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1 Burnside Children's Young Adult- General



Fangirl Cover

ISBN13: 9781250030955
ISBN10: 1250030951
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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There was a boy in her room.

Cath looked up at the number painted on the door, then down at the room assignment in her hand.

Pound Hall, 913.

This was definitely room 913, but maybe it wasnt Pound Hall—all these dormitories looked alike, like public housing towers for the elderly. Maybe Cath should try to catch her dad before he brought up the rest of her boxes.

“You must be Cather,” the boy said, grinning and holding out his hand.

“Cath,” she said, feeling a panicky jump in her stomach. She ignored his hand. (She was holding a box anyway, what did he expect from her?)

This was a mistake—this had to be a mistake. She knew that Pound was a co-ed dorm.… Is there such a thing as co-ed rooms?

The boy took the box out of her hands and set it on an empty bed. The bed on the other side of the room was already covered with clothes and boxes.

“Do you have more stuff downstairs?” he asked. “We just finished. I think were going to get a burger now; do you want to get a burger? Have you been to Pears yet? Burgers the size of your fist.” He picked up her arm. She swallowed. “Make a fist,” he said.

Cath did.

Bigger than your fist,” the boy said, dropping her hand and picking up the backpack shed left outside the door. “Do you have more boxes? Youve got to have more boxes. Are you hungry?”

He was tall and thin and tan, and he looked like hed just taken off a stocking cap, dark blond hair flopping in every direction. Cath looked down at her room assignment again. Was this Reagan?

“Reagan!” the boy said happily. “Look, your roommates here.”

A girl stepped around Cath in the doorway and glanced back coolly. She had smooth, auburn hair and an unlit cigarette in her mouth. The boy grabbed it and put it in his own mouth. “Reagan, Cather. Cather, Reagan,” he said.

“Cath,” Cath said.

Reagan nodded and fished in her purse for another cigarette. “I took this side,” she said, nodding to the pile of boxes on the right side of the room. “But it doesnt matter. If youve got feng shui issues, feel free to move my shit.” She turned to the boy. “Ready?”

He turned to Cath. “Coming?”

Cath shook her head.

When the door shut behind them, she sat on the bare mattress that was apparently hers—feng shui was the least of her issues—and laid her head against the cinder block wall.

She just needed to settle her nerves.

To take the anxiety she felt like black static behind her eyes and an extra heart in her throat, and shove it all back down to her stomach where it belonged—where she could at least tie it into a nice knot and work around it.

Her dad and Wren would be up any minute, and Cath didnt want them to know she was about to melt down. If Cath melted down, her dad would melt down. And if either of them melted down, Wren would act like they were doing it on purpose, just to ruin her perfect first day on campus. Her beautiful new adventure.

Youre going to thank me for this, Wren kept saying.

The first time shed said it was back in June.

Cath had already sent in her university housing forms, and of course shed put Wren down as her roommate—she hadnt thought twice about it. The two of them had shared a room for eighteen years, why stop now?

“Weve shared a room for eighteen years,” Wren argued. She was sitting at the head of Caths bed, wearing her infuriating Im the Mature One face.

“And its worked out great,” Cath said, waving her arm around their bedroom—at the stacks of books and the Simon Snow posters, at the closet where they shoved all their clothes, not even worrying most of the time what belonged to whom.

Cath was sitting at the foot of the bed, trying not to look like the Pathetic One Who Always Cries.

“This is college,” Wren persisted. “The whole point of college is meeting new people.”

“The whole point of having a twin sister,” Cath said, “is not having to worry about this sort of thing. Freaky strangers who steal your tampons and smell like salad dressing and take cell phone photos of you while you sleep…”

Wren sighed. “What are you even talking about? Why would anybody smell like salad dressing?”

“Like vinegar,” Cath said. “Remember when we went on the freshman tour, and that one girls room smelled like Italian dressing?”


“Well, it was gross.”

“Its college,” Wren said, exasperated, covering her face with her hands. “Its supposed to be an adventure.

