Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is about growing love for humans, the reluctant choices for a better future and the power of books. The characters open themselves and bloom themselves for others to get in their zones and some, just take small steps to get into adventurous, wild zones. It is a mature perspective on the part of girls, for family, for fan fiction and a portrayal of how young adults screech, struggle and sail through college days.
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Cath and Wren, daughters to a single father are identical twins, best friends and share almost everything, from their opinions, and ideas for the fanfiction they work on and decisions for each other until they head to the same college. For 18 years, they share a room, and a life, exchanging clothes and space with ease. Now in college, Wren suggests they pick new people to live with, to dive into campus life.
Cath agrees reluctantly and ends up staying in her room, writing fanfiction for her favourite books – the SimonSnow Series. She develops a bond with her roommate Reagan, and Reagan’s ex-boyfriend Levi.
The story plays out as Cath and Wren build their individual lives on campus, revealing the beauty of the constant tangling and untangling of relationships. Cath’s anxiety, the reflections of a bipolar disorder in her father and even Levi’s dyslexia and Wren’s alcoholism – Rowell lends her deft touch to sensitive issues.
She weaves her words with elegance when she says:
“Real life was something happening in her peripheral vision.”
Or when she gives a reality check by:
“Just… isn’t giving up allowed sometimes? Isn’t it okay to say, ‘This really hurts, so I’m going to stop trying’?”
“It sets a dangerous precedent.”
“For avoiding pain?”
“For avoiding life.”
FanGirl is a book of tender adulthood and a must-read for everyone getting into college; for writers and admirers of good characters.
I saw myself in Cath; in the way, she dived into the world of her books and her stories, in the way this manifested in her socially awkward interactions. It’s a book full of friendship, connections and family. For teenagers going through tough, emotional times, this will connect with you instantly. It has warmth, it has the magic of an irrational romance and all the drama that makes the life of an urban teenager worth writing about.
You will be triggered by many emotions and you’ll be glad to sweep them all into memories of reading this book.
Take a deep breathe and re-read sentences like these:
The whole point of fanfiction,” she said, “Is that you get to play inside somebody else’s universe. Rewrite the rules. Or bend them…You can stay in this world, this world you love, as long as you want, as long as you keep thinking of new stories.
Overall, I was satisfied when I read it, it could have been made better by adding actual competitive spirit in Cath’s life, with characters from her college. All in all, it’s a sweet and sour slow-paced tale of fanfiction and sisterhood.
To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.
Recommended Age Group: 15-17