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Book Review: Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is a few years old (from 2013) and it was one of my first reads of the year. This contemporary book is a great reminder of why it’s so unfortunate that the New Adult category is all but forgotten by publishers. I wish I would have found this book when I was still in college because this is exactly the sort of book I wanted during those years. I always felt like those years are missing from fiction or purely romance, which is bad news for new adults searching for similar experiences in books. This book was great and I highly recommend it.

This book follows Cath during her first year of college and the struggles that come with the transition. Her twin sister Wren doesn’t want to be roommates, forcing Cath out of her comfort zone. And unlike Wren she isn’t as good at meeting new people or making friends, causing her to feel isolated at her new school as she drifts from her sister. She prefers to delve into the world of Simon Snow fanfiction and her popular fanfiction C. College brings new experiences and all Cath can do is rise to the challenges or fail.

Fanfiction has become such a big phenomena that it was nice to see it represented in a contemporary book. This book even gives you glimpses into the fanfiction named Carry On that Cath writes, but those bits can also be ignored if the fictional story isn’t your cup of tea. If the story is your cup, the good news is Rainbow has since turned the story into a novel. Carry On is a fantasy LGBT romance. I haven’t read the full-length novel but in Fangirl it gave me Harry Potter vibes, which I’m guessing was the inspiration for Simon Snow.

While this book does have romance, it’s very realistic and isn’t the sole focus. The story also explores the loneliness that comes with starting college and the difficulties of being pushed into new places around new people. This is great for introverts looking to read about other introverts dealing with college life. A realistic college experience is the best way to describe this book complete with heartbreak, awkward romance, and difficult family relationships. The book even delves into Cath’s struggle with one of her classes. So if you want a great read that takes place during the transition to college, I highly recommend this book.

16068905From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park. A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

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? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

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