4.5 Stars



Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
on September 10th 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 433


Reaction Upon Reading: How can it be over?

“Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I’m a complete disaster.”


Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate 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.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

“How do you not like the Internet? That’s like saying, ‘I don’t like things that are convenient. And easy. I don’t like having access to all of mankind’s recorded discoveries at my fingertips. I don’t like light. And knowledge.”


  • Cath
    • Lives in the world of fan fiction – Simon Snow 
    • Cath isn’t ready to be apart from Wren 
    • She struggles with new situations and change 
    • She changes so much throughout the book and becomes such an admirable young woman
    • I love that she never submits to peer pressure of the ‘expectations’ that are out there for a freshman in college 
    • The biggest moment for Cath in my opinion is sticking to her word when Reagen asks her to be her roomate again next year. Old Cath would have gone running to Wren but she is an inpdendent woman now! 
  •  Wren
    • She is independent and ready for adventure
    • She gets lost when trying to find who she is without Cath
    • She makes mistakes and we see her try and resolve these – she isn’t as remorsful as I would have hoped but I think that is realistic reaction for someone her age
    • Everything she goes through is so realistic of the college experience
    • She still reads ‘Carry On’ when they are fighting – probably my favourite Wren moment 
  • There are two plot lines happening at the same time. Cath and her experiences at college run alongside the fan fiction she writes about Simon in his magical world.
  • I like how the events that happen in the fan fiction feel like they are motivated and written from the experiences that Cath is having
  • Reagan
    • She is like the bad-ass friend that every girl needs
    • She is there when Cath needs her and gives Cath enough space to feel like she is herself 
    • I loved how she notices things about Cath like when she wasn’t eating and she showed her the dining hall
    • She refuses to let Cath be pathetic
  • CATH – WREN = Catherine
    • How did I not work that little gem out myself?


  • I wanted more
  • It ended so suddenly that I have so many questions I want answered
    • Did she write the piece of writing for class? What was it about?
    • Is her Dad okay?
    • Why was Wren so mean and closed off? What drove her to drink like that? What happened between her and Courtney?
    • What happens over the summer when Levi goes home to the ranch?
    • What happens to Simon and Baz?
      • Oh wait I will be reading ‘Carry On’ for that!
  • Why isn’t there a sequel for Cath and Wren?
  • As much as I love this book, there is something that holds it back from being a 5 star read. It is missing that something that makes it memorable. I have the same feelings towards ‘Eleanor and Park’. I love Rowell as writer but something is lacking for me to go and say and say ‘You have to read this book, it will change your life’

“Just… isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”

Reactions, Ramblings and Questions:

  • The start of the book makes me anxious. The first interaction is so erratic.
    • I don’t do awkward
  • I didn’t realize until I started to read this book that Carry On is the fan fiction in a whole other book!
    • Carry On is going to be my next read and I went on to Etsy and bought cute Levi and Cath bookmarks for my collection too – can’t wait for them to arrive 
  • Is Simon a gay version of Harry Potter – it all feels very same same
  • I use to write fan fiction when I was 13 – 16
    • I adored the online community and how they would give such amazing praise and feedback
    • I wrote fan fiction for my favourite TV shows – One Tree Hill and The OC
    • I always wanted to write fan fiction for Harry Potter but I felt like that was such a big fandom and I didn’t think I could have done it justice, so instead I read everyone elses
  • I read the book on my tablet and picked up the hard copy to make a bookstagram post. I opened the cover and found an image of the characters
    • So happy I did otherwise I may never have come across that
    • Reagan is so not what I pictured at all 

“Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”

Levi and Cath are perfection. This book is perfection!

I finished the book and couldn’t believe it was over. I still have so many unanswered questions. I felt like it was leading up to this big moment. What I realised, once I put the book down, was that the whole thing was a slow burn. Nothing was rushed or forced, everything happened, just like it would in real life. It was raw with emotion and the content was gritty. The issues Cath & Wren faced were issues anyone could be going through.

I love that it wasn’t just centered around some college romance but around issues that were much bigger. Identity, broken families, abandonment, family, friendships, trying new things, change etc…

Rainbow Rowell writes amazing, honest, real characters. They could be me or you.

Rainbow Rowell has mastered YA Contemporary genre.


Rating Report
Overall: four-half-stars