BEDM: My Conflicting Thoughts on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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I updated this a little on our blog twitter and on my own personal one too. However I really needed to do a post to air all this out. I started reading Fangirl because everyone was talking about it (still! A few years after publication!) so I thought it must be amazing. I’d definitely say it’s one of the most well loved YA books of our generation.


For a while I wasn’t too fussed about reading it but then I read Eleanor and Park and Kindred Spirits and I enjoyed them a lot. I especially love Kindred Spirits and wish so much it was a longer book! I adore the loveable, nerdy quirks of the characters so I thought I would be the same with Fangirl. However, I have very mixed feelings towards it.

I still don’t know my thoughts on it and I don’t really know what star rating to give it which is why , even a couple of weeks after finishing. I love certain aspects but others I really don’t like. Interestingly, I know a few people who feel similarly to me about these.

Things I love…

The side characters. Levi, Reagan, Wren, Cath and Wren’s dad, Professor Piper. I loved them. Every time Levi is mentioned, with his sunshine-like happiness and beaming smiles, I couldn’t help but smile too. We all know someone as cheery as Levi (for me, I want to be that person). He is such a delight and a much needed contrast to the constant complaining of Cath (I will get to Cath later). Though Reagan is a rather aggressive personality, I love her. She is fiercely loyal even if she doesn’t want to admit it. She loves Cath despite their big differences. Wren, in my opinion, brings some really interesting storylines. Her struggles and attitudes felt real and I was always more interested when Wren was mentioned or around Cath. Their dad is also a wonderful character; he is creative and interesting and supportive. Finally, Professor Piper. I love her! Honestly, she is the tutor everyone wants. She inspires, helps and gives really good advice and feedback.

I also love how easy and enjoyable it is to read. It has a very relaxed feeling, even through the slightly more difficult scenes. The dialogue is witty and fun which is so characteristic of Rainbow Rowell! It’s exactly the reason I love Kindred Spirits so much; the dialogue in that is so lovely, cute and witty.

Things I hate…

Cath. Oh my god. I really do not like Cath. Honestly, it’s been a while since I disliked a protagonist so much. My main issues with her are how self-righteous she is and her childish behaviour. This is not an attack on her struggle with anxiety as I understand this and I did want to give her advice or help her out at certain points. However, she infuriates me with the way she treats people. She constantly thinks she is better than everyone because she is a nerd and writes fanfiction. As soon as Levi is at a party, she thinks negatively of him because he drinks. She thinks she is a better person because she stays in and writes fanfiction all night. Neither is better than the other; everyone is different! She won’t even admit that submitting fanfiction to her creative writing class is not entirely original work. Anyway. Moving on…

The fanfiction/Simon Snow excerpts were not particularly interesting to me. This is entirely my own personal opinion (as is this whole post) but I just feel they didn’t really add to the story and they stilted it at times. I also felt a little uncomfortable about how Cath spoke about it sometimes, especially a scene where she feels awkward about reading her fanfiction out loud when Levi has a gay housemate. It comes across as though she fetishises gay relationships; these types of fans exist in most fandoms I am in and it always makes me feel very uneasy. There is a difference between shipping two gay characters healthily, and fetishising them. I’m not saying Cath does but it’s just a few lines of dialogue which were uncomfortable.

I’m unsure if I will read Carry On. I’m very put off by the fact it’s Simon and Baz and I didn’t like them in Fangirl; also their romantic trope is one of my least favourites (more on that in another post coming soon…) but maybe one day I will try it just to see for myself what I think.

What are your thoughts on Fangirl? I know it’s a super popular book and there are a lot of opinions on it and I would love to hear all views!

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