Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell; published 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Young Adult
Review in a word: Buttery
Opening line: “There was a boy in her room.”
The story starts with Cath beginning college. Sure, she’s excited, but she’s more worried than anything else. Her twin sister, Wren, is embracing college life a little too wholeheartedly, her roommate’s boyfriend(?) is hitting on her, her fiction writing class is harder than she thought it’d be, her dad may or may not be taking care of himself at home, and suddenly her long-lost mom wants to be in the picture. All Cath wants to do is sit in her room and write fan fiction. Cath is a star in the fanfic world, writing new lives for the characters of the hugely popular Simon Snow series, which is itself a thinly veiled imitation of Harry Potter. Cath’s stories receive tens of thousands of hits each day, and she feels that writing fanfic is her calling.
As Cath goes around trying to take care of and rescue her sister and father, Levi tags along. He’s always there to help her, he wants her to read her fanfic to him, he encourages her. It turns out he’s not her roommate’s boyfriend, but her ex-boyfriend and now just a good friend. Levi is obviously willing and wanting to be in a relationship, but Cath struggles as she comes to terms with some of the issues in her own life. And meanwhile, the last book in the Simon Snow series is coming out and Cath has to finish her own version of the story first.
Levi is pretty much the sweetest guy ever. (Although, if he runs his hands through his floppy hair one more time, I’m going to shave it all off. That description got old fast.) He’s not your typical hero of the story: he has a reading disability and is quirky. But that’s where Rainbow Rowell excels—in the quirky and colorful characters. And the two kiss scenes were just so darn cute.
I loved that each chapter opened with a selection about the Simon Snow series: either some of Cath’s fanfic, or an excerpt from a Simon Snow book, or an article about the series. You get to know the world that Cath loves and you care about the two main characters, Simon and Baz.
I thought I liked Eleanor & Park a lot, but Fangirl is even better. Two good people falling in love with all of their quirky habits and interests. That’s why I call it “buttery”: it’s comforting and warm and happy.
Recommend? For sure!
What I’m Reading Next: The Housemaid’s Daughter by Barbara Mutch
You might also like: