Written by: Rainbow Rowell
Published by: St. Martin's Press
Release date: September 10, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy: B&N, Amazon
Add on: Goodreads
In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
There are tons of books out there with relatable characters, who are easy to understand and “relate to” on a certain level. If you know me, you know I’m never a fan of books where I can’t relate to the characters at least a little bit – it’s a requirement of a good book, for me. I need to feel something for the characters, and that’s easier to do if they’re relatable and understandable.
But it’s not often that I come across a book where I strongly and immediately relate to the main character. I mean, considering the fact that I read mostly science fiction, or fantasy, or dystopian/post-apocalyptic books, I suppose this isn’t terribly surprising. It’s not like I’m fighting for my life after the destruction of humanity by some futuristic disease that turned everyone aged 26+ into zombies (I stipulate “over 26” because I am 25, and I’d like to think I’m still alive in this post-apocalyptic future). (Actually, based on the YA books I’ve read, I am pretty likely to be one of the “adults” killed, leaving all the young teens fighting for their lives. …Wow, that actually kind of sucks… But I digress.)
Excluding my tendency towards scifi/fantasy – even in the really good “realistic fiction” I’ve read (while the main characters might be relatable in certain ways), there has never been a character who said, “Hey look, I understand you, I understand your anxieties, your passions… You’re not alone!”
And then there was Fangirl. In Cath, Rainbow Rowell gave me a character whom I related to more than any other character I’ve read before, and on an extremely personal level. And I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to read this.