Hi everyone! I am so excited to share this discussion/review. During Val and Ely’s Make-Me-Read-It-Readathon, Holly and I both ended up reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell! Of course, it took me like four times as long as it took Holly to read it (oops) because you know, sometimes you just do not click with books. This was the case for Fangirl (ALA, the title). Me and Holly finally sat down and had a very lengthy discussion about Fangirl which we will be sharing on our blogs now! Our super long discussion is going to be broken into half, so I have the first part and Holly will have the second!
I will be in the red and Holly will be in the blue!
~It’s So Anna~
It’s so Anna. Like That’s so Raven.
That’s so perfect. Except That’s So Raven is not so problematic. But enough about Anna.
Let’s not get into Anna because we could be here all day.
Anyway… About Cath…
Yes, let’s talk about Cath.
What do we have to say about Cath exactly? She, um. . . She was interesting. OH! Let’s first discuss this whole Harry Potter rip off stuff.
We need to have SOME kind of order, Amber.
Okay, well, you know, we should first discuss HP Rip off because that’s like the first thing we read in Fangirl, that’s like the first thing. Let’s talk about how the Wikipedia page was basically the HP page in terms of belovedness, books and movie numbering. Or how Simon, the whatever the heck he was supposed to be is like, an orphan or what have you. IT’S JUST LIKE A HARRY POTTER RIP OFF AND I HAVE NOT EVEN READ HP.
Simon Snow = Harry Potter. Baz = Malfoy. That one girl = Hermione. Or was it a guy? I can’t remember. Didn’t Simon have friends besides Baz? Oh wait, they weren’t friends. They were frenemies (is that how you spell that word? Gah). I don’t even remember the Simon Snow fiction stuff.
THERE WAS PENELOPE! THAT HE LIKED, I THINK, AND THE HEADMASTER PERSON AND okay, about the whole HP thing, we also discover Baz is just totally misunderstood and lonely and blah blah blah blah blah. Imagine the “blah blah blah blah blah” part like,
*cough* Malfoy *cough* WAIT UNTIL HIS FATHER HEARS ABOUT THIS. (Please tell me you get that reference).
LOL! I WAS JUST ABOUT TO ASK “WHAT DO YOU MEAN HIS FATHER?” I’m sorry, no.’
omg you are an uncultured swine. Okay. CATH. *clears throat* for some reason, I had a hard time connecting with her. You would think I wouldn’t, given that she’s a quiet, shy booknerd. But there was just something about her character that annoyed me. She hardly tried at all to make college a better experience, and she never did ANYTHING except write Simon Snow fanfiction. She was boring!
OKAY, YES, CATH. I thought I was going to be able to like, I don’t know, sympathize with her about the whole Wren ditching her thing and being in college by herself, but I did not. And while I did totally understand her anxiety about college and all that jazz, I felt she was reaching at times. . . She mostly complained a lot, talked about fanfiction a lot and called her dad a lot and yeah, that’s basically it.
It just didn’t feel exactly… damn, what word do I want here? Um, Organic? Sincere? True to life? Emotional?
SINCERE IS GOOD. I think that’s what I want. Like, it just felt like the author was trying to MAKE us sympathize with her and feel bad for her situation. And while I did, I also believe that if you want to make things better, YOU need to get up off of your ass and do the change yourself. No one is going to come rescue you. Not your dad. Not your twin sister.
I don’t know, I could definitely understand how she felt lost or whatever and how she couldn’t really deal with that, somewhat and how she did need her dad and sister, but I liked how she eventually got to become friends with Reagan and Levi and not be as dependent on her family as she was before college.
That’s true. She needed time. I think my issue is that her social anxiety was her excuse, but nothing happened with it. I feel like it was so bad she probably should’ve had therapy. And meds. Her dad had a mental health issue too, didn’t he? But nothing was done about that either.
Now when it came to her dad’s situation, I liked the lead up to that, the constant phone calls Cath did, I didn’t know why she kept calling so much until later in the story and I liked that. I could relate on a somewhat level to that background issue of Cath’s. I wish it had been elaborated more on than it was, like, to see how her dad dealt with it, if he had thought of therapy in the past, etc. Was he on meds? But yeah, I wish Cath had kind of found some sort of support for her anxiety she had and to deal with her mom leaving. I know not everyone has to go to therapy to help them with their problems, but I think it would have been a nice subplot for Fangirl other than Levi, Snow, Levi, Snow, Dad, Wren, Levi.
I think he was on meds, actually, but he chose not to take them (which is when he would go off on his manic episodes). You bring up dealing with her mom, and that also ties in with my feelings about Cath because I felt like nothing was really dealt with. I didn’t really feel like she had much character development. Yes, she made friends and started doing more than write fanfiction. She found a quiet place of her own without Wren by her side. But by the end, I didn’t find that much about her had changed. And man, I still found her boring because not a lot was happening in the book.
Okay, now about the whole Fanfiction thing, that could have been done so so so so so differently and I’m pissed at the missed opportunity. Cath has this huge following on these writing websites with her Snow fanfiction and she doesn’t take advantage of that. It’s like, she has fans, they read her stories, but she doesn’t have a real connection with them because her writing is so big. I wish she had formed a sort of community with her readers and other fanfiction writers online and used that for a subplot while she was dealing with college and everything. She could have retreated into that part of the internet as well along with writing fanfiction and wow, that’s a tangent. I agree with you finding her boring, and okay, I found a lot of her…talking to be very similar to Eleanor in Eleanor and Park, did you ever read E&P? Especially during a scene with Levi, it seemed very very E&P to me, which makes sense, they’re by the same author. But still. Very similar that I found them interchangeable.
