Monday, 2 November 2015
Review on Fangirl
When Cather Avery starts University, it is the first time she has ever been away from her twin sister, Wren. They did everything together, including writing fan fiction on their favourite book series, Simon Snow, but with a new room mate who seems to be out with a different guy every night of the week and a range of classes she isn’t even sure she’ll be able to keep up with, Cath is pushed way out of her comfort zone. She must learn to adapt to her new life without Wren being by her side every step of the way, along with deciding if writing original stories really is for her and of course, working on her Simon Snow fan fiction.
If I had to pick a book to describe my life it would be this one. I related to Cath so much that it felt almost like Rainbow was writing about my own experiences of University. In my first year, I was exactly like Cath. I was reluctant to leave my dorm room and never left the door open, I never made an effort to socialise and I would eat in my room instead of having to go to the kitchen or cafeteria. Like Cath, I suffer with social anxiety, and I felt that Rainbow showed her anxiety perfectly. Most authors tend to romanticise anxiety and show it as a cute, quirky trait, when it is anything but that. It stops you doing things you really want to do, which was shown by Cath in a variety of ways such as not going to the cafeteria for months as she didn’t know where it was or how it worked. This is something that would be resolved easily by most people by asking where it is, but for someone with anxiety, it can be the most difficult thing in the world.
Along with relating to the anxiety, I’m also a giant nerd like Cath. The Simon Snow series seems extremely similar to Harry Potter, and although i’ve never wrote Harry Potter fan fiction, I have read quite a number of Drarry fics, so I was able to relate to her obsession of shipping Simon and Baz. I loved the snippets from Cath’s fics that came before each chapter, as it made them seem more real and like she was actually uploading them to a website for fan fiction. Seeing Cath so excited about this series made me think back to when I would queue up at the book store at midnight for the new Harry Potter book and try to finish them as quickly as possible to avoid spoilers. Rainbow did a brilliant job of making the Simon Snow series seem real, and Cath’s enthusiasm made me want to join this fandom of this made up franchise.
I loved that Cath didn’t go through a big transformation and stayed true to herself. Instead of abandoning the fandom, she let new people and experiences into her life without letting go of Simon Snow. I thought this gave a good message that you don’t have to completely reinvent yourself when you take a big step in your life such as going to University, you just need to adapt slightly. Although her new friends didn’t fully understand her obsession with Simon Snow, they accepted it and didn’t talk about it negatively. There is a shockingly small amount of fictional characters who wear glasses, and I was expecting Cath to go through a physical transformation where she ditched her glasses in favour of contact lenses. I was so happy when that didn’t happen! The majority of coming of age novels and movies give a bad message that if you want boys to like you then you have to change how you look. I was so glad that Cath stayed true to herself and didn’t change how she looked for the sake of Levi. The scene where Cath tells Reagan that she wasn’t changing how she looked for the sake of Levi was brilliant, and gave a positive message that if a boy doesn’t like the way you look then he isn’t worth bothering with in the first place.
I’ve never been a huge fan of love triangles, and I was expecting one to form between Cath, Nick and Levi. I wasn’t too keen on Nick from the start, as he would let Cath walk back to her dorm on her own when it was past midnight and tried to take the notebook away from her before she had finished writing. I was rooting for her to get with Levi from the start and I was so glad when it happened! Levi is a really sweet character and although he annoyed me slightly in certain parts of the book such as not letting Cath carry her own laundry and bordering on the point of being misogynistic I did like him a lot more than I liked Nick. I did however find myself getting slightly bored of the scenes that went on for multiple pages where Cath was kissing Levi. I prefer kissing scenes to be short and sweet rather than hearing multiple times about how she was kissing his chin.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and found myself reading it for hours and way into the early hours of the morning. I’m glad I finally decided to pick up this book from my bookshelf that had been sitting there for a couple of years gathering dust before I finally decided to read it. If you enjoy contemporary YA novels and for some reason haven’t read this book yet then I definitely recommend it!