How do I count the ways that I love this book? While I fell instantly in love with Eleanor and Park, it took me a little longer to get to know and adore Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. However, Fangirl (St. Martin Griffin 2013) is one of those books that lingers in my mind and heart. I haven’t wanted to pick up another book to read because I don’t want to leave Cath and Levi yet. There are so many things I love about this book. I think I will count them for you…or at least begin to count them.
- Cath is not just quirky. She might just cross over the line a time or two. After all, she lives more in the fantasy world created by a best-selling series than she does in the real world. In fact, she often spends more time and effort avoiding the real world because new people and new places creep her out. Despite her weaknesses, Cath shows strength and determination when it comes to protecting her dad and her sister. Did I mention that Wren is her twin sister–her identical twin who promptly dumps her once they arrive at college.
- Fanfiction weaves in and out of this story in poignant and hysterical ways. Yes Simon Snow is a boy wizard off to learn magic at a boarding school and destined to save the world from the evil Humbdrum. Rowell treats us to “Encyclowikia” entries about the series, excerpts from the first seven (of eight) books in the series), and best of all, excerpts from the highly popular fanfiction series Carry On, Simon by Magicath. (You guessed it. Cath writes this incredibly popular fanfiction that gets thousands of hits daily.)
- I wasn’t sure what I thought of Reagan at first. She did terrify her freshman roommate, Cath, at first, but I came to relish her tough love. Her brusque, matter-of-fact view of life is just what Cath needed.
- Levi is the perfect (slight spoiler alert) boyfriend. I appreciate the fact it took half the book for the romance to blossom. (I never liked that Nick guy anyway.) Besides being absolutely adorable, he respects Cath for who she is–quirks and all–and will drop everything to be with her. He’s even adorable when he messes up.
- Rowell deftly handles sensitive issues–mental illness and homosexuality–as part of the story but without making them ISSUES. Cath worries about her dad and about herself, but there different ways of seeing the world are just that–different, sometimes a challenge and sometimes a gift. Most of all, I cheered for Cath as she discovered the strength of her own voice.
There is much more I love about Fangirl, but you should really read it for yourself. Go get a copy while I wait for more books by Rowell.