The fanfiction is another deal of mine with this book. I haaaated it. Like, I understand why it was in there because you know, Cath was a fanfic writer, but remember when her teacher told her about plagiarizing and she gave her that final project? We didn’t actually get to see that final project, like I wanted. I wanted to see Cath become more confident in writing her own ideas, but it was completely brushed over. She obviously wrote about her mom, but that’s all we know. I think? I can’t remember. But I don’t know, I was going somewhere with this but now I’m not sure what I really wanted to say… I think the final project was a pretty big deal for Cath, and to not show it, or how it affected her, the main character? It was part of her development, the whole idea that she could do more than write fanfiction, so why wasn’t that a bigger deal in the end?
No, I haven’t read E&P, but I’ve heard all of Rainbow’s books are very similar. I HAVE read Attachments, but it was adult, and pretty different from this.
The whole plagiarism thing ticked me off, that whole storyline was just so…wasted or useless. Or no, it did have some use, it showed Cath she could do more than fanfiction. But it’s just like, “Really Cath? You really don’t know that what you did was plagiarism? Are you kidding me?” I don’t think I would have minded the fanfiction so much if it hadn’t screamed Harry Potter so loudly. I wanted to see the final project too, I think there was a small glimpse of the writing, like, when Cath was telling the backstory of her mom, she then later referenced the scene later in the book. Rowell should have definitely decided to show us Cath’s final project, like THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE THE BIG MOMENT OF THE BOOK. it should have been THE big moment in the book. The ultimate self actualization for Cath. And we didn’t get it
I was okay with the fanfiction sprinkled throughout because it made sense. What I didn’t like were the “excerpts” from the books/other fanfic writings that were at the end/beginning of the chapters. They didn’t seem to fit at all. And yes, exactly. It was that ONE moment that should have been in the book. Another big moment that wasn’t as touched upon as I would have liked? Cath and Levi confessing their feelings. Like I can’t even remember that part. And because they just barely hung out, I didn’t really believe they’d fallen in love. Which was sad and disappointing, especially after that REALLY cute, Cath fell asleep on top of Levi moment.
What ticked me off was how Levi said that he had been interested in Cath from the get go and that something he said (to Cath) pointed towards that and I’m just like “Why do we have to go there?” THAT’S SO ANNA. We need to make “That’s so Anna” a thing in this doc. Okay, yeah, Cath and Levi as a thing is weird. Like, it just seemed like the whole opposites attract thing and Levi was interested in Cath because OMG THIS GIRL IS QUIET AND WRITES WEIRD FANFICTION AND STAYS IN HER ROOM AND SHE’S A TWIN, LIKE WHOA, I’M SO ATTRACTED” and it’s weird.
I didn’t find it WEIRD so much as they just didn’t really click together that well. And omg remember when they went to that party and you KNOW she’s going to witness that moment, and you’re just like COULD YOU PLEASE *NOT* DO THAT K THANKS. And the author totally went there anyway. And then they were sitting side by side in the hospital/mental institute and Levi tells her their kiss meant nothing SO THEY GO MONTHS WITHOUT TALKING? Yeah, good times.
DRAMA DRAMA DRAMA, IT’S SO ANNA. The whole “It’s so Anna” still kills me. Still kills me. I’m dying right now. Omg. It’s so Anna, unnecessary drama, unbelievably cliche AND A DAMN MISCOMMUNICATION. AND WHAT THE HELL? LIKE, CATH HAD NO REASON TO EVEN BE, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE OF THAT THING, SHE HAD NO REASON TO BE UPSET, IT’S CRAP. And it’s freaking weird, because in Anna and The French Kiss, (oh god, I got the characters mixed up, that’s pretty bad), Anna and St. Clare also didn’t talk after a certain event. It was just so freaking stupid. So. Stupid. UGH. CHILDISH.
There was so much about that situation that just made me roll my eyes and go SERIOUSLY? Why was it necessary? It took off months that we could have watched Levi and Cath fall in love.
UNNECESSARY DRAMA PISSES ME OFF. LIKE DON’T DO IT WRITERS, JUST DON’T. IT’S NOT NECESSARY, IT’S ANNOYING, IT’S FRUSTRATING, IT MAKES ME RANT LIKE THIS, IT MAKES YOU SEEM LIKE ANNA, JUST DON’T. Yes! The whole Levi and Cath getting more into each other could have been WAY more fleshed out. It was ridiculous the way it happened because it seemed like NOTHING really happened between them. Like, he sat outside her door a few times, she eventually lets him in a few times later, he finds out she writes, and then it’s like boom, connection. Like, no, I’m not okay with that. I’M NOT OKAY WITH THAT AT ALL. It’s ridiculous.
It was total insta-love of the worst kind. I WAS EXPECTING MAGIC AND FIREWORKS AND SLOW BURN GOODNESS.
Instead I get a couple who just *barely* sees each other and a dramatic situation that resulted in a storyline that made me want to stop reading.
And there should be no reason for insta-love when you’re in a college setting, you have like all this freedom, you have all these possible settings, these new aspects, there’s NO reason to ever do insta love in a college setting. Damn it. Like, I just don’t understand that at all. This was such a missed opportunity. I feel like this whole book was kind of a missed opportunity. Boom, truth.
Man, that’s a heck of an ending, isn’t it? Well it’s not over, go over to Holly’s post now to see our concluding thoughts!