//by Rainbow Rowell//published 2013//
So this is my third Rowell book. Landline, which I never got around to reviewing, was the first. Then, not long ago, I read Eleanor & Park, which, unexpectedly, I actually enjoyed.
Fangirl wasn’t like either of those. It was more lighthearted. There were some genuinely funny characters, some fantastic dialogue, and some solid conversations/themes underneath.
The main character is Cath. A college freshman, Cath is nervous about being on her own for all the usual reasons, and some that aren’t so usual. She can’t believe that she is going to be rooming with another random student in the dorm – she’s always shared a room with her twin sister, Wren, but Wren has shown a spark of independence by declaring that it’s time to meet new people, have new experiences, and embrace life – which means having a new roommate in a different dormitory.
Cath is a huge fan of Simon Snow. As Rowell explains to us via an “Encyclowikia” entry at the beginning of the book, Simon Snow is the main character of a fantasy series that sounds a great deal like Harry Potter. Cath isn’t just a fan, though – she writes fanfiction about Simon Snow, and her stories are immensely popular.
Throughout the story, Cath adjusts to her new life, and we learn more about her old life, and why she is the way that she is. Cath is an incredibly relatable and likable heroine, and I really enjoyed reading about her ups and downs of college life. There is plenty of good stuff about family, relationships, friendships, and just overall becoming-an-adult stuff, and Rowell handles it all well. I really loved watching Cath’s relationships with her dad and her sister transition from relating as a child to relating as an adult. It’s one of those weird things about growing up that people don’t really talk about – while you’ll never be a contemporary of your parents, you do become an equal.
Eleanor & Park was about a pair of high schoolers; Landline is about a middle-aged couple; but I really felt that Fangirl was where Rowell belongs – she brought life to her college characters incredibly well, capturing that awkward whoa-we’re-adults-except-we-have-no-idea-how-to-adult feeling perfectly.
Fangirl was a super fun read. I could have done without some of the passages of Cath’s fanfiction, but overall the story moved well, the characters were both likable and believable, and the story was adorable. 4/5.