Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell follows Cath, one-half of a set of identical twins Cath and Wren, through her first year of college. Cath is extremely shy in real life, but in her writing she is daring and outgoing, pushing the boundaries of fantasy and romance. Going to school for the first time without Wren is hard, and so is getting along with her new roommate, but Cath has other things on her mind – namely finishing her wildly popular fan fiction of her and Wren’s favorite book series before the final book comes out, and, of course, boys. Can Magicath write a happily ever after for the characters before the series ends for real, and can she fix the problems in her own life before they get out of control?
After listening to this book and its companion novel, Carry On (which is literally Cath’s fan fiction in an actual book all its own) praised over and over again on every blog and Booktube channel I have come across, I finally broke down and bought myself a copy. Once I picked it up, I think I only put it down in order to eat because it was that good. Now, granted I’m a little biased in my opinion because the story she was fan fictioning was very Harry Potter-esque and also I hugely identify with Cath, but the writing was just so good, and the characters, even the ones Cath writes, are just very realistic and relatable. The book deals with what it’s really like to be a college freshman, but it also encompasses depression, anxiety, broken relationships, near-crippling shyness, the struggle to make new friends, loneliness, and the pressure to figure out who the hell you’re supposed to be. This book had it all, and it hit every point right on the head. It sucked me right in. The second I finished it, I handed it to my mother and demanded that she drop what she was reading and read this. Although she didn’t identify with Cath to the degree that I did, even she had to admit that she really enjoyed it.
The book bounces and back and forth by chapter between Cath’s life at school and what’s happening to Simon, the main character of her fan fiction. This was the only thing that annoyed me ever so slightly because all of the chapters ended in places where I just wanted to know what happened next and I always had to wait another chapter to find out. That aside, this book was immediately added to my all time favorites list because I just love Cath so so much it almost hurts because of how relatable she is.
HHC Rating: 5 stars