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December 2018: Geek Reads > Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - 4.5 stars

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annapi | 5068 comments This one was a surprise for me, an unexpected pleasure. I was expecting some light fluff, not really knowing what it was about, only knowing it was about a geeky character. I was not expecting such a long story, nor was I expecting to enjoy it so much and become so absorbed in it.

Twin sisters Cather and Wren are freshmen in college. Cath, the more introverted of the two, is having difficulty adjusting to all the changes and escapes into her world of fanfiction, which the two of them have written together for a long time, about their favorite literary character Simon Snow, who is this world's version of our Harry Potter. But Wren seems to be growing apart from her twin, not wanting to share a dorm with her, and on top of that their father does not seem to be doing well on his own now that both of them are away from home. Cath escapes into Simon Snow's world, trying to finish the fanfic novel she is writing before the eighth and last book comes out.

I'm having difficulty writing a synopsis of this book because it encompasses far more than I expected. It deals with issues of mental health, obsession, dysfunctional families, romance, and friendship. And it has chapters of both Cath's fanfic and the Simon Snow books in it (which is probably why it's so long), so much that I was starting to get interested in reading those books! I enjoyed all the characters, even the ones that were annoying because they all had hidden depths to them. It gave me insight into people with anxiety and depression, and I liked the way the romance was handled.

My actual rating is 4.5. I dithered over whether to round up or down, but at this point I am more inclined to round down.

message 2: by AsimovsZeroth (new)

AsimovsZeroth (asimovszerothlaw) | 436 comments Almost everything about the synopsis of this book, has made it sound like the kind of book that I would find to be either glaringly average, or irritatingly bland. I had no intention of reading it until reading your review. It sounds like there is certainly a lot more to it. I may just have to read this at some point, I'm much more intrigued now. Especially as you've mentioned gaining insight into people with anxiety and depression, as I've wrestled with both for nearly twenty years, which is quite common with people who have a laundry list of chronic health issues, as I have. I may just have to check it out and see how I feel from a more personal perspective on mental health issues.

In the meantime, I'd be interested to hear more about what kind of insights you've had into anxiety and depression from this book, should you care to elaborate.

annapi | 5068 comments I'm not sure if you could call it insight, so much as a greater awareness. My daughter struggles with anxiety and my son with depression, and having no experience of that on my own sometimes I struggle to keep my irritation or annoyance with them in check when they deal with problems that seem simple enough to me. Having a character with these problems and being shown that character's thought process and internal voice helped me to understand a bit what my kids may be going through, as well as having an adult figure in the story that also has mental health issues. I sparked an interesting family conversation last night about the seeming increase in mental health problems in kids of this generation, as my daughter's friends and acquaintances all seem to be dealing with something as well.

Hebah (quietdissident) | 675 comments This reminds me that I'm probably long overdue for a re-read. When I read it, I immediately closed the book, handed it to my husband, and said, "Read this if you want a glimpse of me when I was younger." The fanfic writing, the social anxiety, all made me feel incredibly *seen* even if some of the details of Cath's life were different.

LibraryCin | 8619 comments After reading "Attachments" not long ago, someone recommended this one to me, but the description didn't sound all that exciting to me (similar to LiteraryMania), but your review makes this much more appealing!

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