Thinking about heading to college in the Fall? Do yourself a favor and read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell before you go!
Cather is many things. She’s a twin, a college freshman, a dutiful daught
er. But, most of all, she is a writer. She and her twin, Wren, have been writing “Simon Snow” fan-fiction together for years and they have hundreds of online followers. In fact, they do pretty much everything together. Their mother left years ago and their bipolar father goes through spurts of intense, manic energy; Cather and Wren
have to keep an eye on him to make sure he remembers to do things like eat and sleep.
And now, even though Cather is moving only across the state to attend college and even though Wren will be on the same campus, everything is changing. Wren wants to have separate dorm rooms. Cather gets stuck rooming with a complete stranger whose annoying friend (boyfriend?) is constantly hanging around. She’s worried about her father who is now alone. And none of her professors think that fanfic is “real” writing!
Rainbow Rowell is amazing at creating characters that are realistic and lovable. Cather is strong and opinionated but also introverted and confused. Sometimes she’s unfriendly. Sometimes she beats herself up for saying or doing something stupid. It’s so easy to sympathize with her fears and her frustration. And, while Fangirl is realistic fiction, Ms. Rowell weaves fantasy in through Cather’s “Simon Snow” fanfic, and scenes from the “original” Simon Snow books. These are fictional books written by a fictional author that exist only in Fangirl. They are a little reminiscent of the Harry Potter series and I was kind of disappointed that I couldn’t read Simon’s full story. Ms. Rowell must have heard my psychic plea, because she published Carry On (Cather’s ongoing fanfic about Simon and his nemesis Baz) last yearBut that’s a review for a different day.