Cather, aka Cath, is starting her first semester of college. With that comes many changes. Her twin sister, Wren, is determined to “find herself” and shocks Cath when she announces she doesn’t want to room together. More disturbing still is Wren’s sudden attitude toward Simon Snow. For the last four years Cath and Wren have been obsessed with the Simon Snow novels (which sounds oddly reminiscent of the Harry Potter novels except for a few changes to proper nouns, an eighth book, and the presence of vampires). Wren and Cath have even been writing Simon Snow fan-fiction with a large and loyal fan base of their own. However, Wren wants to leave Simon Snow and, it seems, even Cath in her past. So Cath is venturing off on her own with her new, never-present roommate Reagan, Reagan’s boyfriend Levi — who seems to be around more than Reagan — and her not-so-unfortunate-looking writing partner, Nick.
I confess that I can “fangirl” with the best of them; however, there are elements of the fan club crowd that I don’t understand and the fan-fiction segment happens to be one of them, so I had a hard time really getting into that part of the book. There are shorter sections of fan-fiction at the end of each chapter and sometimes long segments where the reader gets to follow Cath’s writing or read her fan-fiction (Carry On Simon) and I quickly started skipping those sections. Maybe they were supposed to be some metaphor for what going on in Cath’s real life; if so, I didn’t get it. That being said, there were parts of this book that I really enjoyed. I related very much to Cath’s character. We are neurotic in many of the same, senseless ways. I totally got her and enjoyed reading how she handled all the different situations she faced.
Rated: DIRT. It is with a heavy heart that I give Fangirl a DIRT rating (if it were an adult novel I would have given it a strong “high” rating). I wanted to love it. Unfortunately, there are WAY too many uses of the f-word to warrant anything but a DIRT rating for a young adult novel. I lost count at one point, but there are more than 30 and many instances of other more mild language. There are two pretty heavy, detailed make-out scenes (one which becomes a pretty obvious “fade-to-black” sex scene). There is also some discussion of sex. One of the characters (who is underage) develops a pretty strong drinking habit, at best bordering on alcoholism. Lastly, Cath’s fan-fiction takes Simon and Baz (who I take to be the Harry and Draco of the Simon Snow novels) and makes them a couple, caught in a kind of love-hate relationship with brimming sexual tension. It is never too descriptive; as mentioned, I skimmed a lot of the fan-fiction parts because I wasn’t into them, but by the end of the book it is clear that Simon and Baz are a couple.