Hey, book lovers.
Gosh, how long has it been? So, it’s book review time! I haven’t done one of these on here (or on Booktube, really) in so, so long!
This book, I really connected with. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is about a girl called Cath, who is a twin, and a writer of fanfiction, of a romance story which is fixed on the relationship between two guys, Baz and Simon, a vampire and a magic-controlling student. Mouthful! Okay, so Cath, I related to her pretty well because of the fact that she’s a writer who spends a lot of time alone in her room eating snacks and writing her stories on a fan-fiction website, which apparently has hundreds of viewers. (Well, I have the first part down, anyway.) Her attitudes towards relationships and friendships tend to be quite tainted because of the fact that her mother left her and her twin sister Wren (their mother couldn’t be bothered to think of another name, as she says at one point- they are literally both called Catherine), when they were very young, to live with their father, a marketing entrepreneur, who’s mental health goes on a downward spiral after this big event. As does Cath’s and Wren’s trust in people, naturally.
This story has Cath and Wren going through college, meeting roommates and completing assignments and finding new friendships, and eventually, relationships. This is a new thing for Cath, especially, who, unlike her twin sister, is less comfortable with going to parties or generally meeting other humans and making regular eye contact in public. (Which I’m pretty sure can also be a general issue for writers and other creative people, who would rather get lost in their own minds and crafts than in big crowds. I can definitely relate to that.)
I loved Cath’s witty nature and dialogue, the bond she shares with her father, and once, her twin sister. Although this fades and then improves again as the book progresses. I loved the character of Levi, who is actually Cath’s roommate’s ex-boyfriend, who takes a great interest in her fan-fiction, constantly asking her to read it aloud to him since he finds it difficult to read words from a page, hearing and remembering the words better as she speaks them. When she does, he remembers quotes well, and engages in her work like her online viewers. He is the type to make other people feel comfortable, friendly and bubbly and constantly smiling, and this is something that at first puts Cath on edge, but then it becomes what she grows to love and admire about him. This change in their friendship to their growing relationship was written intelligently.
There didn’t need to be too many characters. I found that there was enough conflict, with Cath’s trouble with her father and sister being hospitalised at separate parts of the novel, and with the ups and downs in her relationship with her twin sister, who at the beginning had wanted to grow apart, to do things her own way. Levi was always there, standing outside her room, ready to study with her roommate Reagan, who was an eccentric character but also one who encouraged Cath to leave her room, because she didn’t do it enough. She was asked to write something of her own by a tutor on her course as an English major, but handed in a piece of her fan-fiction instead, but her tutor offered her another chance because of her talent as a writer. She barely writes this through the whole novel, always concentrating on Carry On, so you almost don ‘t think she will create a world of her own, but of course in the end, she gets there.
And you see how her mood, or where she is in her personal life, can often affect the writing she does in her fan-fiction and in her eventual own story, which I found was cleverly done.
I would happily read this again. I couldn’t leave this alone, it was addictive. Please, if you are a writer and you especially love YA fiction, give this book a try. Especially if you have read and enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s novel, Eleanor & Park, because I personally preferred this one.
Thanks for reading!
Happy reading 😀