Saturday, 21 May 2016


I'm trying to remember why I once thought reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell would be a waste of time... something about not being a fan of contemporaries? Did I say that? Maybe I'm still not a fan, maybe Fangirl was a one-off experience for me. I haven't read many contemporaries since my early teens, and I think I'd convinced myself that I'd 'outgrown' the genre. But it seems - in the case of Fangirl at least - I was quite wrong. 

I tuck it under my chin and hold it close to my chest. Despite having read it only once - and very recently - it feels like a familiar old friend. Maybe it's because of the unmissable Harry Potter references, or because the main character - Cath - is an English undergraduate, and  a writer. When I was 11 I wrote a Harry Potter spin-off, not realising at the time it was a form of fanfiction, or that fanfiction was even a legitimate thing that existed. I didn't really mind that the fanfiction Cath wrote (chapters of which were interspersed throughout Fangirl) was basically another version of Harry Potter. In fact, I enjoyed picking out the similarities as well as the differences. 

Cath is an introvert with a fair amount of social anxiety. She'd rather stay in her room reading and writing than... doing pretty much anything else. She's also passionate and incredibly caring towards the people who matter most to her.  I think all book-bloggers and book-lovers can relate to her on some level and that's why Fangirl has been SUCH a big hit in the book-blogging community. Well, that and the fact that Rowell is a fantastic, FLAWLESS writer. No seriously. I can't fault her.

Cath is great at writing fanfiction, but I totally understand her fear of being unable to create something as well developed and brilliant as our favourite novels out of... nothing. That fear holds her back to such an extent that she's willing to fail her creative writing class rather than give her own original ideas a chance. Girl, I get you. I love Rowell for showing this side to a writer, the initial block, the paralysing fear of failure. 

Speaking of... I am so impressed with how Rowell managed to seamlessly implement elements of mental health into this novel. Cath's father is bipolar (although I'm not sure if this is 100% confirmed?) and Rowell's portrayal of the disorder was perfectly subtle. Not once did she dump paragraphs of information upon the reader, rather she gradually developed Arthur's character, and built upon how his illness affected his life, and the lives of his daughters. 

A smooth, slow, and sensitive novel. Fangirl is healing, comforting, and exciting all at once. A must read for anyone who has ever sought pleasure in the company of a book.

For those of you who've read Fangirl, do you agree or disagree? Also would you guys recommend any of Rowell's other novels? I figure I might as well dive a little deeper into the world of contemporaries :') 


  1. I love this! I felt the same when I first read RR, thinking maybe it would be abit too teen-fic, but fell in love with her writing! Have you read Eleanor & Park? It's a must if not! :)

    1. I haven't read Eleanor & Park though I've heard pretty good things about it! Might have to give it a try :D Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Ummmm... HELL YES I AGREE. I felt the exact same about this book! I HAVE read other Rowell books since, but Fangirl definitely remains my favorite. Carry On is kiiiind of cute towards the end, but the beginning drags like hell and I feel like you either have to know nothing about Harry Potter or be so deep involved that you get all the common Harry Potter fanfic tropes she references. Eleanor and Park is good, although I wasn't a huge fan of the romance after the first 50 pages, which were perfect. It definitely has a very 'real' atmosphere in terms of Eleanor's shitty homelife and bullying. Attachment is a book where seemingly nothing happens, but that ends up being pretty insightful. I liked it quite a bit, but I could also see how someone could get bored with it. Kindred Spirits is a cute short story. I haven't read Landline yet, but I definitely plan to! Hope you find something you like if you decide to read another one of her stories. :)

    1. OMG WOW! I love how many of Rowell's books you've read! Thank you SO much for your opinions on them all, i'm 100% taking them into consideration :') Eleanor and Park sounds like a pretty good option! And you make a good point about Carry On... I might get tired of the constant Harry Potter references (though it is basically HP fanfic) I might borrow it from a library and give it a go! Thanks so much x


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