Komal Mikaelson's Reviews > Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
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Edit: Downgrading the rating to 4. When I look back now, there are some minor issues, which I initially overlooked. So, yeah, maybe a 4.5 read but definitely not a 5.

Initial Reaction After Completion


You know how we all cry at tragedies. We cry with Rose in Titanic, with Liesel in The Book Thief, with Harry in Shell Cottage, with Maya in Forbidden. We are a sentimental specie and we cry a damn lot.
But how many of us cry at an especially beautiful ending. When wounds heal, when all loose ends are tied, when broken relationships are mended.

I don't.

I never cry at the happy stuff. Never. It's too mushy, wishy-washy for me.
I mean what is there to cry about in something good? Tears don't get to show up in good times too. We see enough of them in the sad ones.

But today was a first.

I got teary-eyed at a happy ending. It was nothing too incredible or stunning or anything mind-blowing really. It was simple. And in that simplicity, it encompassed so much more than any grandiose ending could ever have. Because isn't life ultimately about the simple stuff?

The Plot

Fangirl follows the life of Cather as she muddles through her freshman year at college, with her social anxieties and this almost religious circumventing of any social interaction. But I wouldn't say she is closed off. It's just that she is much more comfortable with her glasses on, laptop in front of her, writing fanfiction. She writes fanfiction on Simon Snow series which is equivalent to our Harry Potter phenomenon and has a massive fan following. We follow one year of her life, the year before the release of the last book in the Simon Snow series.

Now, I got into reading with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Yep, the third book and with no idea whatsoever about the previous two installments. I had this heavy, hardbound copy which my mom used to read me to bed every night. And that marked the beginning of my HP obsession. I was in 6th grade when HP7 was to be released and had managed to find friend who was just as HP crazy as me. We used to squabble over who would end up with whom, will Harry-Hermione ever be possible, Snape-bitching, what will happen to Harry and all sorta shit. When I completed Deathly Hallows, a month, a WHOLE GODDAMN MONTH AFTER ITS RELEASE, for this one moment, before I started babbling over how Harry triumphed over Voldy, I was shocked. It was over. When something you grow up with comes to an end, it is scary and.. new and you don't know if you'll ever feel so much invested in something ever again.

So, yes I'm rambling, reading through Cath's obsession and fangirl-ism was nostalgic and sad and delightful and relatable all at once.
Conclusion, I may or not be wholly ruled by my emotions here. Wholly.


Characterization and other good stuff

As much biased as I am here, these is still something so refreshing about this book. The characterisation was amazing. Everyone, and I mean everyone was so real. They had their own quirks, separate qualities, distinct shortcomings. No one was wholly perfect or irredeemably bad. I adored them.

The best part about the book is that it gives equal importance to all the relationships portrayed. Whether it was the father-daughter relationship between Art and Cath or the twins', Cath and Wren's development or Raegan's awkward and straight-forward friendship or the budding romance. Because it it so common in today's YA to erase all other people to make space for the luurrvvee interest. Rowell navigates this tricky area brilliantly.

Now, I'll take a moment to talk about Cath and Wren's deal. I love love love love their relationship. It was so cute the way that they supported each other, wrote fanfiction together and were always there for each other. There were no unnecessary jealousies, petty rivalries or frivolous quibbles. As I said, refreshing.

The romance angle


We all are more than familiar with today’s love interests. Their muscled body, ripped abs, broad shoulders and what the fuck not. To say Levi’s descriptions were out of the norm would be an understatement. He has a receding hairline, soft muscled body and no towering 6 foot plus height. Levi had no scarred past or traumatic childhood; in fact he is one of the good guys, who have suddenly fallen out of the fad. You know the type, chivalrous, polite, a smile pasted on and being nice to strangers just because they can. They take a moment to read a bus driver’s name and thank them. Peeta Mellark kinda guy.
Because he is more than just the sexy love interest. First he is a nice person and then has more layers to him, which was so great to read about.

Levi is outgoing, popular, the social kind which contrasted sharply with Cath's introversion. And they complemented each other perfectly.
So, needless to say, what wasn't there to love about the guy?
So, inspite of all Levi’s swoon worthiness, if I talk about something that transcends even him, then you know, the book is good. More than good. Excellent.

And now, I can't resist; I have to talk about Cath.

