Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was one of those books I picked up solely because it had been recommended and because it's popular. I'd never read a review for it, a synopsis, or even the back of the book. So when I started listening and found the book was about college students, I was surprised, as most YA ends at the end of high school. I guess it would fit into the New Adult genre, but it was probably rejected because it didn't have any explicit sex scenes.
However, it was a romance, which isn't really my cup o' tea. I guess Eleanor and Park was too, but somehow there was enough other stuff going on in that one that I was never getting that squicky feeling I get when I read romance. The romance in this was more predictable for me. I realized way before Cath that Levi liked her. He was an okay character, but just kind of eh. I would have liked the book much more if it had kept the focus on Cather's relationship with her sister and father. Those parts of the book came alive and just sang. I was left with a few unresolved questions about those relationships (like why Wren and Courtney had a falling-out, and what happened in Wren's relationship with Alejandro, what happened with her dad's mental state, etc). Instead, the book took a downturn and suddenly became all about the romance.
Okay, here's the thing. Unless you love someone, beyond-the-norm makeout scenes are just gross. And I sort of loved Levi, but not enough to think making out with his chin was sexy. To me, it was just kind of icky and funny at once. Levi was once said to be exploring her throat with his tongue or something like that--automatic gag reflex. I kept thinking--Eewww. These people do not know how to kiss! At first, the Simon Snow snippets were so boring I zoned out on them, but during the obsessive love stuff, I was glad for a moment of relief. It bordered on Twilight-esque at times.
Overall, I did like this book. I loved most of the characters, especially the dad. He was so true and sensitively portrayed. I also loved the relationships and dynamics between all the characters in the family, including the mother. My other favorite character was Reagan, so I was disappointed that she never got much of a story herself. She was just there to drive Cath around and be her friend. Which was fine, except that she never had any backstory or a life of her own beyond being Cath's friend.
I'm still sort of torn on the number of stars. May upgrade to 4 at some point if the book sticks with me for a long time.
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