Thursday, April 17, 2014

REVIEW: FANGIRL BY RAINBOW ROWELL.

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Edition: Hardbound
Published: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Pages: 438
Source: Gifted
Category: Romance, Contemporary
Trailer: Not applicable.

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Synopsis:

A coming-of-age tale of fanfiction, family, and first love.

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, 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 fanfiction, 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 fanfiction 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
After reading Eleanor & Park (which I absolutely loved), I became a Rowell fan. Following it up with Attachments, Rowell proved that she deserves to be included in my Auto-Buy Authors list. Attachment may have been an adult novel but I reviewed it and fell deeply in love with Rowell’s writing. She wrote it fantastically and her books always tickle my love for Contemporary. Until Fangirl.

I received my shiny hardbound copy of Fangirl last year (on its release week, yay!) on my birthday. I basically forced my ever loving brother to buy me one and used my birthday as the best excuse so he wouldn’t say no. Imagine how long it took me to read it (7 months) because as always, I was waiting for the right time for it to nudge me. I don't know about you guys but I have this weird book calling. I feel like there's always the right time for a certain title to be read (like what happened with TFiOS). Hearing so much raving about it made me proud that I am a Rowell fan (and I will always be). But after trying so hard for two weeks to finish Fangirl, I knew something in me changed. Just me, though. Sad to say that I didn’t like Fangirl. Rowell’s writing is still crisp, refreshing and fun. However, the characters and plot of this novel just didn’t entwine with what I expected. Like holding someone’s hand but the person keeps pulling back. You can reach it and hold it again but the person wouldn't let you hold it so long. I was so disconnected the whole time. Aside from the slow pacing that irritated me, I whole-heartedly couldn’t understand why I feel like I was reading two books at the same time: one contemporary/coming of age and one middle grade/fantasy.

I hated 80 percent of the book. The fanfiction, Cather’s character and I believe I am missing something in the plot. But mostly the fanfiction. This book was so uniquely written but maybe I just wasn’t made for this kind of story. I skipped 80 percent of the fanfiction specifically when Cather’s reading it to Levi. I couldn’t completely connect to it. I hated how a fanfic writer can refuse an opportunity to write an original story. Like, really? REALLY? I hated how awkward Cath was thinking she’s 18 and should be more open-minded to things, like to Wren’s urge for freedom. Seriously, I’ve been to that phase and have seen a lot of people who are socially awkward but not to Cath’s level. She’s like the awkwardest awkward ever. Weird doesn’t even do her justice. At some point, I felt like her weirdness is bordering in mental disorder and that she has to really see a shrink. The fact that a person can live on energy bars alone can be acceptable but trying to suppress hunger to avoid people and to not go to the cafeteria? Absolutely bonkers. No. Unacceptable for normal people. I knew in the pit of my stomach that she isn’t normal. She just isn’t.

Cather’s too clingy also. Not only to her twin but to almost everything. I totally get how hard it is to let go of the things that matter to you most, but at one point in this life, you just really have to. Wren made the right decision to be separated to her. That part I agree on. It would make them have their own identity (only Wren took it too far). However, Cath chose to remain the same. I didn’t see her character progress at all. Like she’s the same old Cath from page one till the end. I was expecting her to at least try to open up but she’s focused only on her fanfiction and almost shuts everyone out. What in the world is normal with that? Ugh. This review is starting to be ranty, I know. I apologize but Cath is probably one of the weakest protagonists I’ve encountered. And I don’t want to ever repeat this hair-pulling experience again. Ever.

I thank the goddess of literature for balancing this novel with Reagan. She’s straight to the point, would have been a little strong at first but definitely knows herself. I wanted to know more about her but since she’s just a supporting character, I know I wouldn’t. I knew that Reagan is going to be a good influence in her own way to Cath and how I wish they spent time together. In short, I enjoyed reading Reagan’s normality in amid of their awkward situation and differences.

Another thing to be thankful for is Levi. Rowell made his character the only character PERFECT for Cath. Imaging a different one for Cath makes my brain hurt. Good thing Levi liked her in spite of her weakness. Levi’s very likeable and I adored how much he’s willing to go for the people/things he like the best. His efforts made me awww the whole time especially at the last 100 pages. He’s respectful and cute and funny and honest. Without Levi and Reagan, this novel would have received a one star rating. Seriously, I couldn’t wrap my mind about THE other things.

I said this a few times but Fangirl is my first Rowell let down book. My giddy expectations of it was because of Eleanor & Park and Attachments, confidently knowing it would knock me off my feet once more but this just didn’t do me any good. It was so weird I kept questioning where this would lead to. I am just glad Cath and Levi worked out for the best in the end. Fangirl and I are seemed to be like oil mixed in water. We wouldn’t mix at all, no matter how you do it, no matter how to try.

Thank you brother Arman for gifting me this one!

"I miss you."
"That's stupid," she said. "I saw you this morning."
"It's not the time," Levi said, and she could hear that he was smiling." It's the distance."
"How do you feel about Gravioli?"
"I like it. Is that what we're having for dinner?"
"No. That's the client I'm on."
"That's the ultimate kind of broken. The kind of damage you never recover from."

4 comments:

  1. Oh no, two stars? I'm so excited pa naman for this book. Anyways, I'll try to read it nalang and see. That cover, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG I just saw this now. Hopefully you did enjoy this!

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  2. Two stars?! I loved Attachments so it's a bit disappointing that this may be a shit book! I'll still give it a go :)

    Kirsten | kirstenlearns.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you loved this, Kirsten! OMG it took me 3 years to reply! Sorry!

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