Skip to main content

Weekly Reviews and Recommendations: Week 30 Part 2

Hello, everyone! Today (I know, a day late, but by the time I was going to post it yesterday I decided I might as well wait till now) I have one of my all time favorite books reviewed for you. I love how Rainbow portrays anxiety in this book. I also loved getting to hear about another writer and word counts and random writer-like things like that while reading. As you can see from the picture, I read this during Harvey, and it made not having power kinda (not really) okay.
Also, I'm only a few days away from seeing John Green! I still cannot believe I'm going. On Friday, I posted my two fold book/ movie review for The Fault In Our Stars  in preparation for this week. It's linked below, and from that article, you can find all my other John Green reviews. The one for TATWD comes out Wednesday!


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (438 pages)
Overview: Cath is going into her freshman year as a ball of nerves and anxiety. Actually, that's kind of how Cath's gone into everything her entire life. But this time it's different because she won't have her twin sister, Wren, by her side. Even though she's only a dormitory away, Wren has drawn a clear line between them, finally stepping out on her own leaving Cath to navigate a seemingly hostile roommate and her cute best friend, a fellow student in fiction writing class who could be more than friends, and the classes themselves. She's also lost her favorite writing partner for her highly successful Fanfiction account Magicath where she twists the world of famous book characters from the Simon Snow series. And beyond dealing with her little world on the Lincoln, Nebraska, college campus, Cath also worries about her bipolar father who is alone for the first time in eighteen years and her mother who wants to walk back into her life after being absent for a decade. There's clearly a lot going on, and Rowell follows her through her entire freshman year of college creating a unique story that is unspeakably true to any real experience in life. Overall: 5+++++

General Thoughts: My list of all time favorite books just got a new edition, and Fangirl might just take the top spot. This book grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let me go. I ate up Cath's world, and, while I wanted it to last forever, I also never wanted to stop. The torrential downpours of Tropical Storm Harvey gave me an excuse to curl up and spend a full two days finishing this book. I honestly can't believe I didn't read this sooner because it really was everything I love and identify with. The romance is perfect, Cath's anxiety hit really close to my own experience with it, and Cath's a writer, and all the little bits about writing and word counts and deadlines really made my heart happy because I'd never met a character who was a writer that the audience ever really saw writing or accomplishing word counts. Maybe it was the idea that the book is billed as so fanfiction centric based on a series that doesn't exist, I'm not sure. But that fear was totally disproven. I'll talk more about that below.

Characters: 5 There are so many amazing characters in this book it's hard to make sure I say everything I want to about them. Since the world centers on Cath, I'll start with her. Cath struggles with anxiety, and Rowell illustrates the feelings perfectly as well as how it seeps into just about everything even when you want to just shut off that part of your brain. Cath is also very intelligent and self motivated, even if she can't recognize that strength in herself instead only believing that it comes in outwardly forms like that displayed by her sister or roommate, Regan. She's unsure of exactly what she wants even if she has a broad idea, and she really can't decide what to put first in her life now that she has a choice. Cath, who is now my favorite character of all time, only maybe in competition of Theodore Finch, is just so perfect for every way she is imperfect and relatable and human. You really just have to read this book.
The other characters are so realistic as well. Cath's twin sister, Wren, really wants to break out on her own and have a college "experience" which causes her to fall into some dangerous situations that both strain and repair her relationship with Cath. Her father's bipolar disorder is also a major concern for Cath as she feels very protective of both her other family members. He is presented very honestly, and Rowell shows all the sides to Cath's father and really makes the reader understand just how important family, or who Cath chooses to deem as family, is to her.
Then there is Regan, her roommate, who becomes a best friend for Cath and even a guide into this unknown world for Cath, having all the worldly knowledge Cath hasn't had the opportunity to acquire. I love how Regan's a bit hard around the edges, and they don't have a conventional friendship.
Finally, the two boys who really play a major role in Cath's life are Nick and Levi. Nick is a student in Cath's fiction writing class she starts working with on a project. He's a character that will keep you guessing and honestly surprised me. Then there's Levi, Regan's best friend who's constantly hanging around. The chemistry between Cath and Levi is so strong from the beginning, but Rowell keeps readers guessing if that relationship will ever grow to anything more.

Plot: 5 This plot is the story of Cath's life taking the reader through both fall and spring semester of her freshman year. And it does just that, letting us into every portion of her life showing some of the academic with the ever conflict bringing Fiction-Writing course with Professor Piper, her family situation, bringing in her inner conflict over her mother trying to come back into her life and Cath wanting to protect her family, and her social life including romance and new situations that push her past her comfort zones into a new world that offers Cath many more opportunities if she wants to take them. It also lets us into Cath's world on the internet with her giant fanfiction for her Simon Snow stories which she holds onto as kind of a last link to her childhood over which she is fiercely protective.

