Well what a disappointment.
I loved Eleanor and Park. Loved it so much that I couldn’t even find the words to review it. You’ll see I have no such problem with Fangirl.
It seems like everyone was talking about this book earlier this year so I’ll give only the broadest of plot summaries. Cath is a massive fan of Simon Snow (Harry Potter without copyright infringement), writes fan fiction to escape from her crippling social anxiety, moves away to college, meets boy, the usual misunderstandings ensue. There’s also the obligatory YA family drama going on in the background too.
And you probably get the sense just from that that I found the plot a little predictable. A lot predictable. From start to finish it was one big pile of cliches. Not that Eleanor and Park was really oh so original but it had a wit and lightheartedness that Fangirl was just missing. Eleanor and Park was a breath of fresh air, Fangirl was a bog standard still day.
A plus point – it was easy to read. But I think it will be a book that goes out just as easily as it went in. Two weeks from now I’ll struggle to remember anything about it.
It has left me with two lasting impressions though. One was the attitude the book had towards the heavy drinking lifestyle of Cath’s sister, Wren. When I was reading that I was just thinking she was the normal sister; it was college, of course she was going to be getting paralytic-ally drunk every week, that’s what you’re supposed to do. But in Rainbow Rowell’s world her actions required a redress. Which had me wondering if there really is an ingrained attitude in British society that binge-drinking is acceptable when actually, it isn’t.
The second lasting impression is a desperate desire to read Carry On, the follow up novel by Rainbow Rowell that is the fanfiction Cath spends all her time writing. By a third of the way through I was skim reading the actual content of Fangirl to get to the exerts of Carry On at the beginning of every new chapter. And then staying up even later so I could read the next chapter and get to the next exert. Which turned into a vicious cycle and meant I was up until 1am reading a book I wasn’t actually enjoying that much.