Cather Avery

You know about your siblings. How they annoy you at times, trouble you but you still manage to have loads of fun with them. How it is alright for you to bitch about them but no one else can say a word against them. How protective you are of them.
That is exactly how I feel about Cath. She is hesitant to trust others, reluctant to make friends, but once you get to know her, you can't help but feel she is amazing. She is a geek. A nerd. A bookworm. And I loved that about her. I loved how strong she remains in crisis, how caring and supportive she is of her father, how protective she is of Wren.
Her interactions with Raegan are hilarious.
“What’s wrong with Levi?”
“Nothing,” Cath said. “He’s just … not like me.”
“You mean, smart?”
“Levi’s really smart,” Cath said defensively.
“I know,” Reagan said, just as defensively.
“He’s different,” Cath said. “He’s older. He smokes. And he drinks. And he’s probably had sex. I mean, he looks like he has.”
Reagan raised her eyebrows like Cath was talking crazy. And Cath thought—not for the first time, but for the first time since last night—that Levi had probably had sex with Reagan.
“And he likes to be outside,” Cath said, just to change the subject. “And he likes animals. We don’t have anything in common.”
“You’re making him sound like he’s some rowdy mountain man who, like, smokes cigars and has sex with prostitutes.”



So, wrapping up,
This is a do-not-miss-even-if-the-fucking-sky-is-falling. It is breezy and joyous coming of age novel which will undoubtedly tug at your heartstrings. Beneath all the fun and humor lie subtle hints to maturity and development. The honesty and innocence it emanates will lift your spirit and restore your faith in YA literature.

I am leaving you with this absolutely stunning vignette of wisdom:
“I find Ugg boots really comforting,” Cath said.
“Why? Because they’re warm?”
“No. Because they remind me that we live in a place where you can still get away with, even get excited about, Ugg boots. In fashionable places, you have to pretend that you’re over them, or that you’ve always hated them. But in Nebraska, you can still be happy about new Ugg boots. That’s nice. There’s no end of the innocence.”
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Quotes Komal Liked

Rainbow Rowell
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Cath felt like she was swimming in words. Drowning in them, sometimes.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“That's the ultimate kind of broken. The kind of damage you never recover from.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“You give away nice like it doesn't cost you anything.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“You look so blindingly cute right now, I feel like I need to make a pinhole in a piece of paper just to look at you.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“I choose you over everyone.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“You win when no one finds you, even if they're not looking.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“I'd rather be broken than wasted.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“You can’t take back texts. If you come off all moody and melancholy in a text, it just sits there in your phone, reminding you of what a drag you are.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“What about him?” she’d say, finding an attractive guy to point out while they were standing in the lunch line. “Do you want to kiss him?”
“I don’t want to kiss a stranger,” Cath would answer. “I’m not interested in lips out of context.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“It’s just... everything. There are too many people. And I don’t fit in. I don’t know how to be. Nothing that I’m good at is the sort of thing that matters there. Being smart doesn't matter—and being good with words. And when those things do matter, it’s only because people want something from me. Not because they want me.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“But you're so helpless sometimes. It's like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“You can park your snark at the gate, Omaha.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Just... isn't giving up allowed sometimes? Isn't it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“What's the plan?" she asked.
He grinned. "My plan is to do things that make you want to hang out with me again tomorrow. What's your plan?"
"I'm going to try not to make an ass of myself."
He grinned. "So we're all set.”
rainbow rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow," he said.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Reagan was sitting up at Cath's desk when Cath woke up.
"Are you awake?"
"Have you been watching me sleep?"
"Yes, Bella. Are you awake?"
"No.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Smiling is confusing, she thought. This is why I don’t do it.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“You look ridiculous,” Wren said.
“What?”
“That shirt.” It was a Hello Kitty shirt from eighth or ninth grade. Hello Kitty dressed as a superhero. It said SUPER CAT on the back, and Wren had added an H with fabric paint. The shirt was cropped too short to begin with, and it didn’t really fit anymore. Cath pulled it down self-consciously.
“Cath!” her dad shouted from downstairs. “Phone.”
Cath picked up her cell phone and looked at it
“He must mean the house phone,” Wren said.
“Who calls the house phone?”
“Probably 2005. I think it wants its shirt back.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“That moment," she told Cath, "when you realize that a guy's looking at you differently—that you're taking up more space in his field of vision. That moment when you know he can't see past you anymore.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“How do you not like the Internet? That's like saying, 'I don't like things that are convenient. And easy. I don't like having access to all of mankind's recorded discoveries at my fingertips. I don't like light. And knowledge.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Do you think I absorbed all the impact? That when Mom left, it hit my side of the car? Fuck that, Wren. She left you, too."

"But it didn't break me. Nothing can break me unless I let it."

"Do you think Dad let it? Do you think he chose to fall apart when she left?"

"Yes!" Wren was shouting now. "And I think he keeps choosing. I think you both do. You'd rather be broken than move on.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“She didn't have words for what Levi was. He was a cave painting. He was The Red Ballon. She lifted her heels and pulled him forward until his face was so close, she could look at only one of his eyes at a time. "You're magic," she said.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Cath ran her fingers along the cover, over the raised gold type.

Then someone else ran right into her, pushing the book into Cath's chest. Pushing two books into her chest. Cath looked up just as Wren threw an arm around her.

