Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
(St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013, 438 pages)
Cath has been a Simon Snow fan ever since the series came out. In fact, Cath is such a fan that she has been writing fanfiction for years – Simon and Baz have become central parts of her life. Now that she is in college, however, it seems like this side of her needs to be put on the back burner. Cath’s twin sister, Wren, had also been a big Simon Snow fan but when the girls started making their college plans Cath felt her pulling away. Wren didn’t want to share a room and now that they’re at school she spends almost all of her time with her roommate. Cath feels lost and confused – it’s like there’s no one she can really talk to. Her roommate, Reagan, is older and intimidating. Plus Reagan’s friend Levi is always around, though he might be the happiest person Cath has ever met.
Cath has always loved writing, even if it always revolved around Simon Snow, so she can’t believe it when her advanced level English professor accuses her of plagiarism for one of the Simon stories she submitted. This, on top of the disconnect with her twin, concern for her father’s mental health, and the feeling that she doesn’t really belong at this school has Cath feeling like she has lost her sense of self. The only thing that really gets her through is her fanfiction… Though Levi’s cheery demeanor is slowly getting through to her.
I picked up Fangirl after reading and loving Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. I wasn’t as quickly immersed in Fangirl as I thought I’d be, but it still sucked me in. Rowell just has an amazing way of capturing the essence of so many aspects of what it means to be a teenager. From the confusion of the college experience to the warmth and mystery behind the first kiss you share with someone you really like. She just conveys things in such a way that you’re feeling them along with the character and reflecting on your own experiences at the same time. I’ve definitely become a Rowell fan and certainly recommend her books.