I can’t think of anywhere else in the face-to-face book world or online where you can have a book club and there would be that much creativity and that much diversity of discussion,” Rowell told Mashable. “Where we are not just talking, and we are making things. Where else would that happen? It’s so unique to Tumblr.
Are you okay?" she heard someone—Levi?—ask, "Hey…are you crying?"
Cath ran her fingers along the cover, over the raised gold type.
Then someone else ran right into her, pushing the book into Cath’s chest. Pushing two books into her chest. Cath looked up just as Wren threw an arm around her.
“They’re both crying,” Cath heard Reagan say. “I can’t even watch.”
Cath freed an arm to wrap around her sister. “I can’t believe it’s really over,” she whispered.
Wren held her tight and shook her head. She really was crying, too. “Don’t be so melodramatic, Cath,” Wren laughed hoarsely. “It’s never over…It’s Simon.
Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell, ch. 37
That scene right there reminded of when I went to get my copy of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. The bookstore was crowded and people were crying or reading while friends and family lead them out of the store.
I was so sad because this thing I had grown up with was ending. There wouldn’t be anymore, but I was so wrong about it ending.
It doesn’t end, it just gets better.
True Life: I Was A Fanfic Virgin
There are so many aspects of Cath’s personality with which I identified from the moment I met her— her physical appearance, her social anxiety, her love of every kind of sweater and emergency dance parties. These are traits I’ve had since time began. However, there was one very prevalent piece of Cath that I had only begun to understand very recently: her attraction to fanfiction.
I did not get into fanfiction until late in 2012, which many of my friends found to be shocking. I’ve been a fan of Harry Potter for years, so naturally I’d heard of and read some of the HP fanfiction, but it never resonated with me. Part of it was that I wasn’t aware of how large the fanfic community was and how many fanfics there were, and I felt I only found the most ridiculous and nonsensical stories (and I won’t even try to tell you what I read because it was a long time ago in a computer lab far, far away).
However, the main reason I stayed away was because… it wasn’t canon. That’s right— I didn’t want to lose myself in any story because I knew it wasn’t real. I know how silly this sounds; I know that the Harry Potter books are works of fiction (despite how real they are to me). And yet, even after the last book and the last movie, even after the intense sadness I felt that those chapters had closed, I didn’t want to read any stories about these characters that didn’t come straight from Jo’s mouth.
It wasn’t just HP, either. I also read the BtVS Season 8 & 9 comics, so once my husband found some older Buffy Omnibuses from after the TV series but before S8, and he offered to pick them up for me. I said no. Why? I’d already done my research and found that Joss didn’t consider them canon; thus, I didn’t consider them canon. Oh, Jes.
Apparently, all I needed was a gateway fandom. And that fandom was The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
Maybe it was because this was already a step away from the “canon” of Pride & Prejudice so it didn’t seem as “wrong,” or maybe I honestly couldn’t help myself and desperately needed more time with this Lizzie and this Darcy. I don’t really know. All I do know is that I fell in AO3 every Monday at 12:05 pm and didn’t come up for air until 12 pm on Thursdays. I would read fluffy bits that had nothing to do with advancing the plot, like Lizzie going shopping with her sisters. I would read what-if stories about what we thought would happen next in the story. I would read transitional pieces to connect each video together. I would definitely read anything involving Lizzie and Darcy that was rated M. Much like Mrs. Bennet and marrying her daughters to rich single men, LBD fanfic defined and consumed my life.
However, it opened my mind to a sort of creativity I’d never even considered. I still put my faith in canon, but I can definitely see the appeal of the elsewhere. All fanfiction readers know that once you see it, you can’t un-see it. And thank Rowling for that!
Any other fanfic virgins out there? What are your fandoms/ships/otps? What are some of your favorite stories?
Ok, I’ve finished the book. Probably I have to re-read it because english is not my mother tongue and I am sure I missed some things on the first read, but I wanted to share how it made me feel.
