Over the years, only a select few contemporary YA novels have managed to capture my heart. When I read one and rave about it, I really enjoyed it. So today, I’m here to talk about the next contemporary to make my list; Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.
Published in 2013, Fangirl is no stranger to the YA book world. After the success of Eleanor and Park, people were dying to read Rowell’s next book and of course, Fangirl got a wildly positive reception. (It currently sports a 4.25/5 star average rating on Goodreads, a feat not many books can attest to.) Barnes and Noble even carries a collector’s edition of the book. (Which I may actually pick up at some point when the wallet agrees!) While I’m sure you’ve heard of the book, I’m hoping here to win you over to read it. (Look at me being all promotion-y and stuff!)
Fangirl follows Cath, our protagonist, and her twin sister Wren as they start their freshmen year of college. Cath’s life is all about reading, and, you guessed it, fan-fiction writing. While Wren has mostly left the Simon Snow fandom behind, Cath is still head first into it, trying to keep up with the demand for her fan fiction series that she publishes online. But Cath can’t just focus on her story. She has a father at home, by himself, ever since their mother left them as kids, and his mental state is at times questionable. And all the relationships in her life seem to be tugging at her in different directions. As the book description asks on Goodreads, “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?”
I think part of the reason I ended up loving this book was that I felt I could relate, somewhat, to Cath. I know what that pull is like, when there are things you want to be doing yet so many other things that crave your time and attention. I myself adore creative writing, and although I don’t write fan fiction, I have a high respect for it. I love that this book addresses those people who look down upon it and say that it doesn’t count as writing, because the characters are “plagiarized.”
If you’re a book or writing fan, or even a college student, you should try this adorable, heartwarming, entertaining and at times hilarious novel. Maybe you’ll become a Rainbow Rowell fangirl while you’re at it too.