Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell has quickly become one of my favorite novels. Cather, nicknamed Cath, has always relied on her twin sister, Wren, for companionship. Growing up, the two read Simon Snow and wrote fanfiction together. After their mother left, the sisters relied on the fantastical storylines they read and penned to fill a void, allowing them to fall into a magical mystical world and spend time together doing something they loved.
While Wren had moved on with her life, extraordinarily excited for freshman year of college, Cath still loved Simon Snow more than anything. She hung posters in her dorm room and placed copies of Simon Snow books by her bed. Every day Cath still wrote her Simon Snow fanfiction, Carry On, wanting to continue the story of Baz and Simon. Cath assumed she and Wren would room together in college, but Wren decided that it was time for the pair to separate and experience life on their own, forcing Cath into a situation she did not necessarily anticipate.
In turn, Cath was forced to room with Reagan, who was not a freshman but an upperclassman. Reagan was not welcoming to Cath, making Cath feel even more isolated. Oddly enough, the pair bonded over the fact that they were forced to share a room. Cath soon started to interact with Reagan’s friends, particularly Levi, who stopped by their room on a regular basis. Rowell was able to incorporate his character in a manner that did not feel contrived whatsoever. I looked forward to Levi’s visits.
While reading, I was amazed at Rowell’s attention to detail. Her writing skills and talent warrant a special acknowledgment. For instance, Cath’s mother did not know she was pregnant with twins, originally, selecting the name Catherine for her unborn daughter. When she found out she was going to have twins, she split the name in two, Cath and Wren. Small details like this really resonate with me as a reader. I appreciated Rowell’s ability to add unexpected depths, dialogue, and character traits.
Similarly, Rowell’s characters are entertaining and exceptional. For instance, Cath used her fanfiction to fill a void in her life. By spending time on her computer, she was not out in the world experiencing life firsthand. This characterization and personality trait is rather ingenious. Cath was a talented writer who chose to focus on another author’s creation rather than craft her own story. In her creative writing class, Cath felt compelled to find a writing partner to work with rather than write on her own. Cath had a natural inclination to work with another person because that was the type of relationship she was used to, due to her reliance on Wren. In general, Cath was not used to working independently or being by herself. In a manner of speaking, her fanfiction was reflective of her inner turmoil or ambiguity.
Rowell created a multidimensional protagonist who not only captivates the reader but is someone they can root for throughout the duration of the story. As a reader, I wanted Cath to find happiness and develop a sense of being outside from her sister, Wren, or her roommate, Reagan. Simple moments such as Cath being able to eat by herself in the dining hall or interact with new people on campus made me proud of her character growth. I do not want to give away any spoilers of Fangirl, so I will refrain from writing about Cath’s romantic life, but I will say that in order for her to have a healthy romantic relationship, it was important for her to develop a personal sense of worth and being beforehand. The manner in which Rowell included this development was brilliantly done.
Everything about Rowell’s writing was spectacular! Her setting, characterizations, dialogue, secondary characters, and subplots were all phenomenal and created a superb novel. I would give Fangirl more than five stars if I could!