64 pages • 2 hours readRainbow Rowell
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Simon Snow and his companions made their first appearance in Rainbow Rowell’s 2013 young-adult novel Fangirl. The title refers to protagonist Cath Avery, who pours her creativity and writing skills into a novel-length fanfiction about the fictional Simon Snow book series by Gemma T. Leslie. During Cath’s freshman year of college, she contends with social anxiety, her twin sister’s alcoholism, her father’s mental illness, her absent mother’s reappearance, and her growing feelings for her roommate’s ex-boyfriend. Writing helps Cath grapple with these circumstances and “come to terms with her life” (Nordling, Em. “Finding Your Real Life OTP: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.” Tor, 13 Aug. 2013). Fangirl was praised for its “true-to-geek-life” presentation of fandom culture and Rowell’s understanding that “fandom is so much more than escapism—it is, whether conscious or unconsciously—a way for folks to interact with their surroundings” (Nordling). Simon Snow may be a fictional character, but telling his story helps Cath rise to real challenges.
Simon’s debut as an embedded fiction in a novel about fandom is fitting because his story takes inspiration from real-life fanfiction. In the author’s note for Carry On, Rowell explains that her Simon Snow trilogy is neither Cath’s writing nor the fictitious Gemma T.
By Rainbow Rowell