So today is the first day of the month. I love firsts. I love that every first is a new start, a new beginning. And why wait for a new year? There is a new first every hour of everyday, but for the purposes of this blog, “Firsts on the First” will be a post celebrating the first of each month where I post my first of something, anything bookish. Today, my first Rainbow Rowell book: Fangirl.
If you haven’t read it (which you really should), here the gist:
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publication: September 10th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press
Genre: YA, contemporary, romance
Pages: 445 pages
Format: Library book
About the book:
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 read Fangirl for the first time in October 2014, more than a year after it was published. I honestly can’t believe I was missing out on Rainbow Rowell all that time! Her characters are quirky and weird and realistic and honest and wonderful.
So here’s the alphabetical rundown:
Rowell writes characters so well. They are all individual, unique characters with very distinct and eccentric traits. Cath takes being a scared introvert to the extreme (i.e. doesn’t find the dining hall for the first month of college and lives off of protein bars and peanut butter.) But then she has this quick wit and her dialogue with her twin sister Wren and her roommate Reagan give her so much depth and color as a character. And then she does things like have an Emergency Kanye Party that just make you want to be her friend and be dancing around the dorm room with her. The secondary characters are just as wonderful and well written and are all have their own brand of crazy.
Typically I don’t like people on covers, but these are illustrations of people, so I’ll forgive them. Also, I just love the sea foam green with the salmon text, nice color scheme.
The thing that draws me to the romance in this book is that it’s just so real. It doesn’t begin perfectly and there aren’t just rainbows (yep, I did that) and butterflies once the characters get together. I am purposefully leaving out names here, because it is not automatically apparent who the romance is going to be between, but in the end, it’s just wonderful and wonderfully real.
I love that this book jumps from “present day” to excerpts from Simon Snow books, to FanFixx.net posts. It feels like a very intricate puzzle is being woven together while you’re reading. However, if you haven’t read a series similar to Simon Snow (*cough cough* Harry Potter) then you may be more confused by the transitions from the book, to the book within the book, to the fanfic about the book within the book. Ok, yeah, that does sound pretty complicated, but personally I enjoyed it immensely, but I am very familiar with said similar series.
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”
“I’m scared of everything. And I’m crazy. Like maybe you think I’m a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and socially inept, I’m a complete disaster.”
When I read this book in 2014 I gave it four hearts. Rereading it now I totally agree with that rating, solid four hearts.