I decided on a whim to purchase Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell on Kindle because I had never read one of her books before and it was only $5.
I absolutely loved it. I couldn't even put it down. I finished it in two days and afterwards got pulled into a reading slump. It was my favorite thing that I've read all year.
But it also really disappointed me.
Even though it's my favorite book that I've read this year, it's not the best book I read this year. I so wanted this to be a five-star read, but I would feel like a liar if I pretended that it was. The problems I had were few, but they were major.
Things I Loved
- Setting & Concept
The main character is a Freshman in college. In the 21st century! AND SHE WRITES FANFICTION. Why aren't there more books like this?
Well, mainly just one character. I LOVED LEVI SO MUCH.
- Modern-day references
There were references to Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and Twilight and Battlestar Galactica (didn't get that one, though) and I actually understood them! Yay!
- It was really relatable
Okay, I don't have a twin sister and I've never written fanfiction before, but other than that I felt like me and Cath could be the same person. I do have a sister and I am somewhat of a fangirl. *cough* Legend of Korra obsessed *cough*We both write stuff. We both have social anxiety (I completely understand stocking up on peanut butter and being afraid to go to the cafeteria. BEEN THERE.) English majors, leaving home for the first time. WE EVEN HAVE THE SAME BIRTHSTONE. It was freaky sometimes, how much I could relate to her. But I loved it.
- No action/conflict
There's a little bit of conflict here and there, but there is no upward climb. What was the climax of this book? I'm not even sure I know. I got halfway through and wondered where it was going, then I finally thought I figured it out when I realized I was at 90% and it was ending.
- Everything got wrapped up too neatly
There were hints of conflict here and there and I was waiting for them all to come together, but they never did. There was a problem, then it was magically solved, and that was that. Everything was a little bit too perfect.
- Harry Potter references broke the 4th wall
Okay, so Cath writes fanfiction based on a series about a magician named Simon Snow. The way it's described, it's obvious that Simon Snow is based on Harry Potter (fourth movie where everyone forgot to cut their hair? Yes. Definitely based on HP). But then, right in the middle of the book, a character throws out an actual Harry Potter reference. It almost made my brain explode. I just sat there staring at it, dumbfounded. How am I supposed to imagine a world in which both of these fandoms exist simultaneously? THEY ARE ESSENTIALLY THE SAME. There is no way that they both could have been global phenomenons if they were released during the same time. It totally threw off the whole thing for me.
- THAT ENDING?!
I'm not going to give out any spoilers, but the ending was not clear at all. It was super disappointing. I had to reread the last two chapters to make sure I didn't miss something. There's a few subtle things there, but it's not executed very well and is more confusing than anything. I had to look it up online to see what other people were saying. I went to my trusty website Shmoop and discovered that their synopsis over the ending is actually incorrect. People on Goodreads had a much better explanation. But even the ones that made sense were still disappointing. There was so much more potential there.
I had no idea what was in store for me going in, and I loved it from the start. But I really thought there would be more there, and it ultimately left me disappointed and slightly confused. And in a reading slump.
currently listening to: Asami and Hiroshi/Korra Airbends (Legend of Korra Book One Soundtrack) by Jeremy Zuckerman