“Its already an adventure.” Cath crawled up next to her sister and pulled Wrens hands away from her face. “The whole prospect is already terrifying.”

“Were supposed to meet new people,” Wren repeated.

“I dont need new people.”

“That just shows how much you need new people.…” Wren squeezed Caths hands. “Cath, think about it. If we do this together, people will treat us like were the same person. Itll be four years before anyone can even tell us apart.”

“All they have to do is pay attention.” Cath touched the scar on Wrens chin, just below her lip. (Sledding accident. They were nine, and Wren was on the front of the sled when it hit the tree. Cath had fallen off the back into the snow.)

“You know Im right,” Wren said.

Cath shook her head. “I dont.”


“Please dont make me do this alone.”

“Youre never alone,” Wren said, sighing again. “Thats the whole fucking point of having a twin sister.”

*   *   *

“This is really nice,” their dad said, looking around Pound 913 and setting a laundry basket full of shoes and books on Caths mattress.

“Its not nice, Dad,” Cath said, standing stiffly by the door. “Its like a hospital room, but smaller. And without a TV.”

“Youve got a great view of campus,” he said.

Wren wandered over to the window. “My room faces a parking lot.”

“How do you know?” Cath asked.

“Google Earth.”

Wren couldnt wait for all this college stuff to start. She and her roommate—Courtney—had been talking for weeks. Courtney was from Omaha, too. The two of them had already met and gone shopping for dorm-room stuff together. Cath had tagged along and tried not to pout while they picked out posters and matching desk lamps.

Caths dad came back from the window and put an arm around her shoulders. “Its gonna be okay,” he said.

She nodded. “I know.”

“Okay,” he said, clapping. “Next stop, Schramm Hall. Second stop, pizza buffet. Third stop, my sad and empty nest.”

“No pizza,” Wren said. “Sorry, Dad. Courtney and I are going to the freshman barbecue tonight.” She shot her eyes at Cath. “Cath should go, too.”

Yes pizza,” Cath said defiantly.

Her dad smiled. “Your sisters right, Cath. You should go. Meet new people.”

“All Im going to do for the next nine months is meet new people. Today I choose pizza buffet.”

Wren rolled her eyes.

“All right,” their dad said, patting Cath on the shoulder. “Next stop, Schramm Hall. Ladies?” He opened the door.

Cath didnt move. “You can come back for me after you drop her off,” she said, watching her sister. “I want to start unpacking.”

Wren didnt argue, just stepped out into the hall. “Ill talk to you tomorrow,” she said, not quite turning to look at Cath.

“Sure,” Cath said.

*   *   *

It did feel good, unpacking. Putting sheets on the bed and setting her new, ridiculously expensive textbooks out on the shelves over her new desk.

When her dad came back, they walked together to Valentinos. Everyone they saw along the way was about Caths age. It was creepy.

“Why is everybody blond?” Cath asked. “And why are they all white?”

Her dad laughed. “Youre just used to living in the least-white neighborhood in Nebraska.”

Their house in South Omaha was in a Mexican neighborhood. Caths was the only white family on the block.

“Oh, God,” she said, “do you think this town has a taco truck?”

“I think I saw a Chipotle—”

She groaned.

“Come on,” he said, “you like Chipotle.”

“Not the point.”

When they got to Valentinos, it was packed with students. A few, like Cath, had come with their parents, but not many. “Its like a science fiction story,” she said, “No little kids … Nobody over thirty … Where are all the old people?”

Her dad held up his slice of pizza. “Soylent Green.”

Cath laughed.

“Im not old, you know.” He was tapping the table with the two middle fingers of his left hand. “Forty-one. The other guys my age at work are just starting to have kids.”

“That was good thinking,” Cath said, “getting us out of the way early. You can start bringing home chicks now—the coast is clear.”

“All my chicks…,” he said, looking down at his plate. “You guys are the only chicks Im worried about.”

“Ugh. Dad. Weird.”

“You know what I mean. Whats up with you and your sister? Youve never fought like this before.…”

“Were not fighting now,” Cath said, taking a bite of bacon-cheeseburger pizza. “Oh, geez.” She spit it out.

