Summary: A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.
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?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
My thoughts: 433 pages later, and it's still really hard to believe that the woman who wrote Eleanor & Park wrote this. That book left me with an open wound. Fangirl left me smiling cheesily. And I'm not trying to dismiss the hard parts of this book. The character's problems in Eleanor & Park were front and center for everyone to see, but Fangirl, not so much. Regardless, there's still lots of problems. Problems with siblings. Problems with family. Problems with boys. And problems with trying to be whole when people took pieces from you long ago. But all these troubles are intermixed with a lot of relatable good-natured positive aspects. Like new friendships, first loves, forgiveness, and an awareness of oneself like never before.
And Fangirl speaks to me! The way Anna from Anna and the French Kiss did when I found out she wrote movie reviews. In a way, Cath is us!... Or better yet, Cath is me. The girl who is perfectly contempt with spending time with characters on a Friday night rather than going to a party, making pleasantries, and getting drunk (and the fact that I just said "making pleasantries and getting drunk" probably proves my point).
For me, this story wasn't hard hitting. But I don't think it needed to be. I don't need every good book to break my heart. Sometimes I just need one that can heal it.