In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I really, really loved this book. It's about Cath and Wren (but mostly Cath) who are twins beginning their first year of college. Cath is quiet and has a lot of anxiety, while Wren is the more popular one - though she has struggles of her own. Both sisters are into fanfiction, but Cath spends more time writing it and has a huge fan base on a fanfiction site.
The book is about their struggles through their first year of college while learning to become independent in a completely new setting, and for some reason I really related to it. I went to university in my hometown, party due to money issues, but also partly because I did not want to move away. I felt like I related to Cath a lot in this novel, and even recognized myself in the parts of her that I found frustrating. Rowell really seemed to understand the complexities of being a young adult in a new setting.
The fanfiction parts of the story were interesting because I'd never really read any fanfiction or paid much attention to it. I knew it was a huge thing, but it's not something I've ever paid attention to, though it did kind of make me want to check some out.
Part of what made this story so good were the secondary characters, like Reagan and Levi. Reagan was the perfect blend of narcissistic, hilarious, and kind. Levi seemed a little too perfect, but really wasn't, and I found him intriguing.
I was a little frustrated by the end, but mostly because I didn't want it to end. There's still a lot of story to tell, and I'd love to see another Cath book. Heck, I'd read the Simon Snow story if Rowell published it.
I'd recommend this book to many different people. I think most readers could find a piece of themselves in the story.
Five out of five stars based on Goodreads rating system.