To start with, I immediately connected with Cath’s character, because well… I am also a fanfic writer, and I’ve had a far amount of good reviews on my stories. However, I hid this side of me from most of my family and friends for such a long time because I felt a little bit ashamed, mainly because I am (aparently) a strong girl and my stories -while had strong female characters- were romantic and a bit cheesy, so I imagined my close ones saying “OMG this isn’t you, is it? You write about love?” and it was not a great thing to feel judged or criticized for something I loved doing.
I’ve also tried to write fiction -without the fan part of it- but it’s so darn complicated! I agree with that part saying “they are characters I know, a world I love, to write something entirely new is way too much for me”, but, I have discovered that fanfiction prepare you to go to something new, and I have to confess that sometimes when I write fiction my beloved fanfic characters will eventually come to help.
This book made me realize that “to be continued” endings are not necessarily bad endings, ‘cause they open lots of doors for your imagination, but I’m still not a huge fan of them. And it made me think, my fandom is always arguing because our canon story didn’t end, but, how would we feel when the author finally says the main character ends up with this character, or decides to be forever alone, or dies?
Anywho, what I loved about this book was that it reached me in a level that non other has ever done. While reading Cath’s life I felt I was reading a bit of my own life, and though I know I’m part of a huge amount of girls and boys who write for fun, and borrow characters and world of others, imagination is one of the greatest parts of me and, despite what others my say or think, writing makes me happy.
So, thank you Rainbow for making me realize that there are lots of crazies out there.
I hated Wren for a while, I really hated Nick for being such a douche, I loved Regan’s way and I also fell a bit in love with Levi. Thanks for creating a great and approachable world. And be sure that as soon as a translation to spanish is available I will have it right away.
Thoughts on… Fangirl
I started reading Fanfiction around the same time I was reading the Harry Potter books. I loved it. As I got older I started reading Fanfiction based on the shows I was watching, like Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill. It got to the point where sometimes I’d confuse the story-lines on FF with what was happening on the actual tv show. In the past few years, I’ve stopped reading it and so when I started reading Fangirl I remembered the magic of it. There’s something so interesting and inviting about reading people’s ideas and different takes about some of your favorite shows (although I’m really not in to the Dean/Sam thing… They’re BROTHERS guys!). Fangirl is in some ways almost a love letter to the world and people of Fanfiction.
The whole book is about writing in a way and it invites you to ask and think about literature and the magic of words. All of the characters use words as part of their self. Cath uses them to escape the world around her - using Baz and Simon to connect with others in a way she finds difficult in the real world. Her father uses words in his career - it is part of who he is, what makes him tick. And sometimes these words are also his downfall. Then there’s Levi. He loves literature. But as you learn his way of reading differs from others. He loves the words and they stick in his mind to repeat again and again.
The character of Cath is easy to sympathise with and even though you don’t like Wren at first you learn to love her because of Rowell’s writing. The same goes for the character of Reagan.
I love to read. But lately I’d found myself being distracted by tv. Thank you to the Tumblr Book Club and Rainbow Rowell for reminding me of the magic in words.
Fangirling, Chapters 25-38
So in this final week of the Reblog Book Club for Fangirl, I have been somewhat struggling to pull together my thoughts. For Chapters 1-12, my focus was more reliving some of my personal fandom moments and getting to experience that sense of newness that I had been missing when we saw glimpses of Simon Snow’s world (both real and fanfictional). Then in Chapters 13-24 I was more drawn to Cath’s social interactions and the development (both positive and negative) with the people around her. But for this final part of the book, I don’t know that I can express myself in a coherent essay. I keep seeing others posts saying something just real and deep and I’m like YEAH THAT’S IT THAT’S WHAT I AGREE WITH YES but I once again find myself returning to flailing bullet points.
- Ground rules with Reagan. I wish someone as efficient as Reagan would run every meeting I have to attend for the rest of my life.
