Published by St. Martin's Griffin (5.12.2015)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 455 pages
Source: I own it
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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I’ve been putting off this book for EVER. And I was worried to pick it up because, let’s face it, the hype is unreal. I don’t read contemp very often, but I do usually like it well enough when I read it. And the same goes for this book. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it didn’t wow me and probably won’t leave a lasting impression.
I do see why people love it so much. Cath is a hardcore fangirl (duh, the title), so naturally this book will be hardcore relatable to any bookworm. The fanfic aspect made it a bit hard for me personally to connect, because I was never into fanfic so I don’t think I could quite relate to it being so important to Cath because I have zero interest in it.
I did, however, relate to Cath’s social anxiety. Hers is quite a bit more severe than mine (actually like waaaay more severe, she’s basically socially useless), but it was still extremely relatable. The anxiety about being around strangers, being in crowds…I felt that on a cellular level because in that aspect, Cath is me. And I think that’s something else that will make this book relatable for a lot of bookworms out there because a good number of us are hardcore introverts and many of us also have social anxiety. I thought it was very well written, too – Rowell clearly had a firm grasp on social anxiety and a good understanding of the thought process behind it, so I’m guessing she either has it or has experienced it firsthand through someone close to her. Well done!
The romance was okay. I’m not a fan of romance to begin with (as most of you know), but I did get the warm fuzzies at certain points. I loved that Cath didn’t see Levi as much of anything until she did…if that makes sense! I love the romances where the characters aren’t interested in each other until one single moment suddenly makes them realize that they actually are. That scene for Cath and Levi gave me butterflies! It felt so nostalgic. I didn’t find the romance all that exciting past that moment, though – I guess it felt a little too perfect? I was expecting a big argument or some sort of conflict between Cath and Levi, and other than a very infinitesimal blip, there was none. So it was just too perfect and mushy for me to the point that I rolled my eyes a couple of times. (I think this is really meant for teenagers – at my age I’m too jaded and cynical about love oops)
I didn’t care for the Simon Snow chapters much at all. It took me out of the story a bit – it was jarring to have random scenes (out of context, no less) from a fantasy stuck in the middle of a college romance – and also didn’t seem to have much point at all. The scenes didn’t seem particularly relevant. I also didn’t like that Rowell basically plagiarized Harry Potter. I see what she was going for – Simon Snow is the Harry Potter of Cath’s world, and that’s definitely relatable – but I feel like she could have made it a bit more original. It was like Cath was writing a fanfic of a fanfic of a Harry Potter/Twilight crossover. Yet Harry Potter was still mentioned in the book? Soooo that threw me off a bit. Why not just use Harry Potter as the story Cath was writing fanfic of? Copyrights?
Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t amazing or anything. I think maybe I was expecting a bit more out of it because the hype was so insane. Still worth the read, though – at least now I can say I did!
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5