Sunday, November 2, 2014

Book Rant: Fangirl

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? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Okay guys, I take back everything I said about Rainbow Rowell following reading Eleanor & Park. I LOVED this book. I've gone quite a few books recently feeling pretty meh about the whole experience, but Fangirl is my favorite in a while. 

I guess this book falls under that weird genre New Adult? But this is definitely what New Adult SHOULD be. It's a book that deals with all the coming-of-age stuff in this most graceful way possible, so that I did not feel as if the romance, the internal struggles, or the family problems ran away with the plot. Rowell deftly handles all of the elements with perfect grace.

And of course, a major reason why I liked this book is its focus on fandom. I mean, Rowell obviously gets it. I love authors that show an appreciation for fan fiction, because it really is a great thing that creates a lot of new book nerds and helps new writers. And even though in the acknowledgements, she says she's never written it ... I'm going to go ahead and assume she's keeping it on the DL, because there is no way she's never dabbled in some fic. I don't buy it. 

I also felt this book, along with being well-written and developed, was a touching reflection of my early college experience. College was sort of hard at first, and Rowell hit all the notes right. I mean, I felt like she knew my life. Because what did I do when things got lonely and hard? I wrote. A lot. I wrote a whole novel in 3 months, and it definitely wasn't because I had suddenly blossomed into a literary genius. It was because I was alone and weird and needed something to make me feel in control. Of course, I am happy that I ended up doing all that writing--I think it was an important part to making me okay again. But Rowell gets it in a way that makes the book connect; at least, it connected with me.

My only (minor) complaint is that the love interest is ... slightly too perfect. No one in real life is like a perfectly muscled, gangly, farm boy who brings you coffee whenever you want, asks you to read your slash fiction out loud like it's not a weird thing, and kisses you after you share books together. Come on, that's basically every book nerd's wet dream. But. Won't complain. Because he's pretty swoon-worthy, and we all can dream, right?