Rainbow Rowell, I'm Your Fangirl!

August 5, 2013 Blogging, Coming of Age, Contemporary Fiction, Family, Friendship 44

Hiya Bookworms!

It’s Monday, but today we’re going to talk about Rainbow Rowell’s new release, so it officially sucks MUCH LESS! Remember last week when I told you all about my BlogHer experience and how the awesome folks at St. Martin’s Press were doling out free books? I saw Fangirlsitting there and tried to appear professional and interesting, while my innards were all a-squiggle. Rainbow Rowell’s new book!!! I basically received this book as swag from the publisher. They were handing out books to tons of people who were never going to write about them on their blogs. I’m going to put it out there as a full disclosure anyway, because I’m SUPER ethical. (So dang ethical I deserve a cape and a headband, y’all.)

As you may recall, my love of Eleanor & Park (review) was intense. I’ve been waiting to read Rowell’s earlier book Attachmentspartially because I was afraid it wouldn’t be able to live up to Eleanor & Park. Luckily, by putting a free copy of Fangirl straight into my crazy hands I was able to overcome the fear and read more Rowell.

FangirlFangirl is about a girl named Cath and her first year away at college. She’s a twin, but her sister Wren has decided that she wants to try striking out on her own a bit. Cath is left to fend for herself, and she drowns her sorrows in fanfiction. In Rowell’s world, there’s a Harry Potter-esque series of books about a boy wizard named Simon Snow. Cath and her sister Wren spent their childhoods obsessing over the characters and became very active in the fandom. In fact, Cath’s fanfiction pieces? They get thousands upon thousands of hits daily. She’s got some serious talent, but can’t seem to break free of the imaginary world someone else created. There’s a lot of love and growing up and universal college experiences in this book. I just freaking LOVED IT.

A couple of things I loved. First. Cath and Wren are identical twins. Their mother was unaware she was having twins, and had only chosen one name, Catherine. Instead of coming up with another name, she just split the one she had in half. Cather and Wren. My Mother-in-Law has been threatening for years that the family is due for a set of twins. While I find twins wonderful and adorable, the idea of dealing with two newborns simultaneously is more than a little daunting. I told my MIL that if I had twins, I’d name them both Seamus, you know, as punishment for making me birth two at once. (That is a true story, but I was obviously joking. Now that I’ve got Rowell’s inspiration, I’d name them Sea and Mus.)

Second. Levi! This character comes into the picture as Cath’s roommate’s ex? boyfriend. He hangs around a LOT, which annoys the snot out of Cath… At first. Levi is a farm boy. He hails from a tiny town in rural Nebraska and majors in Ranch Management (Yes. That IS a thing.) Cath is from Omaha, and while it doesn’t sound very metropolitan to most of the world, it’s as urban as Nebraska gets. I SO had this experience in college! (I was from the Chicago suburbs and went to school in the middle of the state. There were kids who thought that our campus of like 80% white kids was diverse. It was weird.) Anyway. While I was in college, I totally met my very own Levi (minus any romantic undertones.He’s a good friend of my husband and is now married to a really fabulous woman. They have a 2 year old boy who is just about the cutest thing in the world. He loves books!)

The thing about Levi and “Steve” (spontaneous pseudonym) is that they are the kind of guys who would go out of their way to walk you home from the library after dark. The guy you could call to change your tire if you were living alone and didn’t know how to do it yourself (or did know how to do it yourself in theory but would rather have someone who actually knew how to fix cars do it in practice.) Needless to say, I mentally pictured Levi looking exactly like my friend, even if he was a little more rodeo where my friend is more muscle car.

I don’t know if it’s my adoration of Harry Potter that made me relate to the fangirl in Cath… Maybe it was her slightly awkward college experience that got me. Sure, her experience was significantly weirder and worse than mine, but the same way Eleanor & Park captured that high school feeling, Fangirl captured college. The whole learning to detach from your parents thing? The character that reminded me of my pal Steve? The EVERYTHING of it all? So much YES. Rainbow Rowell, I am now your fangirl. If I ever meet you, I’ll be the girl who breaks her leg tripping over her shoelace on the way up to the table where you’re signing books. If you could sign my cast instead of my book, that’d be cool too.

