Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
So I loved Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park, and as this book has had plenty of hype on BookTube, I thought that it was the perfect next step for me in the YA world. This whole story is pretty much Cath(er) Avery's bildungsroman; it follows her as she moves away from home for the first time for college, leaving her dad and boyfriend behind. She is also separated from her twin sister Wren who, despite attending the same college, certainly does not want to be her roommate, ouch. Cath's main preoccupation in life is writing fanfiction of her favourite book series, Simon Snow, of which the final novel is published at the end of this story. This means that she spends a lot of her time alone, writing away, and she is mega-famous in the fanfic world, but not so much in real life. By the end of the novel Cath sees the good living away from Wren has done her; she has new friends, new experiences, and a great boyfriend. Sure, she still spends most of her time in her room, but she's made a new life for herself. Overall, I enjoyed the character of Cath. At first she seemed like she could be a stereotype, but she wasn't. She was a well-rounded character- caring, intelligent and, yes, pretty geeky. I also liked the peek into her writing with the inclusion of the fanfiction, and Rowell's attempts at metaphor with the inserts of Simon Snow fiction which subtly reflected Cath's own life. There were a few things I disliked; I didn't quite get the character of Levi, so the romance was a bit lacking for me. Apart from his smily, happy chappy persona, he didn't seem to have any other defining qualities, and was just a bit blah. Even though I hated Nick, I kinda preferred him, as he was more interesting. However I did appreciate the chemistry between Levi and Cath, and for that, I forgive the flaws of the character. My biggest dislike was the ending, as it was an obvious set up for a sequel. It ended with an excerpt from the Simon Snow books, not from Fangirl itself. I thought this was a bit of a cop-out, as what readers really care about are the characters in the book they are actually reading, not a made up series that does not actually exist. I was left a bit deflated when I didn't get to find out what happened to Cath and Levi, Art or Cath's writing.
What was it about? Growing up, figuring out who you are in a new environment.
Would I recommend? Yes, it is a moving and identifitable story, even for someone who isn't particularly into fandoms or any of the features topics. The idea of finding your way in college, or simply just on your own, is one I think many of us can relate to.