Today’s Bookanista recommendation is…
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
From Goodreads – From the author 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?
It’s sort of hard for me to put my affection for this novel into words. It is the quintessential Katy Book (romance and reading and writing!) and I adore everything about it. Seriously — everything, which doesn’t happen frequently. Like, even when I really, really love a book, there are often still instances when I’m reading along and am pulled out of the narrative to think huh, I would have done that scene a bit differently. But that did not happen while I was reading Fangirl. Not once. I can’t name one flaw, not one tiny thing I’d change about this story. In my mind, it was perfection; it was an absolute joy to visit Cath’s world.
Rainbow Rowell is a master of dialogue. She’s brilliant at crafting quirky, charming, blemished-in-the-best way characters. She’s a genius when it comes to taking commonplace situations (feeling unmoored during freshman year of college? who hasn’t been there?) and spinning them into something vibrant and unique and utterly compelling. And she writes the tingly feelings of first love like no other contemporary author I’ve read. She makes hand-holding hot. In Fangirl, she makes reading aloud hot.
I can’t say much more about Fangirl, because it’s a novel that must be experienced, delighted in, and savored. You have to meet Cath and Levi and Wren and Reagan for yourself. You have to delve into their complex relationships, and dive head first into the fandom of Simon Snow. Fangirl is one of those rare books I wanted to crack open and reread immediately after finishing. A 2013 favorite for sure!
*A few links of note: Rainbow Rowell speaks to The Toast about continued attempts to ban her YA debut Eleanor & Park (an incredible book), YA Highway interviews Rainbow Rowell about Fangirl, and Bookanista Jessica Love gives her take on Fangirl and Cath’s super-relatable introvert tendencies.*
Don’t forget to check out what my fellow Bookanistas are up to:
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