Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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?

I listened to the audiobook of Fangirl and I’m glad I did. Rebecca Lowman is a great narrator and she has a way of bringing Rainbow Rowell’s characters to life in a way not many audio narrators can – she also narrator Eleanor and Park and I loved that one too. Okay, back to Cath and Fangirl.

Fangirl is a relatable story for most in that she’s from a dysfunctional family and she doesn’t know how she fits in the world. She has one thing she loves and knows well, Simon Snow, and doesn’t know how to give it up in her transition from childhood/high school into college/adulthood.

Cath is a major introvert. Fangirl explores her freshman year at college, which starts with her not on the greatest terms with her twin sister Wren – who is attending the same college. She’s big into Simon Snow, which is like Harry Potter in their world, but Harry Potter also exists – don’t ask. When I say she’s big into Simon Snow, I mean posters on her wall, commemorative busts on her desk, t-shirts, one of the most popular Simon Snow fan fiction writers out there. She and her sister used to collaborate together but Wren has drifted away from Simon and that world, wanting to “meet new people” and explore her new life. Cath wants the opposite of this. She wants to go to class and hole herself up in her room and talk to no one. She hates the world and basically everyone in it, including her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend. Cath is witty and smart, but she’s also scared of the world. Through Fangirl you get to see her come out of her shell.

It’s a heartwarming story of a year of heartache, and pain, and growing. Rowell isn’t afraid to write about tough subjects like parents leaving or binge drinking because it’s taboo. It’s real life; it happens. It’s raw and emotional, and I appreciate that about her novels. I liked that Cath wasn’t afraid to say what she wanted, she wasn’t afraid to tell others that she wasn’t okay with something and she wasn’t afraid to stand by her convictions when it came to certain aspects of her life. BUT on the same token, she also knew when to forgive and when to move on.

All in all I have Fangirl 4 out of 5 stars because I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending. It left me with the, “Wait, it’s over? That’s it?!” feeling, and that’s just not okay!



  1. I'm totally with you on the ending! I was just like....wait, that's it?! I loved the story though, definitely relatable and I really enjoyed watching Cath grow as a character. I listened to the audiobook too and really liked the narration, so I'll definitely check out the Eleanor and Park audiobook too!

    1. I'd love to hear what you think about the Eleanor and Park audio! If you're a fan of Rainbow Rowell I think you're going to enjoy it and the narrator definitely has a way of bringing her characters to life!


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