Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Advanced Reader Copy picked up from publisher at BEA 2013)

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Cath doesn’t like change. And college has change written all over it.

She isn’t ready to face situations and people she isn’t entirely comfortable with. She isn’t ready to move forward and leave Simon Snow and his archenemy Baz behind. She isn’t ready to let go of her familiar and comfortable life.

The only thing that makes even the thought of college more bearable is the fact that her twin sister, Wren, will be right there beside her.  That is, until Wren announces that she needs her own space, her own life, and with that, a roommate that isn’t Cath.

Upset, Cath suddenly realizes that she isn’t necessarily cut out for college. Her roommate is an amped up, sharp – tongued junior who’s lean and oh so adorable boyfriend, Levi, is always hanging around. And worst that hanging around, he’s eating her granola bars and always pestering her to “hang out.”

As if Reagan and Levi weren’t bad enough, the dining hall and all its unspoken rules practically terrifies poor Cath.

As days turns into weeks, and weeks into months Cath begins to find her place. Reagan and Levi are slowly, but surely becoming friends.  She’s excelling in her advanced fiction writing class. And to top it all off, her fiction writing partner may be interested in her, for more than just her words.

But as problems arise at home, Cath’s world and life begins to tear at the seams. Will she survive? Or will college life get the best of her?

Fangirl, author Rainbow Rowell’s second young adult novel (to be published this year), is a coming of age about a girl, not only finding herself, but finding her place in the real world.

The writing that fills Fangirl, isn’t only spectacular, it’s honest. Rowell doesn’t beat around the bush. There are some pretty heavy subjects covered throughout Fangirl, ranging from mental illness to alcoholism. Addressing each and every hard-hitting subject, Rowell handles them all with honesty and grace.

Through Fangirl readers will realize that both college and life are difficult. And not only for Cath and Wren alike, but for anyone who’s ever experienced it. But besides presenting the hard realities of life, the writing that fills Fangirl is chock full of hope.  Through Cath, readers will understand that, yeah times may get tough, but eventually if you stick through it, will get better….eventually.

Fangirl is a character driven kind of book. Cath is a great character – period. She’s well crafted and full of relatable emotions. She’s the kind of character that sticks with you long after the book has come to a close. What makes her so great, so relatable is the fact that readers will be able to see, to almost feel, her development and progression from start to finish.

Readers will gain an understanding of who Cath really is, from the inside out. And that understanding doesn’t just come from great writing, it comes from the chapter breaks that author Rowell has included. In between each chapter, Rowell gives a short excerpt from Simon Snow or from on of Cath’s own  Simon Snow’s fan fictions. The juxtaposition of fantasy and reality works surprisingly well, and makes Fangirl even more believable.

As a reader, and a reviewer I could go on and on about Rowell’s Fangirl. It’s a great read, one that will leave readers Fangirl-ing and boy-ing all over the place. There really is something for everyone hidden within the pages – there a heavy dose of reality, there a touch of whimsical romance, and above all else, there’s a lot of wit and humor sprinkled throughout.

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