“Whats wrong, did you get an eyelid?”

“No. Pickle. Its okay. I just wasnt expecting it.”

“You seem like youre fighting,” he said.

Cath shrugged. She and Wren werent even talking much, let alone fighting. “Wren just wants more … independence.”

“Sounds reasonable,” he said.

Of course it does, Cath thought, thats Wrens specialty. But she let it drop. She didnt want her dad to worry about this right now. She could tell by the way he kept tapping the table that he was already wearing thin. Way too many normal-dad hours in a row.

“Tired?” she asked.

He smiled at her, apologetically, and put his hand in his lap. “Big day. Big, hard day—I mean, I knew it would be.” He raised an eyebrow. “Both of you, same day. Whoosh. I still cant believe youre not coming home with me.…”

“Dont get too comfortable. Im not sure I can stick this out a whole semester.” She was only slightly kidding, and he knew it.

“Youll be fine, Cath.” He put his hand, his less twitchy hand, over hers and squeezed. “And so will I. You know?”

Cath let herself look in his eyes for a moment. He looked tired—and, yes, twitchy—but he was holding it together.

“I still wish youd get a dog,” she said.

“Id never remember to feed it.”

“Maybe we could train it to feed you.”

*   *   *

When Cath got back to her room, her roommate—Reagan—was still gone. Or maybe she was gone again; her boxes looked untouched. Cath finished putting her own clothes away, then opened the box of personal things shed brought from home.

She took out a photo of herself and Wren, and pinned it to the corkboard behind her desk. It was from graduation. Both of them were wearing red robes and smiling. It was before Wren cut her hair.…

Wren hadnt even told Cath she was going to do that. Just came home from work at the end of the summer with a pixie cut. It looked awesome—which probably meant it would look awesome on Cath, too. But Cath could never get that haircut now, even if she could work up the courage to cut off fifteen inches. She couldnt single-white-female her own twin sister.

Next Cath took out a framed photo of their dad, the one that had always sat on their dresser back home. It was an especially handsome photo, taken on his wedding day. He was young and smiling, and wearing a little sunflower on his lapel. Cath set it on the shelf above her desk.

Then she set out a picture from prom, of her and Abel. Cath was wearing a shimmering green dress, and Abel had a matching cummerbund. It was a good picture of Cath, even though her face looked naked and flat without her glasses. And it was a good picture of Abel, even though he looked bored.

He always looked kind of bored.

Cath probably should have texted Abel by now, just to tell him that shed made it—but she wanted to wait until she felt more breezy and nonchalant. You cant 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.

At the bottom of the box were Caths Simon and Baz posters. She laid these out on her bed carefully—a few were originals, drawn or painted just for Cath. Shed have to choose her favorites; there wasnt room for them all on the corkboard, and Cath had already decided not to hang any on the walls, out where God and everybody would notice them.

She picked out three.…

Simon raising the Sword of Mages. Baz lounging on a fanged black throne. The two of them walking together through whirling gold leaves, scarves whipping in the wind.

There were a few more things left in the box—a dried corsage, a ribbon Wren had given her that said CLEAN PLATE CLUB, commemorative busts of Simon and Baz that shed ordered from the Noble Collection.…

Cath found a place for everything, then sat in the beat-up wooden desk chair. If she sat right here, with her back to Reagans bare walls and boxes, it almost felt like home.


There was a boy in Simons room.

A boy with slick, black hair and cold, grey eyes. He was spinning around, holding a cat high in the air while a girl jumped and clutched at it. “Give it back,” the girl said. “Youll hurt him.”

The boy laughed and held the cat higher—then noticed Simon standing in the doorway and stopped, his face sharpening.

“Hullo,” the dark-haired boy said, letting the cat drop to the floor. It landed on all four feet and ran from the room. The girl ran after it.

The boy ignored them, tugging his school jacket neatly into place and smiling with the left side of his mouth. “I know you. Youre Simon Snow … the Mages Heir.” He held out his hand smugly. “Im Tyrannus Basilton Pitch. But you can call me Baz—were going to be roommates.”

