Sunday, January 10, 2016
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
If you like: nerding out * Freshmen * fanfic
Cath is entering her freshman year of college along with her twin sister Wren. Cath is uneasy about starting school, and not as confident as Wren who quickly finds a new group of friends. Cath dedicates herself to her fanfic writing. She finds comfort in the safety of the story and world she loves, and the dedication of the thousands and thousands of fans who eagerly await each new post she writes. Eventually, Cath’s roommate, Reagan, discovers that Cath has been avoiding getting to know campus and college life, and along with her boyfriend Levi, drags Cath out of her shell. Cath develops a comfortable rhythm by the end of the first semester, until her world is shaken up.
What I liked:
There are so many things about the world of Fangirl that drew me in immediately. As an avid Harry Potter fan, occasional fanfic reader, and MuggleCast listener, I quickly found that Cath developed a tangible quality to me. It is so much easier to immerse yourself in a world than to deal with the realities of your own. The passion of imagining everything that takes place off the page in one of those worlds creates a jumping board for creativity that can be difficult to unlock otherwise. The solitary nerd who is comforted by her fandom and has anxiety about exploring her world and making new friends is a character that is familiar, but Cath’s notoriety as Magicath sets her apart. She may be afraid of the outside world, but she also has many reasons to stick with the one she knows.
Cath’s relationship with Reagan and Levi drives the heart of Fangirl. Reagan has the potential to be the roommate we all dread, but turns out to care about Cath a lot more than she would like to. People watching in the cafeteria was something that occupied a lot of my time in college, so Reagan and Cath’s snarky review of their schoolmates really rung true. Levi could be the cliché good guy character, but he has enough components to keep him grounded and palpable. He is the perfect blend of old school chivalry and modern appreciation that will make anyone instantly fall in love.
The combination of characters that vibrate with energy and potential, and a story that will have a touch of familiarity for anyone who has lived in a dorm on a college campus makes Fangirl the kind of book you can’t put down. The characters stick with you and are the kind of people you wish could be your friends. I finished it close to a week ago, and I am already eager to reread it.
If you like finding your tribe by being who you are, read Fangirl.
Rowell, Rainbow. Fangirl: A Novel . St. Martin's Press. Kindle Edition.