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New Adult Hit From Rowell | Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

There is everything to love about Fangirl. In the words of Cath’s roommate, “What the f@*& is the fandom??”

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Goodreads | Amazon | Rainbow Rowell’s Website

fangirl rainbow rowell book review

Title & Author: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, New Adult

Release Date: September 10, 2013

Series: Standalone

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

How I Got the Book: Bought


“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?”

Rainbow Rowell Does It Again

Fangirl is a book for readers. That may be stating the obvious, but what I mean is, it’s a book for READERS. The book-obsessed. The Potter-heads. The…fangirls.

This book is about the sub-culture of reading, and I think so many in the blogging and Goodreads community will relate to and love this book.

I didn’t realize going into Fangirl that it’s technically classified as “new adult.” This means the protagonist is between 18 and 25-years-old.

The protagonist in question is Cath. She’s heading off for her freshman year of college with her twin sister Wren…although they won’t be rooming together. Cath is left to meet her random roommate, navigate her strange and new college life and – most importantly – finish her Simon Snow fan fiction before the real and final Simon Snow novel is finally published.

The Simon Snow series is similar to Harry Potter. It’s not identical (Harry Potter is actually mentioned in the book, so it’s not even supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek reference), but the same spirit of the obsession and world-wide fandom is definitely alive.

Along with Cath’s thoughts on her mostly-absent and snarky roommate and her worries about how her dad is coping without both his daughters, you get a glimpse into both the actual Simon Snow books and Cath’s fan fiction.

I loved this added element. I got to see inside Cath’s writing style and how she re-imagined the Simon Snow world. Plus, it becomes relevant to the overall storyline and the decisions Cath ultimately needs to make.

Funny & Non-Traditional

One of my favorite parts of Fangirl was the humor. It’s real and situational and AMAZING.

Like this:

“‘Do you remember when he bought you a laptop power cord for your birthday?’ ‘That was a good gift,’ Cath said, pointing at her sister. Wren grabbed her finger and pulled it down. ‘Did you think of him every time you booted up?'”


Plus, the story does not follow typical tropes. There are no bad decisions made because assumptions were made and never confirmed. There’s no “I’ll protect you from the truth and risk you being really made when you find out.”

It’s all fresh and unique. I was so nice to be surprised with things going ways you didn’t predict.


Like Eleanor and Park, Fangirl deals with serious problems that aren’t solved easily. They’re handled how real people would handle them. This is a book you must read. All book fangirls alike will love Cath, her fanfiction and her humor. You MUST read Fangirl (and then message me so we can gush about it together!).

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Cindy

    I love Fangirl! I love how Cath is so similar to readers like us. 🙂 And Levi. Love the chemistry in this book. And Rainbow Rowell. Great review!

    Cindy @ In This World of Books..

  • Beverly

    I have LOVED everything Rainbow Rowell has written!! Just discovered her this past year and am so happy I did! She is an amazing author!

  • tam

    I have just finished this book and loved it! As someone who loves reading and writing, it was a constant page-turner and had me hooked. It’s made me appreciate and admire fan fiction in a new way. Rainbow Rowell is a great writer and really like her style, both attachments and eleanor and park we equally as good. Can’t wait for her next one! Tam x