Autumn Semester, 2011. Cath and Wren Avery’s first year at university starts and with it, a new exciting part of their lives begins as well. The twins couldn’t deal with it more different though. While extrovert Wren is throwing herself in this new adventure enthusiastically, Cath, who is a big fan of the “Simon Snow” novels, would rather flee. When Wren finally decided that she won’t share a room with her sister any longer, Cath is being shocked. Suddenly, she is just on her own. She has to face situations she thinks she won’t be able to manage all on her own. How should she ever manage to find her way in her new scary college life, whose rules she doesn’t know yet? How much easier would it be if she could live in the world of Simon and Baz; in a world, which she cares about and which she understands. So well that she’s even able to form it after her own imagination…
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Translator: Brigitte Jakobeit
Publishing house: Carl Hanser Verlag, München
Publishing date: 24.07.2017
Pages: 480 pages
Price: € 18.00 (hardcover)
Recommendation: for readers from the age of 13 and up / language level B2/C1
Ranking: 4.75 of 5.0
The original edition has been published in English on 09.10.2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin (St. Martin’s Press).
Fangirl filled me with enthusiasm! I binge-read it within three days. I always read quite slowly, so this statement is definitely a sign of quality 😉
The book is divided into two parts. The first part contains autumn semester 2011, the second one contains spring semester 2012. So the story involves the whole freshman year.
Cath is the main character and guides through the story. I think, she’s a wonderful figure and I took her into my heart from the first few pages. She’s a loveable person, and I’m sure that a lot of boys and girls, who have some difficulties with being social and who are also at a turning point in their lives, will identify themselves with her. Or 24 years old book addicts, who weren’t able yet to figure out what adulthood actually means 😉 (And probably never will. #adulthoodisamyth) I also like every other character, because they are all so likeable and authentic. (Alright, the mother isn’t really likeable, though, also authentic.)
Additionally, I love the way how harmoniously Cath’s love to the “Simon Snow” universe has been connected to the actual story. For a better understanding of all these references, there has been background information put together before the first chapter. Great idea to make it look like a Wikipedia entry. (Accordingly to it, “Simon Snow” is a book series for children, written by Gemma T. Leslie, which became a bestseller all over the world. At the beginning of “Fangirl”, seven books have been published so far.) There are a lot of references relating to the fandom throughout the story, in form of mentions, excerpts and, at the end of every single chapter, quotes. Well done! I’ve been able to get a bit lost in the Simon Snow stories as well. But I’m still trying to figure out how the quotes have been arranged. It’s definitely not a chronological order, but what is it instead? Does a system exist at all? Or am I just too stupid to figure it out? (Well, not unlikely, I admit :D) Anyway, there was something really cool about a particular quote, which definitely proofs how well Rainbow Rowell managed to connect both the actual story and the Simon Snow universe. The first sentence in Cath’s story is: “Ein Junge war in ihrem Zimmer.” (“There was a boy in her room.” / page 9.) That’s a reference to the first sentence in “Simon Snow und der Erbe des Magiers” (Simon Snow and the heir of the mage): “In Simons Zimmer war ein Junge.” (“In Simon’s room was a boy.” / page 18.) Even I noticed 😉 Really cool!
The pace was quite steady throughout the story. Until the few last chapters. Suddenly, the pace changed and everything started to happen quite fast. Even too fast, for my liking. And that’s the reason why I’ve got to deduct 0.25 points in the ranking. I wish I’d have had more time to say goodbye to the characters…
I’m currently reading the English edition, by the way. (Yes, straight afterwards. Yes, I’m kinda crazy.) And I need to say, that Brigitte Jakobeit really convinced as a translator. I don’t think that anything has been lost in translation. I think she was rather able to strike Rainbow Rowell’s writing style and the tone of the story quite well and to transfer it into the German language. Well done! That definitely has to be mentioned 🙂
After reading the blurb, I couldn’t resist the temptation to start reading the story. (The cover looks beautiful, as well. Lovely designed.) And I haven’t been disappointed. It’s a magical and honest book. And with much more draught than I expected. Must read! And in case you’re not ready to leave the Simon Snow universe after reading “Fangirl” I’ve got some comforting news for you: There has been published a spin-off called “Carry on” (or in German “Aufstieg und Fall des außerordentlichen Simon Snow“), which you can start reading directly afterwards 😉 Anyhow, I will! And I’m really looking forward to it 😀
Dear Enthusiasts of The German Language
As soon as you reach an intermediate niveau, it gets quite difficult to recommend a language level you might need to read a book. How much you’ll understand depends a lot on your vocabulary. Two people, both being intermediate learners, don’t have precisely the same vocabulary. But I’d like to recommend Fangirl to readers, who already read books written by John Greenbecause for me it was as challenging as these. I think you’ll enjoy this book with fewer difficulties if you reached language level B2/C1.