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Fangirl: A Novel Hardcover – September 10, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 1,294 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rainbow Rowell's Playlist

Seth Kahan
Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is a coming-of-age novel that is smart, funny, and genuine. Fangirl takes place during Cather Avery's first year of college, learning who she is when stripped down to just Cath--not the twins Cath & Wren and not Magicath, her fan fiction pen name.

Through all the changes, both difficult and thrilling, one part of her old life still makes as much sense in her dorm room as it did in her childhood bedroom--the Emergency Kanye Party. When the going gets tough in this story, the tough crank up Kanye West, sing out loud and dance until they feel better. Check out Rowell's Fangirl playlist below to see what other music played a part in this story.

"I Wonder" – Kanye West: So Cath, the main character of Fangirl has a Kanye West thing; he's sort of her Patronus. This song lays out how lost Cath is at the beginning of the book. "You ever wonder what it all really mean? You wonder if you'll ever find your dreams?"

"Cath" – Death Cab for Cutie: I think this song might be the reason I chose the name "Cath." The lyrics don't fit my Cath, but the feelings do. More loss, more lost.

"Heaven's on Fire" – The Radio Dept.: I use songs to help me get into the right mood and frame of mind when I'm writing a scene. This song, for me, is Cath's first few weeks of college – when she feels all caught up, and completely overwhelmed, by the activity. When she's overdosing on new and other.

"Paranoid" – Kanye West feat. Mr. Hudson: When things hit bottom for Cath, she throws herself an Emergency Kanye Dance Party. I can see her jumping on her bed to this song. "You worry bout the wrong things, the wrong things."

"American Boy" – Estelle feat. Kanye West: Required listening for every Emergency Kanye Dance Party. Plus, it's happy and bouncy, so that reminds me of Cath's friend Levi, who joins the party.

"Brandy Alexander" – Feist: When Cath finally falls in love, she almost resents how easy it is. She resents that she can't help it. This song is so sweet and seductive and irresistible – which is exactly how Cath sees the guy she's falling for.

"I See You, You See Me" – The Magic Numbers: This is another reluctant love song – about two people who sort of back into love. When it gets to "This is not what I'm like, this is not what I do" – I think of Cath and the way she tries to reject her feelings. Like she's allergic to them.

"Love Letters" – Jude: There's a part of the book when just about everybody regrets their behavior. "Love Letters" feels like regret to me – but also hope. There's so much longing in Jude's voice.

"Samson" – Regina Spektor: One of the love stories in the book is between Cath and her twin sister, Wren. Cath feels abandoned by Wren. Now that they're at college, Wren would rather party than hang out with her twin. But Cath is still so devoted to Wren, and worried about her. "You are my sweetest downfall. I loved you first."

"Landslide" – Fleetwood Mac: Every book I write has "Landslide" on its soundtrack, and always at the same point in the story – the part where the main character does whatever he or she has to do to grow and change. I play "Landslide" in my head whenever my life is changing in a big way.

"Hymn for Her" – The Magic Numbers: This is my happy-ending song for Cath. I'm not exactly sure what the lyrics mean, but I love how gentle and cautious it is, especially at the beginning. It's so reassuring for a love song. "It won't hurt to find love in the wrong place. I've been hurt before, but all the scars have rearranged."

Amazon.com Review

Best Books of the Month: Teen & Young Adult, September 2013: At first glance Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl has a lot in common with Eleanor & Park: idiosyncratic girl with troubled family meets good, normal boy and falls in love for the first time. But this is why Rowell is so talented--from the same basic ingredients she can create something new and special. In Fangirl, quirky introvert, Cath, is safe within the immensely popular Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) fan-fiction blog she writes with her twin sister, but college turns her life upside down, leaving her feeling like an awkward outsider. When she writes, Cath knows exactly what her characters should say to each other, but when it comes to forging real-life friendships, much less a romance, she hasn’t a clue. An immensely satisfying coming-of-age novel, Fangirl deftly captures the experience of discovering your true voice and clumsy, vulnerable, remarkable, first love. --Seira Wilson

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250030951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250030955
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,294 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they're screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she's not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#52 in Books > Teens
#52 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
So, you're burnt out on the New Adult genre.