- I think Cath’s definition of being a nerd as preferring fictional worlds to the real one rang true with me. I mean, I’m a Nerdfighter, so I’m all about the unironic enthusiasm and being made of awesome. But a huge part of that for me are the fictional worlds and characters I have grown up with and grown to love, and the fact that to this day I would drop my life to go to Hogwarts. I mean, Wren’s “Now I’m too sad to start smoking” line after realizing she’s too old for Watford is so reminiscent of my experience when I realized not only was I too old for Hogwarts but I couldn’t have gone anyway because I’m American.
- I didn’t realize pornographic eyebrows were a thing I was interested in until Levi. Also, I want a boy to drive me to Omaha. I have no desire to go to Omaha, but I am so on board with a cute boy driving me there.
- I felt a little weird at first during the “sweetheart” conversation and the laundry basket thing between Levi and Cath. But after a while I realized that they’re both people who are willing to understand the other’s side and are cut out to deal with that. Levi is extroverted and respectful and funny and doesn’t pressure her and stands up for people when he sees something wrong, and Cath is very much her own person who does things her own way and doesn’t want to interfere with other people’s things because she doesn’t want their interference. These are obviously very different places they’re coming from, but I think knowing how much they like learning about each other, they are going to come to a solid understanding of these different opinions and make it work.
- Also, I got really excited knowing that Levi likes 4H. I mean, it’s not surprising given his ranch management major, but I love seeing it. I mean, I wasn’t in 4H but I did spend a lot of time at a 4H camp, so I have an appreciation. Which is funny to me, though, because Cath’s version (hard, hip-hop, and homey-don’t-play-that) is like what I grew up with in the city.
- And I need to read this book with special glasses to shield myself from the cute.
- I cannot imagine going three months without talking to my sister. And I can’t imagine speaking to my mother for the first time in over a decade like that. And I can’t imagine any of my friends just leaving one of us at the hospital alone after drinking too much. My jaw was through the floor during that entire ordeal, even though I expected something like that to happen.
- That said, the serious conversation about Wren’s drinking turning into her grilling Cath about kissing a boy was terrifyingly reminiscent of every conversation between my little sister and I. And my heart swelled about three times it’s size when Wren started talking about Cath’s fanfic.
- Reagan is like the opposite of me when it comes to twins.
- "The punk rock way to end Carry On would be to let Baz and Simon live happily ever after."
- I feel like Nick got in way over his head by walking into a situation involving both Wren and Reagan. And Levi. I think it’s nice having people in your life who are ready to be offended on your behalf like that.
And those are pretty much the big things for me in those chapters. I haven’t really come to terms with the fact the book is over, and I’m fully expecting there to be more next week.
Because I need someone to tell me how Simon’s world ended (both “real” and for Magicath).
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Chapter 24 - 38
"You’re extra nice. With everyone. You go out of your way to make everyone feel special."
"Well, what’s wrong with that?"
"How is anyone supposed to know that they are special? How was I supposed to know you weren’t just being nice?"
"You give away nice like it doesn’t cost you anything/"
Levi laughed. “It doesn’t code me anything. It’s not like smiling at strangers exhausts my overall supply.”
"Well, it does mine."
Once again, Levi is perfect. And not just the perfect guy; the perfect human being. I think we should all be a little bit like Levi. Start being nicer to others; not because you feel obligated to, but because you actually want to. Sad to say, but I’m more like Cath at the moment. I like being alone and people terrify me. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I want to strive to be more like Levi. Being nicer to others will make you happier and that’s always a great feeling.
"How do you feel when I smile at you?" he asked — and then he did smile at her, just a little.
"Like an idiot," she said softly. "And like I never want it to stop."
OKAY. That’s just freaking adorable. Rainbow Rowell is so good at making me feel all giddy at little moments like these. I. CAN’T. EVEN. RIGHT. NOW.
"You can’t leave like this —"
"It’s the right thing to do," Laura said, lowering her voice.
