This review contains mild spoilers.
Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more—she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there’s romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.
Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realising that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible …
I’ve heard a lot of buzz surrounding Rainbow Rowell—so much, in fact, that I was worried that Fangirl would let me down. It didn’t. This is the first book in a while that has had me up past 3am because I didn’t want to put it down.
The plot of Fangirl is hard to pin down; it ebbs and flows, with some circumstances more striking than others, but the event that everything has been leading up to doesn’t feel like a real climax to me. So why did this book keep me up until stupid o’clock? Because of the characters.
Rainbow Rowell has a way of breathing life into every character we meet. For the most part, character description is sparse but the dialogue makes them shine. It would be so easy to fall back on good and bad characters but everyone in this book is nuanced and their bad deeds don’t always outweigh the good they can do.
Many conversations and scenarios within the novel will probably sound familiar to many introverted bibliophiles. I know I could draw plenty of parallels between my own life and Cath’s social habits, relationship with Wren, and especially her deep love for fictional worlds.
I have to admit that Cath’s attitude towards her Fiction-Writing assignment sometimes made me want to punch birds out of the sky but I do understand it. Considering how much time was spent on her Carry On fanfiction, I was expecting some more closure—maybe one short scene of her posting the last chapter before the release of Simon Snow and the Eighth Dance. Or the last scene of it inserted between chapters like the other excerpts throughout the book.
I would probably be a lot more annoyed about that, actually, if I didn’t have the edition of Fangirl with bonus content. There’s an interview with Rainbow Rowell immediately after the last chapter and the very first question is about whether or not Cath finished Carry On. But I can absolutely imagine the frustration for readers who don’t have this edition.
When I was reading Fangirl, I didn’t really notice the lack of plot; the characters were engrossing enough for me to keep reading, heedless of where it was all going. I really enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s tone and the realistic dialogue and situations that she invoked. I’ve already recommended Fangirl to a few people and this is definitely an author I’m going to revisit.