Fangirl is a contemporary novel by Rainbow Rowell.
It is set in a college in Nebraska, where twins Cather and Wren (That would be Catherine, the estranged mother couldn't be bothered to give them two actual names.) are set to start their first year.
Despite being twins, they couldn't be more different. Cather is an introvert who prefers the world of imagination, whereas Wren is completely extrovert, who thrives on being in the middle of any social scene.
But they both were extremely close growing up and both loved The Simon Snow Series. Think of Simon Snow as Fangirls version of Harry Potter. The two girls are so in love with Simon Snow Series, they write fanfiction for it. Mainly Cather, who ultimately is the main author. Her fanfic ends up gaining a huge audience. Thousands, tens of thousands! This is where Cather thrives, this is where she feels calm. This is the backbone of Cather's life and the link throughout the book.
As college approaches, she finds her relationship with Wren strained. Distant. And then Wren decides to not room with Cather, which sends Cather into this state of loneliness, frustration and sadness. Cather does not feel equipped for life on her own without her built in friend. Her codependence on that sisterly relationship left her ill equipped for the social necessities of college life.
But she is forced to learn how to be more independent. To "make nice" with these strangers who insist on being friends or at least friendly with her. To grow as a person, no matter how resistant she feels about the whole thing. To live outside of her head. She meets her roommate, Reagan and Reagan's "boyfriend" Levi. Who play a pivotal role in Cather's life as just Cath, and not MagiCath or twin Cath. Just Cath. Just.
I did find I could identify with some of Cathers personality. Being somewhat of an introvert myself, who loves dreaming away about fantastical worlds. But, (and this is kind of a pretty big but), I felt frustrated by her lack of ability to adapt to the changes around her. Her absolute resistance to some very basic and what I felt were simple changes. It felt like pulling teeth with her sometimes and it left me feeling moments of annoyance. Not in any breaking way, but just like "Really Cath? Come on!"
I felt the way she dealt with the last big assignment for her fiction-writing class wasn't accurate to Cather. Who I felt was very studious and serious about her education. I just didn't buy that little story line at all. But it was a very minor issue I had.
Her growth throughout the book, as slow as it may have seemed, can, I feel, be related by so many people. I sympathized with her on so many levels. I appreciated, her efforts at times. And I just adored the scene where this was said:
"And then she kissed my receding hairline and cried, she imagined him saying. In her imagination, Levi was Danny Zuko, and his roommates were the rest of the T-Birds. Tell me more, tell me more."
The realness of this chapter, of the moment that was happening, and how I could so identify with her on that level had me laughing so hard! There was something very real about Cather and the other people in this book.
Dad and his struggles of being a single working parent of twin girls! The trauma of the abandonment of his wife, mother of his girls. The complicated relationship between him and Cather and Wren.
Levi, what a great guy! He was such a likable character that I felt I would love to know in real life. He wasn't some perfect hottie who said all the right things at the right time. He was just a breathe of fresh air.
Wren. What can I say about Wren. I was not happy with this chick at all. And rightfully so. I wanted to understand her, but I just couldn't. When dealing with a novel, you don't get all the meaty parts you can get with a trilogy or a series. There just isn't enough time for all that extra. So, without getting a Wren POV, I was left feeling frustrated with her for most of the book.
No, this wasn't a story about Wren, or Levi, or Dad or Mom.
This was a book about Cather. No. One. Else. This was her story. Her coming of age, love story. Her breaking out of her shell (albeit, against her will) story.
And it was beautiful.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars!
Have you read Fangirl? Leave me a comment below what you thought of the book!
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