"In what alternate universe?" Cath felt the rage burst up her throat like a cork popping. "What sort of a mother leaves the hospital without seeing her kid? What sort of a mother leaves? Wren is unconscious — and if you think that has nothing to do with you, you are skimming the surge of reality — and I’m right here, and you haven’t even seen me for ten years, and now you’re leaving? Now?"
"Don’t make this about me," Laura hissed. "You obviously don’t want me here."
"I’m making it about me," Cath said. "It’s not my job to want you or not want you. It’s not my job to earn you."
"Cather" — Laura’s mouth and fists where tight — "I’ve reached out to you. I’ve tried."
"You’re my mother," Cath said. Her fists where even tighter. "Try harder."
OUCH. So in my last post of Fangirl, I said that Cath should try to forgive her mother at one point because it’s easier to let go of the anger. BUT THIS. I can see why it’s so difficult for her to let go. I can’t believe their mom is just gonna walk out again. She said it’s not her place, but I think that’s just an excuse. Cath is right: their mother needs to try harder. She left them ten years ago; she should know that she has to try a lot harder than just showing up and reaching out. It takes time, but you just got to be patient and persevere. SIGH.
Also, Wren in the hospital; YIKES. I love that their dad steps up and does some strict parenting. I understand that Wren wants to go out and have a good time, but you have to show some responsibility. So good job dad for setting her straight, even though he is being super harsh in his punishment, HAHA.
A few minutes later he texted her: “IDEA .. if your bored and you miss me you should write some dirty fan fiction about us. you can read it to me later. great idea right?”
Cath smiled down at the phone stupidly.
OMG LEVI. i literally LOL’ed. Anything with Levi is just perfect. And she reads more fan fiction to him, then kisses him like crazy. LOL. Like all over his face, but it’s really cute. Cath is so insecure most of the time that it distracts her. So it’s great that she finally lets loose a little.
"I like you here," he said, squeezing her. "With me."
She smiled, and her eyes started to drift downward.
Back up to his eyes.
"You now that I’m falling in love with you, right?"
OH STOP IT LEVI. CRIES.
"You can’t kill Baz," wren said, pressing the down-arrow key and skimming Cath’s Carry On outline. They kept coming back to this point. Wren was adamant.
"I never though I would kill Baz," Cath said. "Ever. But it’s the ultimate redemption, you know? If he sacrifices himself for Simon, after all their years of fighting, after this one precious year of love … it makes everything they’ve been through together that much sweeter."
"I’ll have to kill you if you kill Baz," Wren said. "And I’ll be first in a long line."
I think Wren pretty much speaks for everyone who cries over fictional characters. It hurts. LIKE WHY WOULD THE AUTHOR DO THAT? But I do like how Cath justifies why she’s doing it. People complain all the time that these deaths are unnecessary and that the author is crazy, but I don’t think so. Yes, it does hurt when they die. But like Cath explained, it’s not random. There’s a reason behind it. Authors obviously think it through. And the reason I brought this up is because Veronica Roth, author of Divergent, recently tweeted about feeling sad and uncomfortable when people jokingly send death threats if she decides to kill a character. LIKE WOW. That’s crazy. People need to calm down sometimes.
Also, I’m really glad that Cath and Wren and cool now. I can see why they were such close sisters. It makes me happy to see their relationship get mended. YAY.
"I’m sorry," Cath said. "But I don’t want any credit. You were right all along. It’s your story."
"No," he said, clenching his teeth. "I can’t loose this."
"You’ll get another opportunity. You’re a great writer, Nick," she said, and meant it. "You don’t need me."
"No. I can’t lose this. I already lost my teaching assistantship because of you."
Cath stepped back. Into Levi.
NOW HOLD UP. WTF NICK? I really REALLY dislike this dude. He’s such a jerk. Like, when I first started reading this book, I thought he was so cool. But now, he’s so pathetic to me. I’m really happy that Levi, Reagan, and Wren are all here to witness this. I just love how protective they got over her, which is as it should be. KEEP NICK AWAY FROM HER.
