*Fangirl — Recommended

Fangirl is an amazing story, the kind of college experience we all wish we could have.

Cath is a fanfic writer, and a good one. She is best known for stories pairing up Simon Snow, boy magician, with his vampire roommate Baz. She used to write with her twin sister Wren, but they’ve been growing apart. Even so, Cath is surprised when Wren declares she’s going to room with someone else as they go off to college.

Cath’s first year is quite the transformative experience, as she has to cope with a surly roommate, Wren’s overreaction to being on her own, their left-alone dad, her own social anxiety, and a couple of guys who might be interested in her writing in different ways.

Rainbow Rowell’s grasp of dialogue and character is astounding, creating a richly real cast that I wanted to spend more time with. She also gets the internet. I’ve read several books that tried to capture the magic of online communities and friendships, and they all felt very artificial, leading me to ask why someone would bother with the book when they could just read the internet directly. Rowell instead doesn’t overdo the references, although her fanfic examples are both authentic and entertaining. She clearly understands geekdom, with just the right amount and type of mentions.

I haven’t had such an engrossing reading experience with a novel in a long time. Rainbow Rowell is going to be releasing a graphic novel illustrated by Faith Erin Hicks through First Second Books. Although it’ll be some time coming, I can’t wait to see it. In the meantime, I’ll be reading whatever other Rowell I can find.

7 Responses to “*Fangirl — Recommended”

  1. James Schee Says:

    Hmm sounds neat! Good timing too as i saw it at my local library, and actually picked it up and looked through as i thought it was a comic at first.

  2. Laur Says:

    I really enjoyed listening to this book! Can’t wait to listen to Eleanor and Park as well. :D

  3. Johanna Says:

    Eleanor and Park was very good also, with its story of a high school romance based on music and comics.

  4. Argo Plummer Says:

    I just finished this book and also really enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was a great as you did–I thought the ending was a little rushed, but I was totally engrossed by it and came to care for the characters so much that I want to see a book focusing on their second year of college. I don’t actually think there is that much left to say about them, but I liked them all so much, I want to read more about them, which I think is one of the greatest compliments you can give an author.

    I have to say that I too thought it was a comic memoir type of publication. I guess I didn’t read your review very closely because I didn’t want anything ruined for me, so when I got it from my local library, I was surprised to find it was a novel.

    I also have to admit the fanfiction portions with Simon and Baz did not interest me and I stopped reading them a few chapters in. That probably means I missed some nuances, but I never wanted to stop reading about Cath, Reagan, Levi and Wren so I skipped the parts about Simon and Baz, who I didn’t care about at all. I guess that’s my other criticism–it was hard to sympathize with Cath’s devotions to Simon and Baz when I never connected at all with them. Obviously I could draw references from real world examples in my own life, but I still never felt Simon or Baz were special–I was just constantly told they were. I don’t know how to fix that and it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. I felt a little like Wren’s boyfriend–I just didn’t get it.

    Thanks so much for recommending this book, I really did enjoy it and have Eleanor and Park coming from my library to read as well. Looking forward to her collaboration with Faith Erin Hicks!

  5. Johanna Says:

    I’m glad you enjoyed it! I agree, I’d like to see more of these characters. I also didn’t pay as much attention to the Simon/Baz sections (very short chapter intros, mostly), but while I didn’t care much about them, I understood the deep love of a fictional universe. When I got to those sections, I just mentally subbed in something I cared an awful lot about.

  6. Argo Plummer Says:

    I just finished Eleanor and Park and wanted to tell you I probably enjoyed it more than Fangirl. It’s more melodramatic (like high school) and it hit more personal notes for me. These were two wonderful books, which while aimed for the young adult market, have truths in them that should be familiar to any age reader. Thank you for making me aware of these books and this author, whom I will be following wherever she publishes.

  7. *Attachments — Recommended » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] it took was reading one of Rainbow Rowell’s books, and I became a devoted fan. Attachments is her first (so far) adult novel, and it’s a fun, […]




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