Mar 6, 2016

Book Review: Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: September 10th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Bought
Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.
Without Wren, Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.
Fangirl was in my TBR list for a long time. It sounded like the story of my life, mainly because I've been referring to myself as a fangirl since I was thirteen, and it didn't hurt that it was written by Rainbow Rowell AKA the genius behind Eleanor & Park. Now that I've read this, I can say that I loved it... but it's not my favorite Rowell book.

The story introduces us to Cath, a girl who prefers staying in with her family and her fanfics because of her social anxiety, as she enters college without her dad and her twin sister Wren by her side. Wren has decided that college is the perfect time to meet new people and step away from Cath, so while she's busy getting shit-faced every weekend with her roommate - who is not her sister - Cath shuts out the world and keeps to her safe zone, full of Simon Snow fanfiction and solace.
Underneath this veneer of slightly crazy and mildly socially retarded, I'm a complete disaster.
A hundred pages in, I realized that this was going to be a long read, but a lovely one, like listening to a friend vent about her life for hours. Cath feels lost and alone in college, and at one point she even thinks of quitting and going home to attend community college, but soon her hard-edged roommate takes pity on her and said roommate's kind-of boyfriend befriends her, pestering her to unknowingly open herself up. 

Aside from her social (and romantic) growth, we also watch Cath grow as a writer. She learns that writing is not all fun and easy as with her fanfics, but that there are times when she will face a wall and have to write her way through it. She even learns, unfortunately, that not everyone who tries to get close to her truly wants to be friends with her.
Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.
A hearty novel chock full of sisterhood and friendship and going out of your comfort zone, Fangirl will keep you entertained for hours. It made me wish I could write like Cath does when she's in the zone, focused and unable to distract for hours on end. The romance between Cath and Levi made me squeal and giggle stupidly, and the Simon Snow snippets between every chapter make me need to buy a copy of Carry On some time soon.