"God. Levi. Look at you … you’re …" She didn’t have words for what Levi was. He was a cave painting. He was The Red Balloon. She lifted her heels and pulled him forward until his face was so close, she could look at only one of his eyes at a time. "You’re magic," she said.
YES LEVI. YOU ARE. THESE TWO ARE SO FREAKING ADORABLE.
"I like your glasses," he said. "I like your Simon Snow T-shirts. I like that you don’t smile at everyone, because then when you smile at me … Cather." He kissed her mouth. "Look at me."
"I choose you over everyone."
Cath took a painful breath and reached up with one hand to touch his chine. “I love you,” she said. “Levi.”
I JUST REALLY CAN’T WITH THESE TWO.
It’s interesting how Cath worries over the possibility of Levi choosing Wren over her if he had met them together. It makes sense why she has these insecurities. She explains that they’re practically the same; not just in their looks, but in what they like, how they sound, etc. But I love when Levi points out that even though they may be similar, they both still have distinct differences. And that’s how it is in the world. It happens because there is always someone who will be better than you at something, but at the same time, you are also better than someone else. That doesn’t make others inferior to you, but everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. You may be better than someone at one thing, but they could also be better than you at another. It balances out everything. And it’s something Cath needs to learn, so that she can stop letting her insecurities distract her.
Cath stepped away from the register, trying to get out of the way, clutching the book with both hands. There was an illustration of Simon on the front, holding up the Sword of Mages under a sky full of stars.
"Are you okay?" she heard someone — Levi? — ask "Hey … are you crying?"
Cath ran her fingers along the cover, over the raised gold type.
Then someone else ran right into her, pushing the book into Cath’s chest. Pushing two books into her chest. Cath looked up as Wren threw an arm around her.
"There’s both crying," Cath heard Reagan say. "I can’t even watch."
Cath freed an arm to wrap around her sister. “I can’t believe it’s really over,” she whispererd.”
Wren held her tight and shook her head. She really was crying, too. “Don’t be so melodramatic, Cath,” Wren laughed hoarsely. “It’s never over … It’s Simon.”
AND THEN EVERY HARRY POTTER FAN WEPT. LET’S BE REAL: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF US WHEN THE LAST HARRY POTTER BOOK CAME OUT. It was the end; I was devastated. But you know what? It never really is over. I can go back and read those books and watch those movies over and over again.
ALSO, REAGAN. OMG. I love that even though it’s embarrassing for her, she still went to support her friends. I’m sure we all have a Reagan. AND I LOVE IT.
And Levi and Cath are reading the book together! Or more like she’s reading it to him. BUT WHATEVER, IT’S SO CUTE. And I really wanted to know how Simon Snow ended! Sigh.
One last thing, I’m so glad that she turned in her paper! I had so much anxiety over that paper and I wasn’t even the one writing it! I just really wanted her to write it and do well because she had a professor who really believed in here. That’s just awesome to me.
You wait. You wait until you forget that you’re waiting, until you forget that there’s anything to you beyond the stillness and quiet; an ant crawls over your knee, and you don’t flinch. And it doesn’t matter now whether she’s coming for you — the hiding is enough. (You win when no one finds you, even if they’re not looking.)
When you break from behind the tree, it’s because you want to. It’s the first breath after a long dive. Branches snap under your feet, and the world is hotter and brighter. Ready or not, here I come.
Here I come, ready or not.
— from “Left” by Cather Avery, winner of the Underclassmen Price, Prairie Schooner, Fall 2012
OMG. THIS. WAS. MY. FAVORITE. PART. I’m not even kidding. This tiny excerpt of her paper at the end of the book was so beautiful to me. It was the perfect way to end it. LIKE, I SERIOUSLY WANT TO READ MORE OF HER PAPER. Most people have mentioned that they want more Simon Snow, BUT I want more of Cath’s “Left” story. IT JUST SOUNDS SO BEAUTIFUL THAT I WANT TO CRY.
