Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was a contemporary YA coming of age novel. It follows Cather who is going through her freshman year of college. She isn’t acclimating well especially when her twin sister, Wren, doesn’t want to be roommates together. Cather is a complete introvert and has anxiety. She writes fanfiction for the Simon Snow series, which is very similar to Harry Potter. Then she meets Levi who she develops a crush on. Overall the book was quirky and cute. The characters all had their own personalities, and all were vivid. I enjoyed the whole story and I want to go out and read other Rainbow Rowell books. Furthermore, I just got through my first year of college as well, so I was able to connect a lot with Cath. I would give this one a 4.5 out of 5. Here is my Five Things Wrap Up.
- Cather was a little too closed in at times
I personally liked Cath, and I connected with her on so many levels. My first semester of college was awful. I wanted nothing more than to stay home after my first semester. Like Cath, I did not want to leave my dorm room. Instead of writing fanfic though I read and I watched a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I didn’t really try to connect with people, and I would get discouraged when I saw how much fun other people were having. Moreover, I also have anxiety like Cath, and I do a lot of the same things as her when I get nervous, such as getting frustrated with people and shutting down. However, I felt Cath would try too hard to shut people out of her life. I felt uncomfortable at times when she would go out of her way not to do something. Other than a few instances when this happened I really loved Cath.
- Some moments were anti-climactic and ended abruptly
One of the biggest reasons why I gave it a 4.5 instead of a full 5 was because there were moments of the book that ended abruptly. Some chapters I felt ended right in the middle, and I am sure Rowell wanted us to fill in the blanks, but it felt choppy. I would be reading a scene between Levi and Cath, and I would be getting really excited, but then the chapter would just end. There was not really any closure. This also impacted the excitement of the book. It made the book very anti-climactic. There were scenes with a lot of potential, but they were never elaborated. It was a cutesy read and didn’t really venture further than that. It only happened a couple of times throughout the book, but it happened enough where it affected what I rated it.
- I love how Cath and her sister were so invested in their fandom
I have never read a book that covered a character that was passionate about a fandom before. The fact that it resembled Harry Potter made it even better. I have been reading Harry Potter since I was in second grade, and I have been obsessed ever since. I still reread the books, rewatch the movies and play around on Pottermore. Additionally, the fact that fanfiction is seen as a form of literature was also a plus. There are so many talented people that put their heart in soul into fanfiction, and it should be recognized more. I personally don’t write any fanfiction, but I always love checking out other fan’s work.
- The theme of transitioning to being an independent young adult
There is such a huge transition from high school into college. Your whole world changes. You go away from home, in my case, six hours away, and start to live on your own. You need to start taking responsibility and make your own decisions. You get to choose who you want to be and sometimes we make mistakes, like Wren who partied too much, and sometimes we make lasting memories and friendships. What is most important is making your own experience. Cath knows that she isn’t one to go out and party, but she learns to start making the most out of her experience at school. This theme is something that I think is really important to explore because with the influx of social media we all think our peers are situating to college so much better than we are. It is refreshing seeing someone else freak out about classes and being away from home as much as I did.
- Showing the importance of family
This book also delved into familial relationships. With Cath and Wren, it tested their relationship as twin sisters. They both underwent big transitions into college, and their relationship had some turbulence. They wanted different things, and Rowell showed how important it was to communicate with your siblings, and know they will always be there. Cath talked about how you don’t have to forgive your sibling, you know that you’re past that. There is also the father/daughter relationship that is explored. Their mother left when they were eight, so he has basically raised his daughters for the majority of their lives. The story even follows his own issues after his daughters leave for college. Moreover, I think more YA books should cover more realistic family relationships like Fangirl did. Rowell did an excellent job at creating a cute, and realistic family that had problems but worked to get through them.
Read ya later!
Mads at Mad Lit