Fangirl is a book I’ve wanted to read ever since I heard about it when it first came out. The title just screams ‘this book is about your life’. I got 132 pages into it last summer before I put it down and I didn’t pick it back up until a year later.
The book is about an introverted girl named Cath (short for ‘Cather’, which always made me think ‘catheter’….) who spends all her time thinking about the Simon Snow books and writing fanfiction. The fic is Cath’s version of the last book in the fictional Simon Snow series and through the novel she desperately tries to finish it before the actual book comes out. Anyway, enter college. People. Socialization. Roommates. Independence. Creative writing classes where you have to write original content. Boys. Basically, Cath struggles with adapting to this new environment.
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I realize I’m the odd one out here, because almost everyone I know rated this 4 or 5 stars on Goodreads. When I started it I really wanted to like it, because, like I said, it’s basically a book about my life. I relate a lot to Cath, both her writing and her personality. I’ve even had the same dilemma as her when it comes to a fic, the “kill or live happily every after???”
She annoyed me at times though, especially when she, as an eighteen-year-old, thought it would be okay to turn in a fic in a Creative Writing class. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I know the feeling of preferring to write about familiar worlds and characters, that creating something yourself feels like a free fall, but come on now. You don’t sign up for Creative Writing to write fanfiction. You can at least be sneaky about it and write a story as if it’s a fic but give the characters different names and appearances, maybe different lives like in an Alternative Universe fanfic. That’s how I wrote a lot of my short-stories for school around age 15-18. By doing that you might realize that huh, these are your characters after all because you ended up changing them so much.
I’m kind of peeved by Simon Snow and how Harry Potter still exists alongside it. I would have been fine with it if Simon Snow was a replacement of Harry Potter in this world, but it’s not. How can anyone in Fangirl be a fan of this series and not think it’s a bit too similar? There was even a line like “All the actors had long hair in this movie”. Hm. Goblet of Fire anyone? So yes, Harry Potter still being a thing bugged me a little bit, but I guess I also understand why. Maybe.
Anyway. Fangirl is really cute, but that’s probably at least half of the problem I had with it. It’s just cute. I don’t really reach for contemporary books about every-day life. More often I prefer darker stuff. This book wasn’t that engaging to me and I either skimmed or skipped every single Simon Snow or fic excerpt because even when I tried to read them I couldn’t make myself pay attention. Additionally I think this book could have been shorter, it felt quite long.
The ellipsis abuse annoyed me too. Stop.
I was going to give it two 2/5, but I started liking it more during the last 200 pages, so I bumped it up to 2.5. I enjoyed Art, the dad. I thought he was very interesting and I enjoyed the dynamic between him and his daughters. The dynamic between Cath and her twin sister Wren was something I liked as well, especially with the developments in the second half.
All in all, this book was all right. Very relatable and cute, but that’s about where it ends for me. I would still reccommend it if this is a genre you’re into and if the summary seems like something you’d enjoy though. Obviously a lot of people really love this book, so if you’ve been thinking about picking it up don’t let me discourage you.