Anyways, we’ve come to the end of such a wonderful book. I recommend that everyone read it. Honestly, Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors and it surprises me because I’m not really into “chick-lit”-type of books. BUT HERS ARE AMAZING. They just make me so happy. And I’m just really looking forward to her next book!
Thanks again to the Tumblr and St. Martin’s Press for including me in this book club! I can’t wait for the next book. It’s been great participating in something so awesome. :)
Fangirl Ch. 30 & 31
Some serious conversations are best had over burritos, and so it was when Art sat down and had a Talk with Wren.
Wren pushes back when Dad suggests that she should stop drinking and she really pushes back when he tells Wren that she’s not going back to school. He’s mad and he’s pulling the dad card, which I gathered wasn’t something he was known for doing.
In the middle of all of this, Art mentions Levi, and we find out that Wren had no idea that Catha and Levi were Cath and Levi. More than anything, I think the realization that Cath’s life had progressed during their communication black-out really got to Wren. She was sad and crying and asking Cath for forgiveness.
"I don’t have to forgive you," Cath said. "It’s not like that with you. You’re just in with me. Always. No matter what happens."
Levi sends Cath some amazingly sweet text messages and this one that made me laugh:
…”if you’re bored and you miss me you should write some dirty fan fiction about us.”
Levi is getting the hang of this whole fanfiction thing, I think.
Cath still doesn’t think that dropping out of school is the answer.
Wren was out of control. She was the worst kind of out of control - the kind that thinks it’s just fine, thanks.
The thing is, with all of them in the house again, it was comforting to Cath. Wren is still reading Carry On and even helps her write….just like they used to.
Cath wakes up to a breakfast that contains cheese gravioli.
(It’s like wet cheetos)
Dad’s terms are pretty strict, but I guess the parent in me thinks that they are pretty fair, all things considered.
Alejandro is waiting for them when they return to Lincoln and Cath gets to formally meet the guy that Wren seems to have fallen for.
"When you post your Simon Snow stories, I’m not allowed to talk to her until she’s finished."
The best part about being back was getting to see Levi, but Reagan’s ground rules are a bit of an obstacle. Of course, Levi’s suggestion is for Cath to come to his house, but there is that feeling that Cath keeps having about being in private and enclosed spaces with Levi.
"What if I promise to let you touch me first?"
"Are you kidding? I’m the untrustworthy person in this relationship. I’m all hands"
"I see not evidence of that, Cather."
"In my head, I’m all hands."
"I want to live in your head."
(Nice one, Levi.)
When they walked out of the building, she knew in her heart, in her stomach, that she wasn’t coming back until morning.
I loved the description of Levi’s house.
Cath is so nervous and wound up and Levi is so sweet and determined to ease her mind. His only solution is for Cath to read to him, so she does, but pretty soon words are forgotten and there is some awesome making out.
"Cather….you know I’m falling in love with you, right?"
Write what you know
When Cath reluctantly decides to take Professor Piper’s offer of doing the final assignment, she confesses that she has no worlds that are begging her to write. Professor Piper says that’s fine and completely normal and suggests that she take an event or something from her life and spin a story out of that. I was reminded of the big rule (can we call it a rule anymore since writers tend to break things anyway): write what you know.
When you write what you know, you have this first-hand knowledge and experience that others might not have. It makes the writing more realistic, more entertaining. Obviously, research is your best friend but research mainly adds to your knowledge bank.
Writing what you know makes things more personal. The reader is going to feel your emotions which is why it’s so important that you love what you’re writing, or at the very least feel very strongly about it. I’ve had a professor comment on my writing and say they could tell which assignment I enjoyed more.
Sometimes when you’re writing, it begins to hurt, which is what happens to Cath in the end when she finally writes the assignment.
It’s supposed to hurt because you’re putting a part of yourself into your work.
It’s supposed to hurt because you’re making your Horcrux.