I was very excited to read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell after reading and loving Eleanor and Park last year. There’s so much love out there for Fangirl so I went into reading this with my expectations set sky high, ready to have my heart and mind truly blown. And while I enjoyed this YA book, there was a lot to like about it, it didn’t grab me as much as I thought it would.
For anyone who is not familiar with Fangirl, it tells the story of Cather or Cath, twin sister to Wren. When they start university, Wren wants to set out alone from the whole twin thing and party. Cath on the other hand, hides out in her dorm room like a hermit and works on her fanfiction story that is part of the world of Simon Snow (a Harry Potter like publishing phenomenon). She has worked on this story for two years and has thousands of online followers. Even though she writes about love between Simon and the evil Baz, she has yet to experience it herself.
Despite Cath avoiding the real world due to social anxiety, she manages to make friends with her roommate Reagan and Reagan’s possible boyfriend Levi. But Cath has much to learn about life, friendship, relationships and writing.
I don’t know much about fanfiction so I couldn’t really relate to Cath’s obsession with rewriting the ending of someone’s work but all the Simon Snow references reminded me of the joy of reading Harry Potter for the first time and of being a fan of a book series.
Rainbow Rowell writes great characters, each with their own quirks. I particularly liked the character Levi because he was warm, personable, social and really came to life on the page.
The protagonist Cath was an interesting character who has a lot to cope with in her family life and obviously has confidence issues and social anxiety. But she was confident about her writing. I liked Cath’s witty one-liners but after a while I got annoyed with her for not taking more control of life and situations. But I guess that was just in keeping with her personality. If anything, it showed that she was still in the process of making the transition from a kid to a young adult.
I wasn’t a fan of the ending of this book. There was a lot that was left unresolved. This happened in Eleanor and Park as well. It’s like the author just ran out of things to say. I felt like the whole book was building towards something and then it just never made it.
I will still read more books by Rainbow Rowell as I do like her writing. I have just read Attachments (which I loved) and Carry On is waiting on my to be read pile.
Verdict: A sweet coming of age story about family, first love and the joys of writing.
Have you read Fangirl? What did you think?