Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Teen Fiction
Date Published: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: 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?
Sometimes I wonder if Rainbow Rowell was watching me and decided to turn my life into a novel, thus creating Fangirl. From the title itself, I already knew that this book is made for me and even before I had it, I knew that this book will be one of favorite contemporary young adult novels.
Reading the first few pages of the book made me suspicious because Cath and I had a lot in common, starting with our names. Yes, I share the same name–or nickname with the protagonist of the book except my name starts with a ‘K’ not a ‘C’. While Cath has a twin sister, I have a younger sister who looks like me resulting in people thinking that we are twins. Cath is more reserved and socially awkward (like me) and Wren is more of a chill and fun going half (like my younger sister).
Cather Avery is a YA novel character who I relate the most, that’s why she will always have a special place in my heart. She is me, I am her. Cath isn’t perfect; she’s awkward, she has severe anxiety, she’s weird and she’s not described as this beautiful leading lady whose hair is perfect all the time, in short, she’s real, and I guess that’s what makes her so relatable. I’ve read a lot of stories—novel, short stories, fan fiction and even imagines as well but Cath Avery is the most realistic character for me. I see myself in her; an awkward introverted bookworm who’s completely swallowed by fandoms and writes fan fiction to escape the cruelty of reality.
The anxiety brooding inside of her is the same illness I am suffering. It’s exhilarating to know that I’m not the only one who double-check doors if it’s really locked or freaks out over the littlest of things. I empathize Cath’s sadness and anxiousness about leaving home, living into a dormitory and starting her life as university student. I read this book after my first year in university and I can’t help but nod to everything she says and sympathize over how she feels. It’s the same feeling I had starting my journey in university.
Simon Snow isn’t just a series for Cath, it’s a fandom where she finds a sense of belonging and comfort and I guess I can relate to her because that’s how I feel about my fandoms. I know some people find it weird that I put a lot of effort and love to my fandoms but I can’t help it, fandom is family and I absolutely know what it feels like to be immersed in such thing that I can’t judge Cath for that.
What made this book intriguing is how I relate to Cath as an online fan fiction writer and an incoming college student. It’s hard to balance academics with being an online writer but Cath defied all odds and managed to update Simon Snow fics every now and then. I have to admit, ever since I started university, I have a hard time updating my fan fictions, yes I sympathize with my readers constantly telling me to update but my academics is my priority and I will always put it first. This is something I want to scream in Cath’s ear, she’s too irrational sometimes and finds it hard to separate ‘reality’ from ‘fiction’.
Fan fiction is amazing but I know better than to submit a fan fiction to my college professor as an assignment for fiction writing class. It’s childish of Cath to feel a little bit of anger that Professor Piper is against her in writing fan fiction but her professor’s right, submitting a paper in college which some elements are ‘borrowed’ from another writer, especially a well renowned author is plagiarism. As Levi said, it’s fiction writing not fan fiction writing. I guess I also grew mad at Cath for not working and focusing on her fiction writing paper, she is given a second chance and a whole semester to finish that project and I would kill for that kind of opportunity and she’s just threw it all away for most of the semester. I know she’s been having a hard time but sometimes she’s just too irrational and impractical it kills me.
Levi and Cath. I love how their relationship developed, it was slow and well written. It wasn’t predictable like most YA novel love stories. Glad it wasn’t one of those typical good girl meets bad boy hating on each other and they suddenly click, no it wasn’t like that Levi and Cath’s story is something sweet that makes you blush with the cuteness of these two. Personally, I like slow burn relationships instead of love at first sight or fast paced ones. Cath didn’t even knew she liked Levi until she started catching these feelings in the middle of their friendship. I’m sucker for this kind of plot, sue me but there’s something about learning and observing someone and getting to know them before falling for them. At least you know their quirks and attitudes–you know them well enough that when you start catching the love bug for that person it might make you crazy, but the good kind of crazy.
Levi is such an amazing guy, he’s got most of the qualities I am looking for in a guy especially how he understands socially awkward Cath. He loves her for her and that alone is beautiful.
I didn’t give this book a five over five–I feel like this novel still lacks something and to be honest some pages were just completely out of tune to the point that it made me lose interest to read the book. In the middle reading the novel, I encountered a reading slump, usually I could finish a book in just days, one week is the longest time but this book took me two and half weeks to finish. Although I’d blame the amount of work I have to finish for the slump, and this includes binge watching series I need to catch up on, finishing a Dramione one shot request on Wattpad, catching up on journaling (two months late), scanning my artworks, doing art commissions, organizing my external hard drive, cleaning my room, finish a video edit, learning new photoshop skills…basically all the things I was dying to do but didn’t have the time since I was too busy with university. So the start of my summer was productive and exhausting but it was fun.
Going back, Rainbow Rowell never ceases to amaze me with her quirky characters and a fresh way to tell a coming-of-age story.
Anyway, I’m a fan fiction writer like Cath, here are links to my Wattpad account and stories, plus imagines I’ve written in tumblr:
- Dramione: A Collection if Dramione One Shots (Harry Potter)
- Sweeter Than Fiction (A Nico Di Angelo Fan Fic) (Percy Jackson & The Olympians/Heroes of Olympus)
- Under The Sycamore Tree (A Liam Dunbar Fan Fic) (Teen Wolf)
- I Wish You Were Here (A Thaluke Fan Fic) (Percy Jackson & The Olympians/Heroes of Olympus)
- Teen Vampire (A Liam Dunbar Imagine- Teen Wolf)
- The Monster Inside Me (A Liam Dunbar Imagine- Teen Wolf)