Book Review: FanGirl

I’ll admit, Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell is not in my normal genre, but it was about someone who does write in it, if that makes sense. The protagonist is a college freshman named Cather. Cather and I have several things in common, so I felt invested in the story right away.

Cather is a twin, and her sister Wren (Cather Wren, yeah her mom was not as funny as she thought she was when she named them) is starting school with her at the university of Nebraska at Lincoln.Cather is internet famous in the Simon Snow fandom as a slash fiction writer. I happen to be a twin, and I did briefly attend the university of Nebraska at Lincoln, and I LOVE slash fanfiction.

I immediately related to her insecurity and uncertainty of going to college. Like Cather and Wren, my sister and I attended the same college and there was the constant struggle of trying and wanting to break out and be your own person and still being part of the “unit” as we were called.Wren decides to break the bond and take a roommate that is not her sister.

It is probably lucky for me that the internet did not exist when I was a freshman or I would never have left my dorm. Cather is an introvert and very shy, I could relate here too, I was very nervous about doing things as simple as going to the dining hall alone or making new friends. She struggles with trying to define her identity as an adult and college student and reconcile this with her identity as MagiCath on the fanfiction site she frequents.

I think we all may go through a little of that. Who I am at work and with my non-writing friends is not the same as who I am as a writer and fan. Finding a balance is hard for an adult, and a confused young woman with issues with abandonment and co-dependency (she feels compelled to take care of her unstable father rather than face her problems and find solutions.) has a much harder road to follow.

She has some of the normal trials and tribulations of a freshman, the difficult roommate, the first crush and betrayal, conflict with a professor, drama with her second crush, and watching her sister struggle with her own demons as the year wears on. There is even a tense semi-reunion with her estranged mother to make things even more complicated for her.

Over all, this is a very good book. I felt it bogged down a little, but I made the mistake of putting it down for several weeks so it was most likely just me trying to catch back up. The characters are well developed. They have a very real feel to them. And to me, characters are the real heart of the story, if you don’t love the characters, you won’t remember the story.

This is well worth the time to read it.

~Heather

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