Simon scowled and ignored the boys pale hand. “What did you think you were doing with her cat?”

—from chapter 3, Simon Snow and the Mages Heir, copyright © 2001 by Gemma T. Leslie


Copyright © 2013 by Rainbow Rowell

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The Lost Entwife, January 7, 2015 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
I'm in two camps when it comes to Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. First, I absolutely, "five-star" loved this book due to its setting and the description of Lincoln/Omaha area - in fact, Rowell's heart is definitely in Nebraska and that's why I'm drawn to her storytelling as much as I am. On the other hand, there were several elements of Fangirl that I really struggled with. So I'm going to flesh out each of these camps and leave it to you to decide if you want to pick this one up.

First, the good stuff. Rowell completely incorporates the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus into her storytelling. The descriptions of downtown Lincoln, of campus and the buildings (Yes, we do have Love Library and yes there is a strange breeze down in its depths), the dorms (I've eaten in Selleck many a time - both this year as well as back in the 90's), and the atmosphere (it's Nebraska, there are a lot of white people on campus). But she does't stop there. Cather (Willa Cather, notable Nebraska author) is a celebrated name on campus and also one of the dorm names - and Rainbow makes her the protagonist of Fangirl. Then there's Abel (also a dorm on campus), the long-distance "boyfriend" to Cather. Sprinkled throughout the pages of Fangirl is, ultimately, an ode to the school and to life in Lincoln, NE - and being a student at UNL currently, one who is frequently in Andrews Hall (getting an M.A. in English Lit will do that to you), I felt like I was roaming the campus while away from it on Christmas break. The only glaring thing that was missing was the presence of the Cornhuskers, although there is a nod to gameday in the pages which I appreciated. (Seriously, even East Campus gets some love here!)

If you've never been to Lincoln, NE or seen the UNL campus, Rowell nails it, basically. Except for the walking to Valentino's thing - I don't know of one within walking distance of City Campus (well, there's a small one, but no buffet there anymore). Oh! And the cheeseburger pizza? It's a thing here. But where were the Runza references?

So, now that I've gone through all of that, let's talk about the actual story. First of all, flat out, I'm going to say I hated the fanfic parts. I wasn't interested in the story there, the resemblance to Harry Potter and Twilight (or a mix of the two) was really strong and I just wasn't interested in reading it. This means that there were huge sections of the book that I just skimmed pretty much. I did appreciate, however, the distinction made to Cather about writing from her own experience and writing using the "borrowing" of another authors world and characters. I don't read fan-fiction, not because I have a moral issue with it, but because I don't think anyone can truly capture what it is to live in the world except for the author who created it.

As for Cather, as a character, she seemed just... weak to me. I get that Rowell was trying to show two sides of the same coin with the twin girls and the fall-out from a mother who abandoned them, but that story really struggled under the weight of the romance and the fan-fiction and the plethora of Simon Snow references. I got, very early on, that Cather was a Simon Snow fan, but still all the way through the book the proof of that kept being described. Instead, I wanted to see the mental health issues being addressed, because every member of that family had them. I wanted to see more of a support system being built and, with access to a place like UNL, see even some of the benefits of being a student being worked into the story (there is a great counseling center right on campus as well as numerous groups that can provide support). Instead, we got just a taste of how the bad stuff can get out of control and then a quick, band-aid fix that really didn't provide much closure.

