Rainbow Rowell, a newer contemporary young adult and adult fiction author, is like the new John Green. She writes quirky stories of love and life, and has received a lot of critical acclaim for her first two best-selling novels, “Eleanor & Park” and “Fangirl,” both released in 2013.
“Fangirl” centers on twins Cath and Wren, who are starting their first year of college. They’ve always been huge fans of “Simon Snow,” a fictional book series much like “Harry Potter.” Cath continues to write fan-fiction and makes new stories based on the series, while Wren has grown out of that phase.
Cath is heartbroken when she finds out that Wren doesn’t want to be her roommate in college, and she must begin to face the world without the person who has always been right by her side. She eventually befriends her roommate Reagan, Reagan’s maybe-boyfriend Levi and Nick, a cute boy Cath works with in her English class.
Throughout the novel, Cath navigates the struggles of friendships, as well as relationships with her sister and father, who she’s constantly worried about because he’s living at home alone. Cath’s biggest struggle to me, however, is the move away from writing about Simon Snow and his adventures. It’s time for Cath to write her own stories.
What I think is most interesting about this novel and its author is that Rowell has created not only one new world, but two. She writes about Cath and her adventures, but also writes brief stories at the end of every chapter that deal with Simon Snow. She makes up a slew of funny, deep and loveable characters, whether they’re in the real world or a fantasy world. It’s something for which she should definitely be commemorated.
Today’s young adult fictional works have a lot of similarities, but “Fangirl” is like a whole new animal in that it deals with two worlds colliding. The result is an enchanting, amiable story about a girl struggling to fit into both of those worlds as she navigates typical college issues.
“Fangirl” is not a book that I would typically read, but I loved it. It’s an important contribution to today’s collection of young adult novels, as are Rowell’s other novels. If you read this and haven’t gotten enough of Simon Snow, have no fear, because Rowell’s own novel about his adventures is now in stores.
Do yourself a favor, and read “Fangirl.” Then go pick up “Carry On,” also by Rainbow Rowell.