Author: Rainbow Rowell
Rating: 2 / 5 stars
As someone who had a major obsession with Harry Potter (because, let’s face it, Simon Snow is definitely a fictitious parallel to the Boy Who Lived) until the HBP came out, I thought I would enjoy Fangirl. Especially since I dabbled in fanfiction myself back in high school and early college before life got in the way. But I could not get into this book at all (to be fair, I didn’t actually read it. I listened to the audiobook for almost a month).
The main character, Cath, is so annoying that sometimes while sitting at a red light on my way home from work, I wanted to reach through the CD player and punch her. She doesn’t like writing fiction, only fanfiction. It’s a fundamental premise of this novel that carries through for almost an entire year, or at least through two semesters of Cath’s freshman year. AND YET, she signs up for a junior level fiction writing class? If you only like playing with other people’s worlds and characters, why would you sign up for a higher level fiction writing class in the first place? And then she puts off and puts off and puts off writing a 10,000 short story for two semesters, even though it leaves her with a huge gaping incomplete in her degree audit. But does she care? It hardly seems so.
And it isn’t just Cath. It feels like every single character in this novel is so one dimensional. Cath, the bookworm uber fan goody too-shoes. Wren, the opposite identical twin that takes the freshman experience to the extreme. Levi, the “bad boy” that has a soft spot for our main character (what kind of guy wants to spend all night listening to fanfiction for a book series he’s never even read?). Even Nick and the two roommates show no character development or dynamics in the story.
As for the plot, I’ve never heard of Simon Snow, so spending a third of the novel listening to fanfiction and excerpts from make believe novels was just a waste of time. It felt like padding for Rowell to flush out a subpar plot to get to a decent word count to get published. Very few parts of the Simon Snow portions seemed to relate in any way to Cath and what she was going through in her life.
Perhaps I just do not take well to audiobooks as a medium for novels, but Fangirl was definitely not for me. I could have spent that whole month listening to the new Calvin Harris or Red albums.