Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | Teen Ink

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

August 10, 2014
By KFT22 GOLD, Darien, Connecticut
KFT22 GOLD, Darien, Connecticut
16 articles 0 photos 31 comments

In Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl Cath and Wren are identical twins with not-so-identical personalities. Cath is reserved, preferring to hide in her dorm room with a tub of peanut butter than having to brave the awkward social situations in the college cafeteria. Flamboyant and attention-grabbing Wren possesses the people-skills, popularity, and grace that her sister so sorely lacks. But despite being polar opposites, the two have always been there for each other, bonding over their love of reading and writing fan fiction for as long as they can remember.

For Cath, fan fiction is something reliable and controllable, providing an escape from harsh reality into a world that she as a budding writer can mold with her own hands and fill with imagination. Cath is quite accomplished in that realm, having garnered thousands of supporters in her ever-expanding online fan base.

But now things are changing with the dawn of college years—it is time to face the real world. Wren is as ready as ever but Cath is left in the dust, feeling hurt when her twin refuses to be her roommate. Instead of Wren, Cath is left with Reagan, an upperclassman who spends more time partying than studying. For once she is alone, unsure of how to handle the boy in her writing class who steals her stories, the worry for her eccentric but loving father suffering from empty-nest syndrome, her wildly uncontrollable sister, or the attention from Levi, a small-town boy who can charm a rock with his smile.

But Cath has to get used to all of it, or at least attempt to adapt to this new atmosphere where there is no one to fall back on but herself.

For the most part, Fangirl feels more like a friendly conversation than a book, with its tempo so fluid and carefree that all formality goes out the window and the story becomes the epitome of comfort. Readers will have no trouble getting into the book or progressing through it. In fact, the hardest part will be putting it down.

Part of this is because of Cath's wonderfully relatable personality. She is awkward, sweet, humorous, and utterly petrified of what life has to offer. She is geeky, endearing, and has a hilarious comeback for everything. In essence, what Rainbow Rowell does so well is that she makes Cath real and in-the-flesh instead of a dry character with a matching cliché personality.

The relationships in this book are beautifully-described and evoke so many different feelings. Cath's over-protectiveness of her father will make you smile while her distrust in her mother will lead to cringes and grimaces. Levi is bound to win your heart and Reagan's reactions will make you snicker. Most complex and interesting to see, though, is the raw emotion between Wren and Cath, who have learned to love and grow together and now must understand the importance of leading separate lives.

In this quirky, witty, and refreshing novel, Rowell explores not only the rising popularity and influence of fan culture in media, but also the uphill battle we know all too well of becoming independent. This is one girl's amazing story of making sense of this crazy, patch-worked world.

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