NOTE/DISCLAIMER: This was originally posted on my Tumblr blog, Read, Run, Ramble. The content was written as part of a book discussion and is not a review (I'll do one of those later). Therefore, there are some ideas, descriptions, and thoughts that are spoiler-ish. So if you haven't read Fangirl chapters 1-12, you may not want to read this post just yet.
Now that we are officially into the first week of discussions, I’ll go ahead and share some thoughts with everyone about chapters 1-12 of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
First, I’m thrilled that Rowell has written a protagonist that is indeed a fangirl. Cath is going to have so many quirks and characteristics that pull us into the story that I’m sure we’ll all feel as if we’ve lived the tale in one form or another! A little about Cath: readers who are fangirls as well as readers who aren’t, will enjoy Cath – she’s anxiety ridden, she’s a sister – a twin sister, she’s a creature of habit, she’s a reader, she’s a writer, she’s practical – she’s so many things that ALL of us are. Another rare characteristic is, Cath isn’t a whiny anxiety ridden girl. When her roommate tells her she is pathetic and so they must be friends Cath very calmly and coolly disagrees. Because there is NOTHING wrong with her and she knows that. Cath may be nervous and introverted, but she knows who she is and I like that!
Secondly, Levi is just…just…well, he’s freaking amazing. Readers will just feel his vibe. Levi just IS. He lives, he breathes, he smiles (oh, how he smiles). Rowell has given us a male lead who isn’t being touted as the next Adonis, he isn’t acting all smarmy, and he’s just an easy going, likable guy. He comes, he goes, he leaves his mark. Levi has standards and he knows how to treat people – it will be impossible for readers to dislike Levi. However, I am torn at this point in the book. Do I want Levi to become a romantic interest for Cath or just a really close friend? More on that later, I’m still thinking and reading on that one.
As for the rest, I have feelings about them all. I’m a bit peeved at Wren, but am trying not to be too hard on her because I can totally see her feeling suffocated and wanting to just move on and be someone separate from her sister. I’m worried about her too – she’s going a little CA-razy with her freedom and I’m not sure where it will land her. Nick, oh Nick. I’m stuck here too – I feel like a romantic interest here would just be too easy, too cookie cutter, but I’m withholding until later as I did with Levi. Reagan is pretty cool and just goes with the flow – she’s the perfect antithesis to Cath. Rowell did a jam up job on characters.
Onto some plot discussion. I was floored by the plagiarism discussion between Cath and Professor Piper. Such a crucial moment for Cath. I mean, fanfic is what she knows best. It is where she is comfortable, and it is where she has made her home, but I think it is great that she met this obstacle so early on because while fanfic is FABULOUS and we all love it, her hopes to go on in creative writing do have to become more independent and she does have to learn to stand with her own writing chops. I think that section gave us so much additional insight into Cath and her fanfic (and into many fanfic writer’s minds/hearts). To them it is THEIR story because they are just using the characters and making something different out of it. They are writing, creating, getting lost in another world and to them it is THEIR world – they haven’t stolen anything and they are always giving credit back to originating authors. Rowell will touch many readers here. She’ll pull in the fanfic writers who feel exactly as Cath does and are just as confused by the professor’s claims – there will be hearts breaking ‘round the globe!
Next we have the parents – what is going on there? Dad may be Bipolar or have some other mental disorder based on some of the content clues we’re getting from Cath. And mom, what exactly happened to mom?
Obviously, there is a lot here to jump into and a lot to digest. Suffice it to say that it may be titled Fangirl, and we may all be fangirling over that aspect, but there is much more going on in this novel than some fawning over Simon and Baz!
*I feel as if I would be slightly remiss if I didn't offer anything on the Simon Snow fandom. I totally adore that it so closely related to/compared to Harry Potter of course (and that there was an HP name dropping incident). Also enjoying the fact that her fandom isn't romanticized (you know, she doesn't love Simon Snow in an “oh-he’s-so-cute-I-want-to-meet-and-marry-him” way). She, like all of us, fell in love with the characters for who they are, what they do, how they survive. Not because they are cute and we want a chance to date them. I love that her fanfic has Simon and Baz crushing on each other which totally takes dating a fangirl out of the equation. I think that is one thing that gets so misconstrued by non-fans. They think it is all physical presence (and then wonder why a mom of two - ahem, ME - could be fangirling over such a young person). Duh – it is because it is the world, the characters, and the adventure that we fall in love with – it goes beyond their looks, their mojo, and their general suaveness (if there even is any).
READ ON FANGIRLS - this is gonna be a fun ride!