I did a bad thing with this book, guys; I made the mistake of judging it by it's cover. Katy got me this back when we were first going out and, although I was looking forward to reading it, I just thought that it was going to be a generic teenage rom-com but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl is anything but typical - it's beautifully written and strangely heart wrenching and; although you might need a real head for fanfiction to make the most of the book - it's charming and well written.
I've read multiple reviews about this, and they seem to vary - some think the book has little to no plot, some find it boring and some think it's a work of genius; I firmly fall into the latter and yet, I have a strong history with fanfiction which already has me erring on it's positive side. The book in itself is straightforward and yet I have to say that Rowell's set of novels are a little complicated; the main characters in Fangirl cameo in Landline and Cather (the main character within Fangirl) is writing a fanfiction novel which Rowell has also published as a standalone work of fiction. What I'm trying to say is that although the book isn't a hard read - it's only the very centrepiece of an entire spiderweb spun by Rowell.
The book follows twins, Cather and Wren, to University. As Wren embraces life without her twin and their father, Cather is thrown into a world where she's been a part of a duo only to find herself alone and trying to create a whole life from nothing. Along the way, she carries on working of her lifeline - Carry On, a fanfiction novel that she's writing based on her favourite book. The book captures fanfiction and fandoms like no other, it's witty and charming and true to life and it shows the culture around writing fanfiction. I found it to be fairly true to life, really capturing the attitude that many fanfic writers themselves have - and yet it's not too isolating if that's not a world that you might be used to.
The book is the typical romance novel you expect from a YA novel, and yet it's also not typical at all. We watch Cather fall in love with a boy, but we also watch her fall in love with herself, and come to terms with the idea that she can't control life around her, no matter how hard that she might want to. This isn't just a book about love, but it's about family and how complicated it can be, it's about independence and moving forward and mostly it's about the fact that you can't stay in your happy, safe little bubble forever - and as somebody with social anxiety, that's something that I can heavily relate to.
All in all, this was a book that had me captivated from page one, and it's got me wanting to order more of Rowell's book to see how they measure up. It's definitely one that I'd recommend and, if you've read any of the other novels by Rowell, I'd love to hear your opinions.
If you liked this you might like: Moriarty Book Review