Source: Borrowed from a library.
Genre: YA/NA contemporary.
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.
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 …
Here’s what happened 5 minutes after I read it:
I rarely resort to visual aids when writing reviews but this sums up my feelings quite accurately.
But don’t get confused, now, this book isn’t anything like your usual fluff. It’s not a romance (though there’s kissing involved) and it’s hard sometimes and it made my chest hurt. But in the best way possible. I may have teared up a little, too.
I went into Fangirl without reading any reviews, I just knew it was about a girl who wrote fan fic and people loved it and I was afraid it was going to be one of those hyped-up books that people adore and gush about and I sometimes end up expecting the impossible and the books disappoint me. But it wasn’t! YAY! (I’m usually much more coherent. And now I keep mystyping words Levi-style.)
Anyway, Cath (short for Cather) is a fan fiction writer and a girl very reluctant to start college. She’s only going because her twin sister (Wren) is going and though Wren doesn’t want to be her roommate (they’d always shared a room), Cath can’t stand not going where she goes. That’s about all you need to know about this book’s plot. Anything else and we’re in spoiler territory, I think, and I hate spoilers.
I really, really appreciated the characters of this story. Cath is perfect (by which I mean I loved her) – only she’s not, she has bad anxiety problems, worries too much and lives in a fictional world most of the time. She has trust issues and is extremely introverted and I loved how Rowell managed to convey this horrible feeling of being thrust into an unknown situation that absolutely terrified Cath. I could feel my heart breaking for her but I also admired her, even if she had her ups and downs and wanted to spend all her days holed up in her room, eating peanut butter.
Reagan, Cath’s unwilling roommate, ended up being my favourite character. Somehow. I just think that friends like that are hard to come by and that people who do have one of them should really just hug them and never let go (even if Reagan might have punched Cath if she ever tried to hug her).
And there’s Levi. Oh, Levi. (By the way, how do you pronounce his name? Leave-ee? Leave-ay? In Slovenian, “levi” means “the left one” or “lions”, depending on how you pronounce the “e”.) He’s… ugh, words are actually failing me at this point. I knew a guy like him – he was a passing acquaintance, really, I never got to know him – a guy who’s friendly with everyone and shares his happiness with the world, and you could fall for him but know you shouldn’t because you’re just one of the many people he’s making feel like they’re special (I like that Levi isn’t perfectly perfect!). I want to say he’s “happy-go-lucky” but that’s not right, either. He’s elusive, Levi, and just about the best love interest I’ve read about in a long time. I feel like I should add him to my post about good guys!
We also have to talk about Wren, the courageous twin, who’s more messed up than she’s willing to let anyone believe. She annoyed me so much for most of the novel but I get why she’s like that. Ohh, I love reading about unloveable characters who actually deserve to be loved. How does Rowell pull this off? It’s like she’s magic with character psychology.
Oh and if you’re up for a debate on fan fiction, I’d love to discuss how wonderful the Simon Snow inserts were here and the whole commentary on fan fiction writing. Did you know that Carry On (that’s what Cath is writing in Fangirl) is being published this year?
So go read Fangirl if you haven’t already. YES, really, even if you don’t normally read YA contemporaries. Get out of your comfort zone and give it a try. And then if you’re as impressed with it as I was, go for Eleanor and Park, which was kind of amazing, too.
Have you read Fangirl? Or anything else by Rainbow Rowell?
Are you an introvert? How do you cope with uncomfortable situations?
I’d love to hear from you! :)