December 11, 2014
Reading the Simon Snow series, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, hanging out in discussion forums and dressing up like the characters is what got Cath and Wren through their mother leaving in their childhood. But when it is time to begin college, Wren flips the script. She doesn't want to be roommates and isn't interested in anything Simon Snow. Now Cath is left outside of her comfort zone with a surly roommate whose constantly smiling boyfriend is always hanging in their dorm room. It is time for Cath to be independent and live her own story.
I've gotten used to Rainbow Rowell's incomplete endings so I started reading Fangirl with the expectation that it would end on any note, damn near mid-conversation. With this in mind, I tried not to get too attached to the main characters. Welp, so much for that idea.
I immediately hearted Cath. She had similarities to me and brought back memories of my own freshman year of college: adjusting, developing new friendships and growing distant from long-term relationships. I knew Cath would be one of my fave fiction characters when she was faced with dealing with her father in a manic episode. The sensitive subject of mental illness was well written without overshadowing the main plot.
I notice small things like character names. Their parents weren't expecting twins so planned to name their baby girl Catherine. Their mother chose Cather and Wren as names for the twins. Brilliant choice on a whim!
Sharing a name and being identical is where the twins' similarities end. Cath is shy; Wren is outgoing. Cath is a homebody; Wren parties hard. Cath is a writer; Wren is a boy-chaser. The friends they choose to associate with in college run in different crowds. The way they handle college is quite different and very interesting to read. Fangirl is the perfect blend of first love in a coming-of-age story.
I'm just going to say it: Fangirl is better than Eleanor & Park. I didn't think that was possible. This novel is definitely one of the best books I've read this year. Rainbow Rowell, you have officially earned a spot in my top authors—incomplete endings and all. <3
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: September 2013