"They're both crying," Cath heard Reagan say. "I can't even watch."

Cath freed an arm to wrap around her sister. "I can't believe it's really over," she whispered.

Wren held her tight and shook her head. She really was crying, too. "Don't be so melodramatic, Cath," Wren laughed hoarsely. "It's never over... It's Simon.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Take off your glasses."
"Why? I thought you liked my glassess."
"I love your glasses. I especially love the moment when you take them off.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“It's okay if you're crazy," he said softly.
"You don't even know-"
"I don't have to know," he said. "I'm rooting for you.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“I miss you."
"That's stupid," she said. "I saw you this morning."
"It's not the time," Levi said, and she could hear that he was smiling." It's the distance.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“I just want to know—are you rooting for me? Are you hoping I pull this off?"

Cath's eyes settled on his, tentatively, like they'd fly away if he moved.

She nodded her head.

The right side of his mouth pulled up.

"I'm rooting for you," she whispered. She wasn't even sure he could hear her from the bed.

Levi's smile broke free and devoured his whole face.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“You flirt with everything." She could tell that her eyes were popping-- her eyeballs actually felt cold around the edges. "You flirt with old people and babies and everybody in between.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“She smiled, and her eyes started to drift downward.
"Cather..."
Back up to his eyes.
"You know that I'm falling in love with you, right?”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Reagan scowled at Cath. "Are you Zack, or are you Cody?”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Levi was thin and weedy, and his hair--well, his hair--but everything about him made Cath feel loose and immoral.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Levi's eyebrows were pornographic. If Cath were making this decision just on eyebrows, she would have been "up to his room" a long time ago.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“What's that thing you wrote about Simon once, that his eyes followed Baz 'like he was the brightest thing in the room, like he cast everything else into shadow'? That's you. You can't look away from him.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“I don't like hello. It makes me sound like I have dementia, like I've never heard a phone ring before and I don't know what's supposed to happen next. Hello?”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“What if I promise not to touch you?"
"Cath laughed. "Now I have zero incentive to come."
"What if I promise to let you touch me first?"
"Are you kidding? I'm the untrustworthy person in this relationship. I'm all hands."
"I've seen no evidence of that, Cath."
"In my head, I'm all hands."
"I want to live in your head.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“How do you feel when I smile at you?" he asked - and then he did smile at her, just a little.

Not like myself, Cath thought.

"Like an idiot," she said softly. "And I never want it to stop.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell
“Well,” she said. “I’m frustrated.”
“Don’t make me angry-kiss you.”
“Give me the laundry.”
“Tempers rising, faces flushed … This is how it happens.”
Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl


Reading Progress

May 13, 2013 – Shelved
May 13, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
June 30, 2013 – Shelved as: gimme-now
June 30, 2013 – Shelved as: really-looking-forward-to-this
September 17, 2013 – Started Reading
September 18, 2013 –
30.0% "Ah! This book is so inherently adorable and cute and relatable and quirky and real and just asdfghjkl.\n Loving it so far.\n It definitely says something about the book that I read almost 30% of the book before my math exam."
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: a-million-stars
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: ammaaazzziinnggg
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: books-that-stay
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: cover-lust
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: deserves-the-hype
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: doesn-t-get-bettr-than-this
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: friendship
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: man-that-cover
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: perfect-freaking-ending
September 20, 2013 – Shelved as: swoon-worthy-hero
September 20, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Hershey Great review, Komal! I'm adding it :)


Komal Awesome review Komal!
It's great that Levi isn't completely like the typical love interest. I can't wait to read this :)


Jill Haha, I absolutely loved that exchange about Ugg boots too. Hilarious and true. I'm glad you enjoyed it! Now I just have to wait months for her next book to release...


message 4: by Scarlet (new) - added it

Scarlet Oh I really want to read this now! Great review Komal :)


Liz* Fashionably Late I've read so many great things about Fangirl, Komal. I can't wait to read it. Great review (:


Komal Mikaelson @Hershey, Scarlet, Komal and Liz: Thank you guys! Hope you enjoy it as much I did :)

@Jill: I know! Have you read Attachments by her?


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

you're amongst the lucky bastards who've got their hands on this book i'm so jealous. Great review Komal, makes me want to read this even more :)


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Just FYI, I laughed at Rose in Titanic.


Komal Mikaelson Lilli wrote: "you're amongst the lucky bastards who've got their hands on this book i'm so jealous. Great review Komal, makes me want to read this even more :)"

Haha! Thank you.
Hope you like it when you read it!


Susanne Love your review, Komal! Can't wait to start it!


Komal Mikaelson Khanh wrote: "Just FYI, I laughed at Rose in Titanic."

Huh! God Khanh, EVERYONE cried for Jack not Rose. Rose was pretty dumb throughout the movie. Or are you telling me you didn't feel anything for Jack? :D


Komal Mikaelson Susanne wrote: "Love your review, Komal! Can't wait to start it!"

