Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan...
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
When I first tried to read Fangirl, I got bored. I don’t remember how many times I reread the first few pages of this book; for some reason, it never really seemed to click with me. It was only recently, largely due to boredom, that I thought to give it another try, and I couldn’t be more glad that I did. I don’t know what changed, but before I knew it, I was hooked.
The novel centers around Cath, a rather quiet girl who prefers to bury herself in writing fan fiction than, well, pretty much anything. When she and her twin Wren go off to college, they find themselves in an environment they are not used to, and while Wren takes it as a chance to enjoy herself, Cath can’t seem to adapt quite as well. But soon enough, she finds herself making friends with some of the most unlikely people who make her feel like maybe change doesn’t always have to be a bad thing.
One of the things that makes Fangirl different from other novels is its realness, both in terms of its plot and its characters. The experiences and people are easy to relate to, as having just finished my first year of college myself, I couldn’t help but see myself in the situations that Cath and Wren (well, maybe not so much Wren) were in, making me all the more interested in how everything would turn out. The pacing is good too; I like how the relationships (specifically Cath and Levi’s) aren't rushed. They are allowed the space to grow, which in turn gives so much more meaning to the time each of these people spend with each other, as you actually feel invested in their relationship because of it.
Of all the characters, I am most drawn to Cath because she is most like me—an introvert who is socially awkward and prefers to keep to herself. I love her relationship with Wren; even though their personalities are different, their bond remains so strong. They support and build each other up, and you just know that they will always have each other’s backs. Reagan, Cath’s roommate, is the kind of person I sometimes wish I could be—straightforward and honest with no care about what anyone thinks of her, yet still a caring and loyal friend. Lastly, we have Levi, the lovable guy who you can’t help but like in spite of all his shortcomings. All of them are so different, yet somehow they all fit together so well. They are real people, people with their own strengths and weaknesses, people who you can actually relate to at one point or another.
Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl offers a simple story told in an unexpectedly touching, meaningful, and overall beautiful way. If you haven’t already read this one, I strongly suggest that you do (as if that wasn’t already obvious from the review)!