Writing: 5 I was impressed by Eleanor and Park, I am completely blown away by Fangirl. Even trying to dissect the writing and plot to judge this is impossible this book is such a modern masterpiece. Because it's life. Rainbow Rowell has taken someone's real life and put it into words on a page that's more of a looking glass into Cath's world than a reading experience. The pages ceased to exist. And while this is what books are supposed to do, few execute so well as Rowell has here.
To try to dig in a bit to the more technical aspects of this writing besides me rambling about picking up my jaw off the floor, Rowell has me in awe all over again because she wrote this book in third person. And I hardly noticed. I don't have an intentional bias against third person, I just often run into issues with the giant brick wall it usually puts up between the readers and the main character. She has overcome this completely, drawing me entirely into Cath's world and her brain. I feel like I know Cath better than most first person characters who's minds I've actually walked around in entirely.That's just how good this is.
Also, This book is 438 pages long. That was daunting, even for me, and I know I can finish books easily in two days. But you hardly even notice. You'll finally put your bookmark in to get a snack or something and realize the majority of the pages are now behind you. And that's because Fangirl is this long because it absolutely has to be. It's been edited incredibly and is paced to perfection unlike most books that top 320 pages where I comment they needed a better editor.
And, finally, don't let Simon Snow or fanfiction scare you away if you aren't super familiar or involved. Every chapter starts with a one page snippet of Simon, either from the technical "books" or from Cath's fanfiction which makes you "get" the world enough without really having to ever work at it. The fanfiction component too is something that all writers, of fanfiction or regular fiction, can identify with, and the idea and perception of this whole fanfiction universe is explored in a really interesting way throughout the narrative.

A Final Note: I had a friend who barely reads for anything outside of school tell me that Fangirl was the only book she'd ever liked. I think that might be the highest endorsement I can give for any work of literature. Any book that makes someone realize that books can be amazing and bring joy is a book worth an A+.

Links of Interest:
The Fault In Our Stars: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/10/the-book-and-movie-fault-in-our-stars.html
Week 30: Our Chemical Hearts: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/10/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_11.html

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and check out our other articles ranging from book reviews to poetry and short stories to editorials. To get updates about new posts and extras, please follow us on Instagram (@readingwritingandme), Twitter (@readwriteandme), and Facebook or sign up for email alerts by clicking the subscribe button at the top of the sight. Also, please leave comments or email us (readingwritingandme@gmail.com) with your thoughts or review requests. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha

My Most Anticipated of 2021/2021 ARC TBR

  A few days ago, I put out a list of my favorite books of the year that I couldn't stop talking about all year long. Now I'm here to introduce you to a brand new slate of books that I'm predicting will make my favorites list next year. These are the books I can't wait to get my hands on because they sound absolutely amazing! I've decided to separate the list into an ARC TBR so far for 2021 of ARCs I have and then to make a wishlist section below that with ARCs I hope to get or books that I'll splurge to buy. I'll include preorder links to the books that are already up for preorder so that you can easily grab a couple surprise gifts to show up throughout the year if any of these books look exciting! These will be affiliate bookshop links which means shopping the links support the blog at no cost to you. Also, if you're looking for even more 2021 books, Rachel and Vicky made the most amazing database/spreadsheet/blog to collect all the 2021 debuts togethe

More Than Maybe Review

More Than Maybe  by Erin Hahn (May 2020) Overview: Vada works at a dive bar, scraping together money for college and learning about running from a show her soon to be step-dad to get closer to her future dreams. She also runs the Loud Lizard's successful music blog Behind the Music. Vada is about to head off to LA and start working towards her music journalism dreams, but she has to make it through senior year first. Luke Greenly is the son of famous British punk rocker, Charlie Greenly. The whole family has set down roots in Michigan where his mom works at the university, but remnants of his dad's past life still follow them. Luke loves writing songs but hates performing, and, because of his dad, he's been thrust into the spotlight more than he'd like. For now, he'd rather stick to making successful podcast The Grass Is Greenly with his twin brother, Cullen, and hopelessly pining after Vada through stalking Behind the Music. Overall: 5 Characters: 5 Vada is a

Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon: YA Book Review

Super Fake Love Song  by David Yoon Overview: Sunny Dae is sick of his California neighborhood where everyone pretends to be something they're not to keep up with all the other rich families. He's happy in his own world, LARPing with his friends, even if he gets made fun of for it at school. That is until Cirrus comes into the picture. She's undeniably cool and he's undeniably a loser in everyone's eyes, so he finds a new personality. He borrows a life from the coolest person he used to know, his older brother Gray, who's on his way to becoming a rockstar. Of course, lies like that always fall apart, and the music industry is unforgiving. It's a long fall from the top. Overall: 3  Characters: 3 This is the weirdest book I've ever read, which I'll get into more later. One part of that is the book is basically only told in details. You'd think this would help with characterization, but so many characters are left completely flat. Sunny is unashamed

Positions Book Tag

Today, I'm sharing a new book tag created by Cielo over at Bellerose Reads who tagged me in her new Positions book tag. I love working on book tags inspired by pop music, so I was thrilled to get the tag. If I'm being totally honest, I wasn't super into Positions, Ariana Grande's latest album. I'm much more of a Thank U Next fan because that album was far more lyrically focused. Positions reminds me a lot of Sweetener. I do like "POV", the closing track of the album. Still, I'm super excited to share the tag because these are some of the best tag questions I've ever seen. Cielo did a wonderful job coming up with really cool prompts. I had a blast thinking of books that fit them. As always, just click the book title to read my review of any of the books I mentioned. And don't forget to read the original tag here .    shut up – a book you couldn’t shut up about  There are way too many. Honestly, a ton of them are already sprinkled through this po

evermore book tag!

As you probably know, I absolutely adore Taylor Swift, and I recently did a folklore book tag, so I figured I should make a version of evermore as well! If you want to read that post, you can find it here . And if you want all my thoughts on folklore, you can watch my original folklore reaction on my YouTube channel here.   I'm so happy to have found an evermore book tag I loved created by  Star Is All Booked Up ! That post is linked (I really enjoyed it!), and those are the prompts I'm using here.  In this tag, I just talked about books for the prompts and didn't get into the songs. If you want more of my evermore thoughts specifically, check out my blog post of favorite lyrics here and my new reaction to evermore here . You can also scroll to the bottom of the post to watch the video as well. If you want to know more about any of the books I mention, all of their titles are linked to my review.  I hope you love the post, and let me know your favorite evermore songs in the

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant: YA Book Review

  Happily Ever Afters  by Elise Bryant  Overview: Tessa gets the writing opportunity of her dreams, but her words run out at the same time. While she can't wait to take a novel writing class at her new school, the idea of sharing her work with anyone but her best friend, Caroline, makes her unable to keep writing, even for herself. Caroline devises a plan to get her to fall in love so that she can jumpstart her creative juices for the romances Tessa writes herself into. Real life inspiration is clearly not the answer, and Tessa is left even further from the answer to all of her problems. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 While I knew this book was going to have a kind of forced dating situation as Tessa tried to get this boy to fall for her, I didn't predict the love triangle till I started reading. I'm not going to fault Bryant for using a love triangle because everyone does it, but I do have to note that these characters fall into the unfortunate side effect of most love triangles

This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry: YA Book Review

  This Will Be Funny Someday  by Katie Henry Overview: Izzy is sick of being 16. She's sick of being the "easy kid" who never causes a problem for the family or demands attention. Her mom is always busy working at her law firm, and her dad just isn't super invested. School is awful, and her controlling boyfriend makes her question what it means to be in love. And then she stumbles into a bar on comedy night, and suddenly, she finds a world so different from her own- one that's better. Though it requires maintaining more than a few lies, this new life with her college friends is too good to give up. That is, until it all comes crashing down. About growing up, being your authentic self, and navigating intense relationships for the first time, this book is incredibly relatable and quite unique in the way it approaches common YA questions. Overall: 5 Characters: 5 I relate to Izzy on a deep, deep level. From the second I read the synopsis, I knew the book was going to

Coming Up in February 2021: Can't Miss YA

It's almost February which means it's time for tons of brand new books. I picked the five I was most excited about to spotlight in this post! There's a mix of past favorite authors (like Courtney Summers and Phil Stamper) and some new authors I can't wait to read for the first time! I'm so excited to dive into these soon. A couple are on my ARC TBR, and the rest I put in library requests for. If you have a local library, placing a request for a book purchase from your library is a great, free way to get new books. You help the author with a sale, and the library also offers them more exposure to new readers!  If you do want to add some of these books to your personal collection, I will be adding purchase links that go to Bookshop to this post. Clicking the affiliate link means that the blog might get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Shopping these Bookshop links is a great way to support the blog, authors, and independent bookstores!  The Project by Court