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 only wish I had read this during my first year of university!
First off, I generally read plot-driven novels so it was quite a change for me to read this which is absolutely character driven – but I still loved it!
If you’re in college or university, are a huge Harry Potter fan, like contemporary novels, and/or enjoy reading about familial relationships, you’ll like Fangirl.
(🔮to clarify, “Simon Snow” is the book’s copyright-safe equivalent to Harry Potter🔮)
I really liked reading from Cath’s perspective, she is a very relatable character who is explained and written out very well. From her relationships with different family members to her social anxiety, to her comfort writing fan fiction, she felt very real. She was drawn out very 3-dimensional as we got to see different aspects of her personal, academic, and social life.
Everyone needs a Levi.
He is, hands down, the most lovable fictional boyfriend I’ve come across recently. Again, Rowell painted a picture of Levi’s character so perfectly, and still made him so different from Cath. It was interesting to see how his and Cath’s personalities met halfway when they seemed to start on completely different social levels. Levi is very quirky, lovable, nerdy, and flawed. But flawed in a bearable, you’re-still-perfect-in-every-other-way, sort of way.
One of the things I loved about this book was how diverse the group of characters were. I don’t mean diverse racially (I still got the impression that everyone was quite white), but diverse personality-wise. The characters in this book cover the social spectrum from the socially anxious to the social butterfly, from the good girl to the underage partier, from the experienced to the fish-out-of-water. It really gave the book a sense of dimension while still refusing to be cliche.
The story line itself isn’t too crazy – which is okay for a contemporary like this! It’s all about Cath navigating her way through her life during her first year of university as an English major. I thought this book did a wonderful and accurate job depicting the struggle of balancing schoolwork, family, love life, friends, and hobbies.
My only issue with this book is that there were a couple things that seemed to go unresolved. 1) The book repeatedly mentioned Levi’s mom and how she didn’t like Regan, but we never actually get to see or meet Levi’s mom, which makes me question why there was such emphasis put on her – there seemed to be too much emphasis to have been included solely to make Cath uncomfortable. 2) What about Cath’s mom? A big part of this book is about Cath’s absent relationship with her mother, and in the end of the story there still seems to have been little progress made with this relationship. I was really hoping for more here.
Aside from those couple issues, I Love Love Loved this book! It’s one of the most adorable romance/contemporaries I’ve read. I want my own Levi!! And I want to read Harry Potter again!!
I give this book a:
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
*let me know if you want to talk spoilers!*