Published by Macmillan on September 1st 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Source: My copy
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Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.
Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . . .
Have you ever been part of a fandom? Thought about what might happen next in the story? Collected random snippets compulsively on Pinterest? (Okay maybe that’s just me.) This book is for you.
Cath’s twin sister Wren is embracing college life, going to parties and making new friends. Quiet, socially anxious Cath, on the other hand, doesn’t even know where the dining room is. She would much prefer to sit in her room and write fanfiction in the magical world of Simon Snow. But with Cath’s new roommate Reagan comes her best friend, Levi. As Cath struggles through her freshman year, Levi and Reagan are never far away.
I’d really only heard about Fangirl in the last year or so in the build up to the release of Carry On in October. I heard so many great things from various people around the internet that I impulse-bought it in a bookshop recently.
After reading it, I can totally understand why so many people in the YA book reviewer circles loved it so much. Cath is us, people. I’ll confess to preferring to sit at home and read or play computer games rather than go out partying during my uni years. Cath did frustrate me at times with her reluctance to warm to Levi, but most of the time she was completely adorable and her relationship dramas with her family were heartbreaking.
So Cath is writing an ongoing fanfic posted online in instalments, called Carry On, Simon. Basically, Simon Snow is another long series, similar but not meant to replace Harry Potter (HP also exists in this story). In the original series, Simon and Basil are enemies, much like Harry and Draco Malfoy. In Cath’s fic, they are in love. I loved the fanfic aspects of the story! It’s such a joy to be able to play in a world that already exists, to be able to work out what happens next for yourself. The real world of fanfic is a bit of a minefield, as you can imagine – but there is a wealth of well-written, exciting stories out there that can be tricky to find, but exist for just about any fandom you can think of.
I also have to mention that the section where they line up at midnight to get their copies of the eighth Simon Snow book took me right back to doing the same thing for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! The excitement for those events is such a great feeling and I think that was captured well in Fangirl.
There’s just a half-star off for the slow patch through the middle, and also for Cath weirding me out with her descriptions of Levi’s “doll-like” mouth. I will be very excited to read Carry On though, because I’m curious about Simon and Baz. I’m also a huge Harry Potter fangirl myself so it should be right up my alley!