Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Publication date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: US: St. Martin’s Press UK: Macmillan
Pages: 459
Target audience: Young Adult

This review contains a few spoilers.

I’d been into Waterstones looking for books countless times and each time I was drawn to one in particular: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’d pick it up, read the blurb and stare at it with uncertainty before putting it down and buying something different. It wasn’t until I was faced with a three-and-a-half-hour train journey home from Manchester that I took the plunge and purchased it to read on my journey. I had that feeling of exhilaration you get from buying a new book, the anticipation of losing yourself in a new novel. The excitement and hope that it will live up to your expectations mixed in with a little fear and nervousness that it won’t. If you were to come and look at my book collection, you would discover my love for Young Adult Novels – and my slightly insane adoration for vampires with tragic backstories.


Romance has always been the thing that draws me in, so when FanGirl started with “There was a boy in her room’, I was already hooked. It completely grabbed me, capturing my curiosity with the simplest of sentences. I had already created Cath in my mind from what little information I found in the blurb. I imagined her as an introvert who rarely left her sister’s side when growing up, someone who had no experience when it came to boys. Already hooked, I discovered the boy was not supposed to be in her room, his presence personified Cath’s awkwardness, which came across in the way she was feeling; Cath was starting to sound more like the character I had first imagined, but not completely. I was happy to find out Cath’s a very snarky character. Right from the beginning, in the very first paragraph, you read that Levi is trying to be polite as he goes to shake Cath’s hand but, instead of being polite or saying hello, she just stands: “She was holding a box anyway, what did he expect from her?” As you continue reading the novel, you come to realise that though Cath has very few friends, she tries very little to make friends; she’s a very strong minded character who always has a lot to say.

Not only did I relate to Cath’s secretly sarcastic character strongly, I related to her love for Harry Potter, Fanfiction and her family. I like Cath, I love the fact that her personality is easy to see and I love how Rowell describes the emotions she’s feeling throughout. Rowell gives Cath an attitude that, combined with her strong opinions and how she reacts in situations, gives her character 3 dimensions. This was definitely a novel I couldn’t stop reading; I wanted so badly for things to work out for Cath, I had to keep going to see how she developed as she went through various situations and had different college experiences.

This novel is not an exciting sci-fi book, a wondrous adventure novel or even a story where there is a recognisable purpose; it is just a novel about a young girl and the journey she goes through her first year of University on a Writing Degree. I feel Rowell has written this book brilliantly; the simplicity of the story line but extraordinary weaves of emotion make this book one of my favourites and I would definitely recommend it to everyone.

“What are you doing?”

“Trying to write. What are you doing?”

“Nothing,” he said. “Just got off work. Maybe you should finish reading me that story…”

“What story?” She knew what story.

“The Simon Snow story. Vampire Baz was about to attack Simon.”

“You want me to read over the phone?”

“Why not?”

“I’m not going to read to you over the phone.”

There was a knock at the door. Cath eyed it suspiciously. More knocking.

“I know that’s you,” she said into the phone. Levi laughed. She got up and opened the door, ending the call. “You’re ridiculous.”

“I brought you coffee,” he said.


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