You've read 30.5 books this year about fictional girls having the same college experience, like they are in some sort of perverted episode of the Twilight Zone. They have all been raped, abused, or raised by wealthy parents who do not care about them and keep them from the one they love, but its ok because after one roll in the hay with the reformed bad boy, these girls have life figured out. They get over their past, they stand up to their parents, they pass the test and save the day.

And you're just over it.

Yeah? Me too.

And that is probably why I loved Fangirl and Cath so much. Because her college experience did not read like a Teen Harlequin novel. It read like my life.

"Look at you. You've got your s*** together, you're not scared of anything. I'm scared of everything. And I'm crazy. Like maybe you think I'm a little crazy, but I only ever let people see the tip of my crazy iceberg. Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I'm a complete disaster." -- Cath, to her roomate Raegan

I loved that the angst in it was so subtle and yet I kept having these little electric waves of emotion roll through my chest on Cath's behalf: as she's navigating her classes... as she feels betrayed when her identical twin doesn't want to be her roommate and finds a new best friend... as she's struggling to feel comfortable in her own dorm room because she's living with a fairly intimidating (yet ultimately awesome) upperclassman named Reagan... as she reluctantly begins to interact with other people and learns the hard way that some can be trusted and some are just using you to get ahead... as she falls in love for the first time.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The book description was intriguing, but I was not prepared for how much I would love reading Fangirl. It is one of those rare stories that just made me smile, when I wasn't marveling at how well the author gets it.

Cath is starting college at the University of Nebraska, but she's not your typical freshman. She's nerdy and awkward and comes with bucketloads of social anxiety, and she'd much rather stay in her dorm room writing fanfiction than get drunk at a frat party. She's always depended on her twin sister for her social life, but Wren wants to have the hard-partying college experience and has refused to room with Cath, who gets stuck with an intimidating older student. Many of the elements here are common to coming-of-age stories--there's first love and family drama--but Fangirl is also about writing, and being a fan, and it encapsulates the experience of being a social misfit in college. Or at least, one experience of it: having a lot in common with Cath, I had to reconcile myself early on to the fact that there are differences (major differences) between her freshman experience and mine--but those are details; on an emotional level I found this story to be real and true.

This is a character-driven book, so I'll start with the characters. Cath is fantastically-realized, quirky, and fun, and there's so much that I love about Rowell's portrayal of her, but here's the most important thing: it's okay to be like Cath. Cath has a lot going for her--she's smart, witty, loyal and caring--and growing up means growing in her own direction, learning to handle new relationships and thrive in a new environment, not changing who she is. Cath doesn't get a makeover or become a wild child or give up fanfiction.
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Comment 69 of 74 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Confession: I've been a shipper practically my whole life. It must be congenital, because I was obsessing over the relationships of fictional characters long before anyone came up with that label. As a child, I didn't dare talk about it, because I thought that people would think I was weird. Ok, weirdER. Still, I knew that I couldn't be the only one, and I kept an eye out for books with characters with the same quirk. These days, of course, the internet allows millions of people like me to find peoople like themselves so they can collectively gush over their favorite ships, but "Fangirl" is the first book I've seen on the subject. And it's about. freakin'. time.

But I didn't give "Fangirl" four stars just becuase it's about a subject close to my heart. It anything, I'm more critical because I know exactly what shipping is like. And this is a realistic picture. Our main character, Cath, is an introverted girl. She doesn't like dealing with new people and prefers the company of her identical twin sister, who shares a love for the fictional world of "Simon Snow" (think "Harry Potter). They ship Simon with his rival, Baz (think Draco/Harry, aka Drarry), and write fanfiction about it. But when it's time for college, Wren is ready to leave "Simon Snow" behind. Cath is decidedly not, and goes on writing her (very popular) fanfiction, "Carry On, Simon." Things in that world are an escape from the real one that includes: her increasingly distant and increasingly wild sister; an unstable single father back home; a mean roommate; and her roommate's ever-present, perpetually smiling boyfriend. Cath does well in her writing class (and teams up with a cute classmate to boot), but her true inspiration is Bazon (it isn't called by this name in the book, but it totally should've been).
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6 Comments 76 of 90 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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