I loved Rainbow Rowell’s first YA book, Eleanor & Park, so I was eager to read anything else by her. And when I heard her newest book was called Fangirl, I jumped at the chance to read it. (Figuratively. It’s hard to read anything while literally jumping.) I read an advance copy of this several months ago and told all my nerdy friends to read it as soon as possible. The nerds of the world took this to heart and chose Fangirl as the first pick for the Tumblr Reblog Bookclub.
I’ve read a lot of teen books in my day, and I’ve read a lot of fanfiction, but I’ve never read any teen books that even acknowledged that fanfiction exists, let alone had it as a central part of the storyline. I know for a fact that plenty of teens (and former teens) read and write fanfiction, so why don’t we see it in more books? I guess it’s at least partly due to what Fangirl‘s protagonist Cath faces–the stigma that fanfiction is something for the nerdiest of the nerds, something you might do in private online but would never want to talk about. But let me back up–maybe you, reading this review, don’t know what fanfiction is? It’s pretty much what it sounds like–fiction written by fans. For example, before she wrote The Mortal Instruments series, Cassandra Clare wrote Harry Potter fanfiction that focused on the character Draco Malfoy’s adventures. You can find fanfiction out there for pretty much any popular movie, TV show, or book. In Fangirl, Cath writes fanfiction about Simon Snow, a series that sounds very similar to Harry Potter.
In Fangirl, Cath and her twin sister Wren are just starting college. Wren is more outgoing than her twin, and she decided that the sisters should have their own roommates rather than life together. Shy Cath is having a hard time adjusting to life away from home, and her surly roommate Reagan doesn’t help much. She takes comfort in her Simon Snow posters and in her familiar world of fanfiction, until she starts to come out of her shell.
I had a blast reading Fangirl because it was so fun to see characters who interacted with fiction the same way I do. Rainbow Rowell excels at writing charming, relatable characters, and I loved reading about Cath, Wren, Reagan, Levi, and the whole crew. Fangirl is a fun, romantic read about characters coming into their own while still holding onto their roots.
Reviewed by: teen librarian Renata
Recommended for: any fangirls and boys out there, or anyone who likes a good contemporary romance