Fangirl Volume 3

Fangirl Volume 3 cover excerpt

I hadn’t expected to have much to say about the third volume of Fangirl. It’s part 3 of 4, after all, so it’s supposed to just be getting the characters in place for the upcoming conclusion, right?

Certainly, everything’s going wrong for Cath, fanfic writer and new college student. She isn’t sure whether Levi is a friend or a potential boyfriend, particularly now that she’s seen him kissing someone else. She’s gone from writing with her sister to a classmate, Nick, who doesn’t realize that all her years of fic writing have actually taught her some things. Then he decides the story they’ve been working on together is his.

Fangirl Volume 3 cover

The author, Rainbow Rowell, uses these setbacks to say some interesting things about the characters, and moreover, the art of writing. What it takes to get it done. What happens when someone reacts to your work. How transformative works relate to “canon”, the “proper” book.

(Note that volume 1 was adapted by Sam Maggs, based on Rainbow Rowell’s novel. Volume 2 gave credit to both Rowell and Maggs as adapters, and this book is adapted by Rowell only. All are drawn by Gabi Nam.)

There’s a lot to think about, in Cath’s struggles. One that really struck me was the difference between making a decision and giving up, and figuring out how to know the difference. Another is when she tells her professor that she’d rather pour herself into a world she already loves than try to make up something out of nothing.

I like the way people in this story, except for Cath, who’s learning her way, are honest, as much as they could be. And the fun thing about reading a comic about a fanfic writer is that we get to see the excerpts of her stories illustrated — which puts the characters on almost the same level as Cath and her friends and family. Which is something to think about, as that’s how she’s been living her life.

I loved the novel, but it’s even more fun to see the story and characters illustrated, particularly as Rowell is making small tweaks. The fourth volume is due out next August, and I eagerly anticipate it.

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