Saturday, June 7, 2014

April Book Club: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath has spent a good part of her life living in the world of Simon Snow. She and her sister, Wren, are not only fans, but also fanfiction writers. And Cath feels comfortable in the world they've created. But now they're headed to college and Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be her roommate. So Cath is left to fend for herself in the scary and unpredictable world of new roommates, class schedules, and cafeteria food. She can handle writing thousands of words for her Simon Snow fanfiction, but can she handle writing assignments for her fiction writing class? And she might be deft at dealing with the relationship between Simon Snow and Baz, but can she figure out her feelings for Nick and Levi? And when real life drama threatens to derail her life can Cath manage to work out her own happy ending?

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What we thought:

NaomiRuth: Overall I really enjoyed Fangirl. It was easy to read and written in a very fluid manner. I liked that while some of the story was about Cath's first relationship, it was more than just a love story. It was about family and relationship dynamics and exploring the changes that occur when someone moves from an in-home place to an on-school place. I liked the exploration of fanfic. But that's also where I was a little uncomfortable. I still have a difficult time with fanfic. Sometimes I felt like there was a little too much of Cath's fanfic included. I understand this was a large part of her life, and I doubt many other people (if any) had the same kind of problems I did with the included fanfic. I was just more interested in her life, her real life, and sometimes got annoyed that I had to wade through so much un-real life. But I'm sure that's just because fanfic in general makes me queasy. So I was glad to read this book, because it helped me understand where people who enjoy fanfic are coming from.

Jenn N: Like Naomi, I liked that Fangirl was a new adult novel that didn't revolve solely around a romantic relationship. My favorite parts of the novel were the parts that dealt with Cath's relationship with her father and sister. I didn't find the fanfic sections excessive. I thought they showcased both Cath's passion for Simon Snow and need to escape while also demonstrating her growth and talent as a writer. While I don't write fanfic, I do create elaborate daydreams in my head about my fictional life in Port Charles (the city where General Hospital is set). So I could relate to Cath immersing herself in a fictional world to escape reality. I don't want to spoil anything, but while I appreciated that Wren's drinking issues were addressed, I think they were resolved a little too quickly. Overall though, I think Fangirl was a realistic portrayal of both the exhilarating and overwhelming highs and lows that one experiences when first leaving home for college.

Rebecca T: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought it was a great exploration of that move from high school to college, particularly for a main character who is a bit socially awkward. The stress Cath deals with in the changes of this period of her life make this a true New Adult book that grapples with solid New Adult issues. I loved the development of the characters and the overall arc of the story. Like Naomi I felt there was a bit too much Simon Snow stuff. Some of it from the fictional books and some of it from Cath's fanfic, but a lot of times it felt superfluous to the actual plot. I understand trying to establish its presence (since Simon Snow isn't a real series), but I would have liked to see less of that and more of Cath and Wren and Levi and Reagan.

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