn.  This interview is boring me to death.

Luxa: Just answer my question.

Me:  The story ended without a lot of happenings.  There’s little to no development with Cath’s person.  Even at the end, she was still hellbent on throwing her life and education for Simon and Bas. Maybe it was a good thing that Levi was always there to steer her to the right direction.  The romance was ok in this book, nothing too hasty. But it was too dry for my taste and didn’t manage to take me to swoon world.

Luxa: I think you’re just resolved to dislike this book.  You refused to see its goodness.  Speaking of, was there a thing that you liked about this book? Based on what you’ve said, I have this horrible feeling that you were just being generous in giving this book a 2.5 star rating.

Me: You assume too many things.  As a matter of fact, this book still offered some goodness despite its flaws.  Fangirl’s concept is definitely original and you may chastise me for saying this, but I am more immersed in Simon and Bas’ story.  I am more attached to these two mofos than with Cath.

Luxa: I am speechless.

Me: Good. That means I am outta here.

Luxa: That doesn’t mean that you’re free from my future interviews.

Me: Whatever.

 

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