Fangirl – 4.5/5
I cannot tell you how many people have told me that I need to read this and that I would love it! I got nervous because I loved Eleanor and Park, but I just couldn’t seem to get into Landline – both by Rainbow Rowell. I just got really nervous that I would be greatly disappointed and let down by a book that so many people seem to love and adore. BUT – as you can see from my rating, I clearly was not disappointed in this read! 🙂 ❤ (Slight spoilers in this review!!!)
Rainbow Rowell has a way of creating characters that are relatable and endearing. Her characters are people that I already know or can definitely picture knowing in my own life. Her character creation and development are development some of the biggest reasons why I think so many people love her book. Cather is an all around awkward fangirl – believe you me, I can definitely relate to that, haha!!! 😉 Cather is more interested in the Simon Snow series and her fanfiction writing, than anything else that can be going on in the world around her. As an avid reader and fangirl, myself, I can completely relate to that – it’s sometimes easier to absorb yourself in a fictional world rather than figure out the workings of the real one. Wren is her twin sister, the more “normal” one of the pair. While Wren also loved the Simon Snow series, Wren is more interested in the world around her, than letting herself stay absorbed in the fictional one. I think that Cather and Wren are a great balance for one another, and it is really heartwarming to watch their relationship stretch, change, and evolve over time. The last character that I will talk about is Levi, who I swooned over madly. Levi is sweet, awkward, and an all-around good guy – I find his relationship with Cather sweet, gentle, and respectful. I think that this is something that can be hard to find in YA Lit novels sometimes, a romantic relationship that is genuine and not riddled with a power struggle between the individuals involved.
The next thing that I loved about this book was the Simon Snow series and Cathers’ obsession with it. For those of you who have not read this yet, the Simon Snow series is a parallel to our Harry Potter series, which is why I LOVED it as an addition to the story! The Harry Potter series was and still is an incredibly important book series to my heart. I will forever remember each day that I got each book – my mom would go to Costco, bring them home to me, and I would run to my room to soak in each book. So, I can completely understand Cathers’ obsession and love of the Simon Snow series and I fully appreciated that as an integration of this story! 🙂 Thank you Rainbow Rowell for giving us fangirls a place as the leading lady in your story!
The last thing that I loved, that I’ll talk about, was the family relationship and dynamic in this story. Cather and Wrens’ mother left them when they were young, leaving them to their father. Their father is a slightly scatter-brained artist and it is clear throughout the book that Cather is very concerned for her fathers’ well-being. As a daddy’s girl, myself, my heart totally went out to Cather and her care for her father. I also loved and hurt over Cather and Wrens’ relationship as it struggled throughout the book. I can not imagine what it would be like to have a twin sister around all of my life, go to the same college, and then start leading different lives – you see that Cather immediately struggles with this separation and it takes us more time to understand that Wren is feeling a similar pain, just being expressed in a different way. Overall, I loved the family relationships in this book and I loved how that was a highlight of the book.
I would say, the only reason why I docked my rating by .5 was Cather – I felt annoyed by Cather and her reckless behavior when it came to her schoolwork. I understand struggling with what you want to do with your life and struggling with understanding how college classes align with that, but as a Student Affairs practitioner, myself, I think this was hard for me to read. I was not mad or angry about it, if anything – I felt myself hurting for Cather. I just wanted to shake her a little and urge her to continue trying with her schoolwork, that it will get her somewhere someday! I was so happy to see her relationship with Professor Piper and how I felt it grow into a mentorship relationship. It was clear that Professor Piper saw what was best in Cather and wanted to cultivate it, without forcing it upon Cather. She wanted Cather to create her success on her own, and I loved seeing that in this book.
Overall, I loved it – I thought it was a refreshing read and I loved the sprinkling of Simon Snow and Cathers’ fanfiction throughout the book. I will say that I have greatly enjoyed Rainbow Rowells’ YA Lit and struggled with the one Adult Lit book that I have read by Rainbow Rowell. I have heard great things about Attachments, though, which is another Adult Lit book, so I think that I am going to give that one a try before I make any conclusive statements. I definitely recommend this book, particularly for the fangirls and fanboys out there! 😉