So Bookworms! Obviously, one of the biggest things that stuck out for me in this book was that Levi reminded me of my buddy Steve. Have you ever read a book that had a character that was SO TOTALLY someone you know? Tell me about it!

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44 Responses to “Rainbow Rowell, I'm Your Fangirl!”

  1. A.M.B.

    This book sound right up my alley! I really liked Rowell’s “Attachments,” and as the mother of identical twin girls (which is actually a lot of fun!), I love reading books that feature that type of sibling relationship. It’s interesting that this novel also touches on fan fiction (I’m not a fan fiction author, but I wrote about the legality of such derivative works and Kindle Worlds in my most recent post). So, all around, this sounds like a good book for me! Thanks for the review!

    • Words for Worms

      Yes! This book will speak to you on so many levels! The twin thing (which, BTW, yours are REALLY stinking cute. That hair!) and the fanfic legality- there’s totally discussion of that. You need to read this. Sept 10. Pre-ordering is available :).

      • A.M.B.

        Yeah, a pre-ordered it! Thanks for the nudge! I’m very interested in know what she wrote about the legality of fan fiction. I’m looking forward to reading it!

  2. Helen @ My Novel Opinion

    Your reviews never fail in making me laugh 🙂 Such a delight to read, especially on a Monday morning! Anyway, I’ve never read anything by Rainbow Rowell but I see her books everywhere, I figure at some point I’m going to have to pick one up and give it a try. And I think Sea & Mus would make excellent penguin names…not so much actually children but definitely penguins 🙂

    • Words for Worms

      Glad I can put a little sunshine into your Monday! 🙂 Sea and Mus for penguins… I can see that happening. I have a blog friend who works in a zoo- I wonder if I could convince her to let me have a hand in naming a penguin… Assuming they name them by something other than numbers, of course.

  3. Megan M.

    I want to read this so bad! Attachments is good, go for it! I’m buying Fangirl ASAP. Rainbow Rowell’s Tumblr is also something to be admired. The woman does everything well.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book character that reminded me of someone (except for myself) but I will tell you that Leslie Knope on Parks and Rec is EXACTLY my best friend Heather if she had gone into government service. EXACTLY. It’s like they stole her soul or something. And she looks similar to Amy P. too! It makes me love Parks and Rec even more, especially since my bestie and I now live states away from each other, which is the worst ever.

  4. Charleen

    “or did know how to do it yourself in theory but would rather have someone who actually knew how to fix cars do it in practice”

    Ha! This is pretty much where I’m at. I watched my mom do it once and she sort of walked me through it since I was… I dunno, maybe 14 at the time? Close to driving age though not quite there. A decade and a half later I’ve never had to use that knowledge, and I feel like I could maybe do it myself if the situation arose, but I’d be much more afraid of just screwing it up.

    • Words for Worms

      Right? I mean, I’m all about being a self sufficient woman, but once those thingies are rusted on, changing a tire requires upper body strength I just don’t have. Plus, I’d probably do it wrong and have my donut fall off in the middle of the highway and it would be tragic and horrible. Thank heaven for Steve!

  5. Samantha

    I loved Eleanor and Park as well, and definitely want to read Attachments, and now Fangirl! Rowell fangirls, nothing wrong with that.

  6. Andi (@estellasrevenge)

    I’m reading this now, so I just sort of gave your review the skimmy-skim, but I see that you loved it! And I’m glad. I don’t know if I love it yet, but I’m only about 1/3 of the way in. It’s gonna be hard to live up to Eleanor and Park!

    • Words for Worms

      My library is the same way with digital copies. Slow to acquire, then the wait list is endless. This is why I cash in all my credit card points for Amazon gift cards. They own my soul.

  7. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    I’ve only read E&P. I loved it so much that I want to read EVERYTHING else Rowell has written or ever WILL write. One of these days. Gah, I need more time in a the days!

    Hey, loving the yellow here today, my fave!

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