Thanks Susanne! Hope you like the book :)


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Komal wrote: "Khanh wrote: "Just FYI, I laughed at Rose in Titanic."

Huh! God Khanh, EVERYONE cried for Jack not Rose. Rose was pretty dumb throughout the movie. Or are you telling me you didn't feel anything f..."


Well, I can tell you that I feel more for young Leo than I do for older Leo :X


Komal Mikaelson Khanh wrote: "Komal wrote: "Khanh wrote: "Just FYI, I laughed at Rose in Titanic."

Huh! God Khanh, EVERYONE cried for Jack not Rose. Rose was pretty dumb throughout the movie. Or are you telling me you didn't f..."


Why not? Don't like him any longer?


Komal Mikaelson Soraya Naomi wrote: "Lovely review, K"

Thanks Soraya :)


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Unlike Clooney, Leo didn't exactly age well.


Komal Mikaelson Khanh wrote: "Unlike Clooney, Leo didn't exactly age well."

Well, I didn't like him very much. He is alright, I guess. But Titanic ending was sad. They should have killed off Rose. Would be much more satisfactory.
But Clooney is gorgeous :D


message 18: by Anushka (new)

Anushka Clooney and Leo. Oh God!! *fans self*

On the other hand, awesome review Komal. :D


message 19: by Basuhi (new)

Basuhi Amazing review !
I'll read this soon. I'm just not able to get to it because Eleanor and Park wasn't for me. But well this is another century !
Did you post it in between the exams ?
(view spoiler)


Komal Mikaelson @Anushka: I know! Thanks :)

@Basuhi: Thanks! Oh, you should definitely read this one. It lags a bit around the middle but, on the whole, it was superb.
(view spoiler)


message 21: by June (new) - rated it 4 stars

June Gray This was such a GREAT review! If I didn't already have the book on my TBR list, I would have definitely added it after reading your review.


Komal Mikaelson June wrote: "This was such a GREAT review! If I didn't already have the book on my TBR list, I would have definitely added it after reading your review."

Thanks June :)


Bipasha nice one! same reaction!


Komal Mikaelson Bipasha wrote: "nice one! same reaction!"

Thanks :)


message 25: by Aimen (new)

Aimen Love the review, hun!! I've missed you lately <3 Hope you're doing well these days Komal ! xxx


Loralee Completely random and OT, but WHERE did you find that Tom Hiddleston GIF.?????


Komal Mikaelson @Aimen: Thanks! I'm not very active on GR these days owing to studies -_-
But apart from that, I'm good :)

@Loralee: Haha! Google search, of course. It's really nice, isn't it? :D


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies Glad to see you're doing well, Komal. I was worried, too, since you've been AWOL for awhile :)


Komal Mikaelson Khanh wrote: "Glad to see you're doing well, Komal. I was worried, too, since you've been AWOL for awhile :)"

Oh, I'm great if being hounded by studies qualifies as great :P
I was last active on 26th October before today! O__o
That has to be some sorta record for bibliophiles across the world. I'm really getting behind on all the books and reviews and everything :(
When will this shit end?


Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies It's not just you. Scarlet, Basuhi, etc have been swamped with school, too :(


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Komal :) Great review! Its been a while. How are you??


message 32: by Komal (last edited Dec 06, 2013 06:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Komal Mikaelson Thanks! :)
I'm great. It's just that I haven't been very active these past few months owing to studies-_-
How are ya?


Melanie Awesome review! I'm not sure if I'm the only one who didn't get it or not, but did Cath end up finishing carry on?


message 34: by Cara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cara @Melanie- From what I can remember it did seem like she did.

@Komal- I think you hit on everything I loved about this book. Brillant review Komal:)


Komal Mikaelson @Melanie- I second Cara. I don't remember distinctly but probably yes.

@Cara- Thank you so much! :)


Sarah Confession: I did not read your whole review. I just liked it because Tom Hiddleston.


Rachael Great review! I bought this book today (yeah I know, I'm a bit late to the party :p). Can't wait to read it. I have a feeling Cath is going to be my spirit animal


Komal Mikaelson Rachael wrote: "Great review! I bought this book today (yeah I know, I'm a bit late to the party :p). Can't wait to read it. I have a feeling Cath is going to be my spirit animal"

Hope you like the book as much as I did :)


Linda Just curious, who is the cute 'omg' guy in the GIF image?


message 40: by Aman (new) - rated it 5 stars

Aman the first thing that got my attention is the gif image because i kept visualizing levi as tom hiddleston only blond and without a cute British accent .btw great review i agree with almost everything


Emily This is a great review! It perfectly sums up my feelings for the book. If anyone it doubtful of the book, they should definitely read this!


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