Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre/Audience: Young adult
Publication: St. Martin’s Press, 2013
Fangirl is another gem of a novel from the amazing Rainbow Rowell.
In Fangirl, we meet two twin sisters who are huge fans of Simon Snow (AKA Harry Potter). They are such devoted fans that they spend the majority of their time writing fanfiction and have gained a huge following for their stories online. Now, the twins are starting their college career and Cath is feeling abandoned by her much more outgoing twin, Wren, who does not want to room with her and is no longer interested in the Simon Snow fandom. Cath feels alone and scared without her sister by her side, but continues her Simon Snow fanfic writing. Her first semester at college is a bumpy one with a less than agreeable roommate, said roommate’s constantly present but uber charming boyfriend who is always around, continued struggles with a mentally unstable father, and the mother who left them as children trying to make a comeback in their life. Cath must learn to live her own life – on her own terms – without Wren constantly by her side.
I loved this story right from the get go. I related SO much to Cath, it was eerie. Descriptions of her refusing to eat in the dining hall, and instead staying in her own room, mirrored my own college experience to a T (hence why I moved back home and commuted to a local school after one semester). Rarely in college-aged novels do we see someone who is struggling with the change – it’s usually all about the parties and fun, and I just could never relate.
Then there was Wren who had the total opposite college experience – she partied, went out, and even landed herself into some serious trouble with all of her drinking. While Cath could frustrate me a lot with her wet-blanket type attitude (though I could truly see myself in her), Wren was even more frustrating. She basically abandoned her old life and own twin when she got to college. Ugh. They became quite opposite from one another, when really you just kind of wished they could both rub off on each other a bit – couldn’t Cath just have a little more fun? Couldn’t Wren reel it in just a bit?
In addition to the fascinating dynamics of the twins, the other relationships were intriguing as well, particularly Cath’s eventual love interest, the incredible Levi. Most girls probably swooned. Also very notable were Cath’s roommate, Reagan, their father, Art, and their mother who abandoned them as children. All of these characters and relationships were developed really well and were very complex.
I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that I love so much about Rainbow Rowell’s novels. Her writing has a casual feeling, yet it’s so polished. Her characters are flawed, yet they’re perfect. All I know is that I’m a lifelong Rainbow Rowell fangirl and I will happily read anything she writes!
My Rating: 5/5