I tried Attachments and wasn't impressed. Then I became the only person in the YA world who didn't love Eleanor and Park. So, when at work I was assigned to write a blurb for Rainbow Rowell's newest book, Fangirl, I sort of internally groaned. Here was going to be another book that I should like but probably wouldn't.
I hate not liking books that I think I should. I love loving books. I love being consumed by a book. For some reason Rowell just wasn't doing it for me.
Then I read Fangirl.
I was wary at the start and not just because it was Rowell but because I have a startling amount in common with Cath. It's always a bit disconcerting reading a character who thinks so much like you do. I even used to write fanfiction (now Harry Potter, that always intimidated me, but Tamora Pierce) She's a little more emotional than me but by the end I absolutely adored her.
There's something so delightfully uncertain about her. It's unbelievably real how concerned she is about what she's feeling and if it's real and if it's weird. That paralysis in social situations and mental preparation it takes to be able to enter into one. She is so well developed. Writing is the one place where she feels like she can act out, be herself. And her Simon Snow love. I'm 25 and still wear Harry Potter shirts. She comes into her own in this book without it seeming forced, without it being too much. She still has her insecurities and her concerns and her quirks but she's stronger.
And her relationship with Levi reminds me of Anna and St. Clair's relationship in some ways. The way the get together and their sleeping together. And their banter and their different interests. I just adore them.
Levi. Oh, Levi. He's so bright and so quirky in his own way. I love that he's studying range management. It's so weird and so delightful. He is so unsure of how to proceed with Cath, who is so unlike anyone he's met. It's so cute how excited he is by what makes her excited. He can be so supportive without being overbearing and he doesn't let Cath win all of the time. And he's flawed. So perfectly flawed.
Wren really drove me crazy up until the end. I mean, she's supposed to, but I was really angry with her. She was so irresponsible and so unwilling to see that. It isn't until she gets to touch base with the idea of who she is rather than what a "college student" is that she and Cath get back to a good place. After she can see that it's okay for them to be different without completely losing each other. I enjoyed being able to see her and Cath as they might have been before but I still found her frustrating. She reminds me a bit of one of my sisters.
It was such a brilliant decision to not wrap things up with Laura. There is no easy fix for that and I think it would have cheapened it to have given it one. That woman shouldn't have kids. But I see why Wren would be okay with her even though Cath isn't. I can't see Cath being okay with her.
I also have to say that I choked up a little with the bit about the last Simon Snow book release. I wept at the Deathly Hallows release. Wept. And wept through most of the book and then for a long while after I finished the book. I cried when the lights dimmed in the theatre for the last movie to start and then when the Warner Brother's logo came up. And then through most of the movie. And then wept the entire way home in the car. I still get teary thinking about it being over (though, NEW MOVIE GUYS! GUYS!). Though, I have a hard time believing that Cath didn't stay up all night reading the book and then read it out loud to Levi. She should have read it first.
That leads me to the one thing that I really didn't like. Simon Snow. Simon Snow is so clearly Harry Potter. And I could have dealt with the little flinching I did at what almost felt like parody in places, but with so many obvious parallels Harry Potter should never have come up. Harry Potter shouldn't exist in this world with Simon Snow. Simon Snow would never have gotten so big if Harry Potter did exist because it would be such a blatant rip off. So when Levi makes the comment about it being like finding out Harry Potter was gay my reading came to a screeching halt. No. No. Simon Snow should be Harry Potter not the new Harry Potter.
But really, that was my big problem with it. Aside from that I really sort of loved it. Though with all the talk of Cath making eggs I had to stop and make myself an egg sandwich...
Overall, I give Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell a rating of Massively Epic.
Have any of you read it? What did you think? Were you fans of Eleanor and Park? Am I still alone in that?
I totally owe you guys a couple of posts but I've been reading and drafting out my project for this year's NaNoWriMo. It's going to take actual research and such, I think. Let's see.
Next I am reading David Almond's The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas. It's illustrated by the wonderful Oliver Jeffers and is another book I've been asked to write a blurb for. Anway!
Until next time!