Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Enjoyment Rating: *****
This book would be rated: PG-13 or R for sexual themes and language
Remember back a few months ago when I fawned all over Rainbow Rowell's lovely YA novel Eleanor and Park? I was delighted to see that she was coming out with a new book, but since it same so quickly on the heels of E&P, I was a little bit worried that this one wouldn't live up to its predecessor. So I was surprised to find that I actually liked this one more.
Although Fangirl would probably be found in the teen lit section of Barnes and Noble, its protagonist, Cath, is a college freshman at University of Nebraska, straddling the bounds between childhood and womanhood. And this scares her. Lots of things scare Cath. The fact that her twin sister, Wren, didn't want to be her roommate. The idea of going to the dining hall. Her roommate, Reagan. Her roommate's boyfriend, Levi. Her fiction writing class. How her father is going to survive with both of his girls at school. In fact, the only time Cath feels absolutely unafraid is when she's Magicath, the author of Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) fanfiction. Thousands of readers are waiting with baited breath for Magicath to finish her version of the story before Gemma T. Leslie's (JK Rowling's) final novel comes out.
Cath's anxieties are something that gets in the way with her daily functioning. She has a hard time reading people. She has obsessions. She has weird things about food. She finds it hard to forgive people who have wronged her and has sort of a rigid sense of right and wrong. But she's also a person who cares deeply about her family. Her mother left the family when the girls were young (I read this at the same time I was reading The Lowland and the books were interesting to read in comparison with each other). She wants to be less fearful. She might even want to fall in love.
Fangirl is a book with so much heart that I didn't want to stop reading. The book takes place over the course of Cath's entire freshman year, and a LOT happens in the book. I think I loved it so much because Cath reminded me a lot of my son, Bryce, and it gave me hope that he might be able to thrive in the wilds of a freshman dorm. One note: the main narrative of the story is interspersed both with selections from the Simon Snow novels and selections from Cath's fan fiction. I know some readers didn't love these parts, but they didn't bother me.