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.