Spoilers? I don’t know. I’m not going to specifically say everything that happened but I guess these could count as spoilers so you’ve been warned.
Three out of five stars.
I’m giving the rating first this time because I want it to be very obvious that I didn’t dislike this book. I read the whole thing fairly quickly and it was entertaining. I would probably describe it as cute, which isn’t a word I could use to describe most books I read, but this book was definitely “cute”.
I’m going to start with the positive.
I really, really liked that the author described Cath as being pear shaped instead of being supermodel-thin. Reagan was described as having wide shoulders and big hips and also described as being beautiful and confident, so that’s really cool. It was a really nice change from the supermodel-thin stereotypically beautiful girls that are everywhere in books and movies. I have wide shoulders and I’m kind of hourglass shaped and I often get irritated by all the female characters who look like supermodels, and this was a really nice change from giving every character a stereotypically beautiful body.
I liked that Cath wasn’t extroverted by the end of the book BECAUSE THAT HAPPENS SO MUCH and introversion isn’t a flaw that needs to be fixed. That said, I wasn’t entirely happy with how Cath was written. There’s a difference between introverted and shy, and not a lot of people seem to realize that. I’m an introverted loner so I prefer being alone and if I’m around people for a long time I feel drained; however, I am perfectly capable of having a conversation with someone without seeming awkward. I frequently play shows with crowds of several hundred people with my band or play solo at open mic nights. I’m not a psychologist, but it seemed to me that Cath had some kind of social anxiety or something? For example, Cath ate protein bars and peanut butter in her room instead of going to get real food for the first month of college. (I think. I don’t remember the exact amount of time, but it was pretty long.) Also, it seemed like she avoided people in a way that I haven’t seen any introverted person do. Like I said, I’m not a psychologist and I won’t pretend to know enough to be able to diagnose someone with any kind of mental anything, but it seemed to me that there was something more than just being an introvert.
I don’t particularly like contemporary novels, so if I’m going to like it I have to be able to relate to the characters in some way or another but I couldn’t really relate to any of them. Honestly, if I knew someone like Cath I probably wouldn’t like them. Cath’s “Simon Snow” thing seemed to be more than just the normal fandom thing veering the whole way into an unhealthy obsession. Cath doesn’t seem like the kind of person who occasionally wears a fandom t-shirt and still likes to reread the books sometimes. She seems like one of the crazy superfans who lives in her dad’s basement until she’s in her forties and has a Simon Snow shrine. It seems like she becomes obsessed with the fandom and then just stops. It doesn’t help her grow as a person at all, it’s just the thing she constantly obsesses over. Maybe that was the author’s point, or maybe I’m just totally missing what I was supposed to get from the book.
Most of the reviews I read for this said that any nerdy girl with anxiety would be able to see herself in Cath, and since I’m a nerdy girl with anxiety, I was expecting a relatable main character and NOT someone like Cath. Even if it wasn’t the author’s intention say that all nerdy teenage girls with anxiety are like Cath, the reviewers seem to think that this is exactly what she is saying. Cath is nothing like anyone I have ever met, and I know nerdy teenage girls with anxiety, so if people are reading this and thinking that they understand these people, they actually don’t understand at all. Really, if the reviewers are saying that this is what a nerdy teenage girl with anxiety is like, they can’t be a nerdy girl with anxiety or know someone like that, they are only responding to the stereotype. There wasn’t anything unforgivably wrong about her, but I didn’t find her relatable and I wouldn’t want to hang out with someone like her.
It seemed like for the first three hundred pages it moved very slowly, and then for the last one hundred thirty pages it moved very quickly-almost too quickly. I feel like the stuff at the end could have been more developed or at least better developed. I kind of felt like it was ended too quickly? Like maybe the author didn’t know where to go with it so she tried to wrap it up really quickly? I don’t know. I found the ending kind of lacking. I felt like at the beginning of the book there was a lot of detail and the further I got into the book the less detail there would be. Yes, a lot of things were happening in the end of the book and all of those things had to be fit into a reasonable amount of pages. A lot of detail could had gotten tedious, but I think there could have been more detail without it hurting anything
Of course, this entire review is being written by a cynical pessimist who doesn’t get crushes and has a fear of commitment, so take all of my opinions with a grain of salt. This book is nothing like what I normally read and I’m probably very far away from the target audience for this book. If you like contemporary novels with shy, introverted, nerdy girls, you’ll probably love Fangirl.