miércoles, 25 de septiembre de 2013

'Fangirl' by Rainbow Rowell

Urban Dictionary defines 'fangirl' as: A rabid breed of human female who is obesessed with either a fictional character or an actor. Similar to the breed of fanboy. Fangirls congregate at anime conventions and livejournal. Have been known to glomp, grope, and tackle when encountering said obesessions.

So, I guess that from the title of this book, and being able to add two and two, you can kind of figure out what it is about. True, that's the title of this book, alright, but the great thing is that it's not only about fangirling. It's also about Cath. And Wren. And, oh well, maybe yes, maybe it is also about fangirling over Simon Snow.

Cath is a freshman in college. She is also a twin, an identical twin. When her twin and her were eight years old, something in their lives changed and they kind of tried to fill that void with something new they’d just learned about, and instantly became obsessed with, Simon Snow. You might wonder who that Simon Snow is, it's only reasonable, and let's say, Simon Snow is a book character, but he's THE book character. And for them, it is their whole world. Or it was. Cath isn't very sure about her sister anymore.
Fast forward to Cath and Wren going to college. Fast forward to trying to make the first friends, maybe even going to a few parties, maybe even meeting some new.
Sounds pretty typical to me, doesn't it? Well maybe it is, which doesn't make it less great.
I think this book fell into my hands exactly at the right time. I read it in a day and a half, maybe? Yeah, I really liked it.

I'm saying it was at the right time that I read it, because I am in my senior year of high school, and like many, many others on the internet, I did relate to Cath an awful lot. I started this book on Saturday night, right after watching Tavi Gevinson's talk at the Sidney Opera House from this summer (you can find it here) which is basically her giving some real life advice to every human being on Earth (bless this kid). In it, she talks about how much of our teenage years -memories, opinions, beliefs, etc- are defined by our personal points of view (duh) and how she believes that our world view, and of course the view we have of ourselves, are incredibly shaped by our obsessions and likes and EVERYTHING. She talks about how she didn't feel genuine or original because she'd probably would be really different had she lived in a pre-internet world, having found most of the things that are most important to her now through it.
Well, with Cath, it's kind of the opposite. Not in the I'm-just-a-fangirl part, but in the wanting to maybe keep off of the internet part. She lives in the internet, and she loves it. She writes fanfiction that thousands of people read, and she probably has more on-line friends than friends on real life. Wait, scratch that probably. Especially right when she gets to college, Cath doesn't have any friends. She'd always been one with her sister, but her sister clearly didn't want to be one with her anymore. Then there was her dad, who she feels really depends on her and adds to the pressure. Will she be able to get out of her self-inflicted bubble?
Let's hope so, 'cause a lot awaits outside.

This book... This book was good. It was really good, actually. It's a simple, happy, 'feel-good' book, and that's great. At the same time, however, and while it still followed a very simple premise, the story of Cath and Wren (and maybe even Simon Snow!) is still relatable and just rings really true to home. It helps you to figure out some of your own fears, like I really understood Cath when it came to her fear of writing her own fiction (whenever I try to write my own stuff it just turns out horribly), and also, to a much lesser degree, to the fear of separation and opening up to people, because even when your outside might be full-on-bubbly, it can still be hard to let the inside out.
As of the prose and the writing, I can only say that this is the third book by Rainbow Rowell that I’ve read, and it is the third book of hers that I have loved. I guess there’s lots of books which are able to make you say ‘it made me laugh and cry and smile and blablabla’ and this might be one of them, if you’re a crier (which I kind of sort of are, but not really) it might make you cry. If you aren’t, it might just make you really serious and frustrated at the main characters at some parts.
I guess I haven’t said it yet, but this book has great secondary characters, which you get to enjoy and watch grow since the start.  I have to say though, the only thing that I didn’t enjoy as much were maybe the excerpts taken from either the ‘Simon Snow’ books or the fan-fiction. However, I totally get why they were included and I don’t think they are useless to the plot or anything like that, just maybe a little too long. 

these are some cookies with the characters' faces from the author's facebook page

All in all, ‘Fangirl’ is a really great, really light, really true book.

You can buy 'Fangirl' (with free worldwide delivery!), here, and visit the author's website here. You should also check out her other two books, 'Eleanor & Park' and 'Attachments' because I've read them both and they are both great. 
'Fangirl' has actually been chosen as the first official book for the new tumblr book club! (If you decide to read it with the internet, the htag is #reblogbookclub.)

If you liked this review, I am planning on writing some more over at my Goodreads page, which is here
Enjoy whatevs you're reading,
Sofía xx

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