Finally reading my first Rainbow Rowell novel, I feel like I am slightly behind all of the appraisal Rowell has been receiving for her novels. I can definately understand why Rainbow Rowell’s books have been taking the YA genre by storm, her writing is catchy and perfect for avid YA readers. I don’t read a lot of YA novels, simply because sometimes the plot and writing can be a bit conventional, but I thought I’d give Fangirl a fair shot.
The story focuses on a young college Freshman, Cather, or Cath as she prefers to be called. Cath and her twin sister Wren to go college where they are drifted apart as Wren wants to venture out and experience all of what college has to offer, and Wren is comfortable staying within the confines of her room and behind her computer screen. Before college, both Cath and Wren are obsessed with fictional and wildy popular Simon Snow series-a sort of Harry Potter parallel. They even write their own fanfiction of Simon Snow stories which gains a large amount of readers on the Simon Snow fanfiction site FanFixx.net. However, Wren shifts away from the fandom as she seeks an independence apart from Cath, leaving Cath to be the main contributor to the Simon Snow stories. Finding her way from her dorm room, to the cafeteria, to her Intro to Fiction Writing class, Cath struggles with finding her place in a new environment. Introverted and reclusive Cath is paired roommate with fiery and very outgoing Reagan whose bestfriend turned boyfriend turned bestfriend again, Levi, who may or may not smile too much. It’s no secret Simon Snow takes over the mind, body, and soul of Cath as she pours herself into writing fanfiction, often neglecting her schoolwork. Cath faces life in college as she is pushed to her boundary through her writing, sister, friends, and new found love. Fangirl brings together unlikely personalities, addresses social anxieties, and examines wavering family relationships.
This book was like taking a giant bite out of a sprinkle covered pink donut. It’s contrived plot was almost too sanguine for my taste. The plot was very typical: quirky girl goes to college and finds her way, and oh of course she meets a boy. Rowell is an excellent YA novelist and her book definately satisfied my small sweet spot; I applaud her for creating a novel for all the inner (and outer) fangirls out there. I really didn’t care for Cath. She was too closed out from the world and it seemed she did it on purpose. At times I just wanted to shout “GROW UP AND GET OVER IT,” for some of her behaviour seemed really juvenile. I understand social anxiety is a real thing, but at times I think she just used it as an excuse to shut herself off some more. I found myself eye-rolling at practically everything she did or said. The relationship between her and Levi was cute, and I enjoyed reading about them. I think I liked her roommate Reagan the best out of all the characters, and would definately read a story about her. We only get a surface level of Reagan, Levi, and Wren and Nick, the characters surrounding Cath. However, these characters seemed more honest and real over Cath. Overall the book was great and I found it to be a nice moment in my reading. Even though the novel was sugary and sweet, there were really good elements in the story. Rowell knows what YA readers love and catered specifically to that audience. With YA fiction becoming ever so popular in the book world, Fangirl encompasses all of what YA novels are typically about. I’m curious to see if Rowell can write something a little darker and heavier, or if sentimental is just her thing. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a light read or something happy. I want to read Rowell’s other novels to see if they are similar or different to Fangirl.
Which Rainbow Rowell novel should I read next?