Eleanor & Park was my first foray into the world of Rainbow Rowell books. What a wonderful way to “dip my toe” into the Rainbow Rowell reading pool. Upon finishing it I was quickly directed to read Fangirl, also by Rowell. Given how much I enjoyed Eleanor & Park, I was eager to start Fangirl immediately. Little did I know the profound way it would change me….
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I thought Eleanor & Park was stellar. I still think it’s stellar. But when compared to the absolute perfection that Fangirl exuded they are simply incomparable. Fangirl speaks to a demographic of people who typically aren’t the heroes and heroines of novels. It champions people who are different. People who go against the flow. People with anxiety. People with learning disabilities. It speaks to lovers of fan fiction. To people so in love with fictional characters that it inspires them to continue writing their story. It’s a story for all the people who had to grow up too fast. Who had to be adults way before their time. Fangirl is a love letter for anyone who’s gone through a difficult time in their life – whether it’s an issue with family, friends, or themselves – Fangirl speaks to the underdog in each of us. Fangirl gives voice to the confident person living (dormant for some) inside all of us. It is in essence, a love letter to the goodness that exists in human nature. The goodness that exists in us.
I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to fully express the feelings I had reading this book. All I can tell you is what I said above and that upon finishing the book I went back and re-read if three times. I urge everyone to read it. Then re-read. Then tell a friend to read it.
5 out of 5 Stars (Really 100 Stars)
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin’s Press (2013)
Hardcover: 448 pages