Simply put, Cath is a fangirl. Well, more like an expert fangirl. While most 18-year olds would be out with their friends and probably getting into some trouble, Cath prefers to spend her time in the fantasy world of Simon Snow, writing her incredibly popular fan-fiction of the series, Carry On, Simon. Has she mentioned it has over 24,000 hits?
Unfortunately for Cath, things are going to change. She’s starting her first year of college and instead of rooming with her twin sister, Wren, she’s stuck with the intense upperclassman, Reagan, who immediately deems Cath weird for the amount of time she spends on the internet. And when Reagan’s around, Levi’s around. Sure he’s probably the friendliest person in the world and is ridiculously adorable in every way, but he’s with Reagan. Now Cath is always around these newcomers (even though she’s technically the new one) and she’s slipping away from Wren, who’s having the time of her life and enjoying college.
Oh, and her Fiction Writing professor believes fanfiction writing isn’t worth anyone’s time.
I enjoyed reading Fangirl because Cath was a character I could relate to very well (and I’m sure I’m not the only one). She cannot stand going out to parties or making small talk with complete strangers, she aspires to do well in school, and she wants to stay close to those she knows best – her sister and father. In fact, she’d be much happier spending the day reading or writing her fanfiction, and if doing both where a viable job option, she’d be all set. Rather than dealing with the family drama going on between her dad, sister, and mother – who has now decided she wants to be in the girls’ lives again – Cath would rather hide under blankets and silently panic, hoping that the problems will go away on their own.
Rainbow Rowell did a great job of making this book relatable to anyone who has experienced, or is experiencing, their first year of college. Change is something that some people don’t do well with – like Cath – and will drive them to the point of hiding in their room eating protein bars just to avoid going to the campus dining hall to eat hundreds of strangers. Rowell shows a great understanding of what it is like to be a true fangirl – or fanboy – in today’s world. And as someone who has written my share of fanfiction, I must say that I really appreciate the examination Rowell includes about fanfiction being a form of literature.
Though I’m not a fan of some of the language used in the book, I can’t deny that it’s very realistic. Other than that, the only problem I truly have with this book is the reference made to Harry Potter because the world of Simon Snow is a fictionalized version of it. That basically makes the Simon Snow series a knock-off not just in our reality, but even in the book! It makes no sense to me to even mention Harry Potter in this book.
In any case, Fangirl is a wonderful, authentic piece of Young Adult literature and is worth taking the time to read!