I think, primarily, I kept reading this book because it reminded me of my now-home. I loved seeing places I adore referenced in the pages of a book and knowing that there are so many people out there also reading about that place. Lincoln doesn't get enough credit - it's a great little city and the UNL campus is a beautiful one. I just wish the rest of the story had held up to scrutiny.
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kristinwithani, January 2, 2015 (view all comments by kristinwithani)
I loved Eleanor and Park, so I thought I would try another of Rainbow Rowell's novels--I wasn't disappointed! I love Fangirl! It reminds me so much of when I started reading and writing Fanfiction, I almost thought it was about me! I'm so happy and grateful that someone has finally taken the time to write a novel about the Fanfiction culture. Thank you, Rowell, for writing such a fantastic novel. I wish there was more!
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Disquietus, April 27, 2014 (view all comments by Disquietus)
Coming up with the words to write this review has mostly been impossible. Nothing I could ever tell you about my experience with this book could give justice to how much I utterly love and adore and want to live within its pages. I’ve read dozens of amazing contemporary books this year, that I’ve loved to an insane extent, but Fangirl is the moon and stars and sun and ocean of books. I definitely fall into the camp of considering this a new adult book and it’s everything that I want new adult books to be. A beautiful, heart warming, realistic, and relatable story that explores family, love, friendship and self-exploration in a truly unforgettable story.

There have been a lot of characters that I’ve related to this year, but none have resonated with me as much as Cath. An introvert who hides behind her computer screen and refuses to let anyone into her carefully built walls after her mother walks out on her family, there were times where reading about Cath was almost like looking in a mirror, in both good and bad ways. Part of Cath’s charm is that she is so obviously a flawed character. She’s equal parts funny, sweet, talented and caring as well as stubborn, self-absorbed and naive. It often feels as if she cares more about the fictional universe she writes fanfic for then the universe she’s living in, and really haven’t most of us been there? She is just so likable that seeing her character grow and step outside of that comfort zone had me cheering for her the entire time. REALLY HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE AND CHEER FOR A CHARACTER WHO HAS KANYE DANCE PARTY’S ON HER BAD DAYS?

The writing is what I’ve come to expect from Rowell. You know, utter perfection. I loved the pacing and the way the story encompassed the entirety of her freshman year and all of the stories developments on a realistic timeline. Nothing felt rushed or like Cath changed her entire personality miraculously overnight. I love it when contemps get that right. The writing was smart, witty, poignant and 100% engaging. The story made me so incredibly nostalgic for my own freshman year of college, and made me remember a lot of things I thought I’d forgotten. It even gave me the urge to dig out all of my old journals that I have buried in storage somewhere. It was so realistic and engaging that I felt as if I was living the year right alongside Cath and the other characters.

The one thing I really was not a huge fan of was all the excerpts of Cath’s fan fiction. I understand it’s purpose, especially the way it brings Cath and Levi together and such, but sometimes I felt like there was just a little too much. The short bits weren’t so bad, but the super long parts that Cath reads to Levi drove me crazy. I didn’t care about the fictional Simon Snow world (although yes, if this was a real series I would totally be all over it), I cared about Cath’s. I did think the reading aloud to Levi thing was adorable though. My best friend actually read Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows aloud to her husband, so when I read about that it made me think of that and smile because they are the most adorable couple I know.

While the focus of the story is Cath’s self-exploration, her relationship with her family is a huge part of that. Naturally I related to her relationship with her sister and dad way more than I should have. Cath is completely thrown for a loop that her twin, Wren, doesn’t want to be roommates. Wren and Cath, while sharing the Simon Snow love, are pretty much complete opposites in every way and the distance that grows between them when they start college, even though they are going to the same school, obviously hurts both of them and I really loved seeing that dynamic explored. I don’t have a twin (although I’ve always wished I did because I totally always wanted to be the evil twin when I was a kid-thank you Sweet Valley High), but I do have a cousin whose only six months younger than me and is more like my sister than my cousin and we went through a similar phase when we went into high school and it was utterly devastating for me. Watching Cath go through that with Wren brought all of that back to the forefront and I loved seeing the sisters find that balance again, even if I didn’t particularly like Wren’s character.

I also loved that Rowell actually created realistic parent/child relationships and explored them. Despite the fact that Cath is away at college and doing her own thing, her relationship with both parents, for better or worse, was definitely very present in the story. Also her mother is a horrible human being. As much rage as I felt at her for abandoning her family, I think I felt even more rage at her giving her kids weird names because she was too lazy to think of a second name when she found out she was having twins. I mean, Wren’s not that bad but Cather? WHO DOES THAT TO THEIR CHILD? Crap moms, that’s who.

Of course the book has a totally glorious romance because Rowell is amazing at that. LEVI IS MY EVERYTHING. During my freshman year, I super bonded with my RA. I think he mostly took pity on me because my roommate was horrible and I was obviously lonely and socially awkward, but he was kind of my hero that year and I was half in love with him. He was just a truly good guy and helped bring me out of my shell more than I might have without him. Plus he let me sleep on the couch in his dorm room when my roommate stumbled in loud and drunk or insisted on sleeping with the TV on. Man, I miss that guy. Anyway, tangent aside, Levi reminded me of him so freaking much it made me sad and nostalgic and so so feelsy. I loved his character so much and the development of his and Cath’s relationship was so beautiful and perfect just thinking about it makes my heart sing. It was the perfect-slow burn and even when Levi did some thing that made me want to junk punch him, he still held my heart. Seriously Cath, if you don’t someday marry him, I will. Because that is totally a possible thing.

As much as I love Levi and relate to Cath, Reagan was probably my favorite character. Her smart-ass ways and brutal honesty just spoke to me and I loved the balance she brought to Cath and the way she helped bring her out and obviously genuinely cared, even when she didn’t want to.

As a sidebar, and not that anyone probably cares but I feel like mentioning it because I’ve seen it mentioned by lots of people, while reading the book I think I figured out why Rowell uses a fictional fandom rather than Harry Potter, which Simon Snow is obviously pulled from. She actually kind of gives us the answer when Cath and her professor discuss the difference between fan fiction and plagiarism and Cath argues that it’s not plagiarism if she’s not profiting of it. If Rowell had used Harry Potter, and still included the excerpts of the fan fiction Cath wrote then technically she’d be profiting off of HP fan fiction which would technically be plagiarism. Yes. I thought about it too much but at least its sensible.

So yea. I guess I liked Fangirl. And think you should probably read it too. And if you actually read this monster of a review and all my crazy tangents, thanks for that.
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Product Details

Rowell, Rainbow
St. Martin's Griffin
Girls & Women
Children s-General
Edition Description:
Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
from 8 up to 13
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 13 up to 18

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Fangirl Used Hardcover
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Product details 448 pages St. Martin's Griffin - English 9781250030955 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Genuine — and genuinely funny — this touching coming-of-age novel perfectly blends humor and heartfelt emotion. Fangirl is about love, fan fiction, outsiders, and sisters starting their freshmen year at college. This gem will captivate teen and adult readers alike.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Cath Avery's life has two polestars: Wren, her identical twin, and the Simon Snow series, a Harry Potter — like publishing phenomenon that Cath has been reading — and rewriting, as a hugely popular fanfiction author — for years. While Cath is an expert on Simon's life, she finds her own difficult, especially now that she's starting college and Wren doesn't want them to room together. Since Cath would rather stay in her room and write than do anything involving other people, that first year is terrifying, which she expected, but also heartbreaking and romantic, which she did not. Rowell (Eleanor & Park) blends Cath's first year of college with excerpts of both the 'canon' Simon Snow books and Cath's distinctly non-canonical fanfic, to create a funny and tender coming-of-age story that's also the story of a writer finding her voice. Rowell makes all of Cath's relationships — with her father; Wren; her acerbic roommate, Reagan; and, especially, Reagan's ex Levi (who practically takes up residence in their room to woo the skeptical and extremely nervous Cath) — touching and utterly real. Ages 13–up. Agent: Christopher Schelling, Selectric Artists. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Absolutely captivating."
"Review" by , "The magic here is cast not with wands but with Rowell's incredible ability to build complex, vivid, troubling and triumphant relationships....Fans of Eleanor & Park and other bookish, nerdy types will thrill at finding such a fantastic and lasting depiction of one of their own."
"Review" by , "A charming coming-of-age novel...filled with complex subjects (such as divorce, abandonment, and mental illness) handled in a realistic manner, and the writing effortlessly and seamlessly weaves these threads together."
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