To say that Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is good is an understatement. It’s fantastic. It’s brilliant. It’s wonderful. It’s witty and insightful and utterly beautiful. Fangirl is, by far, the best book I’ve read all year.
Starting her freshman year of college with a gruff roommate, a cute writing partner, and an absent twin sister, Cath’s severe social anxiety almost pushes her over the edge. Time and again, Cath finds solace in her Simon Snow fanfiction - a genius hybrid of Harry Potter and Twilight - writing about romance, betrayal, wizards and vampires. Despite Cath’s lack of friends outside her sister, the thousands of followers Cath has on the fanfic boards seem to make up for it. However, it isn’t until she really messes up that Cath realizes she can’t live within her fanfiction forever.
After hearing everyone rave about this book, I knew I had to pick it up.
Cath’s social anxiety is something that I think many people can relate to.
The idea of moving away from home for the first time, being separated from one’s family, and having to start all over in a giant fish bowl is daunting.
This situation begs for self-discovery and growth, which Cath has a hard time embracing. I loved Cath, despite her flaws. She’s intelligent, but she’s afraid to push herself. She’s witty, but too shy to show it. She’s creative, but too stubborn to apply creativity to any story outside of Simon Snow. As someone who constantly struggles with pushing herself, I loved being confronted with a situation that made so much sense to me. That transition from any tiny comfortable fish pond to a deep dark ocean doesn’t just apply to those moving from high school to college.
The story itself even made me want to return to college, and maybe even sign up to live in the dorms. Who knows, maybe I’ll start writing my own fanfiction? This is one of those books you won’t be able to put down. Trust me, you’ll be up reading until 3am and you’ll force yourself to stay up another two hours while you really contemplate what you just read. Then you’ll have to go back and reread several scenes just to relive the magic of them. And for those of you romance junkies out there, fear not. There’s plenty of romance to go around. Although, you might have to fight me for him.
If you haven’t already given in to the hype of Fangirl, just do it. You really won’t regret it. The splendor of this novel is something that will last with you for weeks, months, maybe even years after it’s over. So, what are you waiting for?
--Reviewed by Anna, Books Inc. Palo Alto
Quite possibly the greatest vampire novel I have ever read. This is not merely hyperbole; Robin McKinley has created a world of magic, detailing the aftermath of a war against vampires and demons with an end result of government-registered magic. Where the only good demon is a part-blood demon and that’s only if your “power” is the kind that pours the hottest cup of coffee. I dare you to read this book without wanting Sunshine’s cinnamon rolls ‘big as your head’ or a slice of her ‘death by chocolate.’ The romance is believable but not over the top as some other glittery vampire novels. Constantine will win your heart but you will want Sunshine to be your best friend. This summer marks the fourth re-reading and every time I discover something new. This is my chicken soup book and the novel I purchase for friends whenever I’m wondering what to get them for a birthday or I think it is time they learn how well vampires and baking go together.
--Reviewed by Renee from Books Inc. Market Street
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