Written by Rainbow Rowell; published in 2013.
Fangirl is a novel about Cath, a nerdy girl who loves to write fanfiction about Simon Snow and Baz. Cath and her twin sister Wren are inseparable until they go to college and that’s when things start to change between them. Wren wants to embrace the party side of college, and Cath, well she wants to stay in her room and write Simon Snow and Baz fanfic. Along the way, Cath meets her roommate Reagan and Levi, who she thinks is Reagan’s boyfriend. Little does she know, the path that is entailed for her and Levi. Cath focuses on her English and Literature majors in college, meeting Nick, a fellow writer. Nick and Cath meet up to write a story together, making a writing combination that works incredibly well.
However, Cath’s main goal for the year is to finish her fanfic ‘Carry On Simon’ by the time the final installment of Gemma T. Leslie’s book about Simon and Baz.
Then Cath’s world turns upside down with her dad being hospitalised, the return of her moth who she hasn’t seen in years after leaving Cath, Wren and their dad, and then also when Wren is also hospitalised. These are only a few of the twists in Cath’s freshman year of college.
Now I did enjoy this book thoroughly, however, it took me longer to read than I expected. I wasn’t drawn to this book to continue to read it and never want to put it down. It didn’t have the same effect on me that Eleanor and Park did (which I loved that book more than words can describe). Now I don’t know if that’s because the story is/was missing something, or if I just wasn’t in the mood to read it at the time after a week or so.
I loved all the characters, even Nick in the beginning. I did relate to this book as a previous reader and sometimes attempted writer of fanfic so there was some nostalgia for me in this book. I loved Cath’s character development throughout. I loved Reagan’s sarcastic and witty nature. I relate the most to these two character the most and I think without these two I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did. I personally didn’t see what the addition of Cath and Wren’s mother returning back into the picture added to the story, except really for Cath’s character development and the fact that Cath and Wren were able to make up following a long argument over their mother. I think I would have loved to see the closure of Professor Piper getting Cath’s fiction writing story!
Now I’m someone who is very unsure and iffy when authors write about mental health, but I was relatively happy how Rowell handled the dad’s mental illnesses, even though I did feel like the surface was just grazed. I would also have liked to see something more about Wren’s use of alcohol, but I did enjoy the fact that we got to see an insight into that fact that their dad was still making Wren go home every weekend and get Wren’s narrative about being at home with him.
But in saying all of this, I still did enjoy the storyline, Cath’s character development and the other characters as well. I think I’ll definitely have to re-read this again and see if I just wasn’t in the mood for Fangirl or if there is something missing for me.
I am incredibly looking forward to reading Carry On!