Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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November 24, 2015
There’s a part of me that’s desperately trying to hold onto my youth, obvious in the way I keep going back to these books marketed as “Young Adult” even though, deep down, I know I won’t enjoy it.

That’s not entirely true about Fangirl, though. It’s a good read; kinda entertaining, very cute and funny and easy, but I enjoyed it in the way I sometimes enjoy an episode of America’s Funniest Videos or Family Feud-- it’s mindless fun. I guess I’m just not that invested in a college girl’s life's woes anymore?

And that’s basically all the book is about. There’s this girl, Cath, who’s starting her first year of college and she’s having all these conflicting emotions about it because she’s socially awkward and anxious and her twin sister, who’s always been by her side, decided she didn’t want to be Cath’s roommate at school, so now she’s all alone. It’s a coming of age story where Cath has to figure out and sort her priorities, with some family drama and some romance thrown in there.

And fan-fiction.

Throughout the whole novel, there’s a sort of subplot about Cath being a fan-fiction writer (if you don’t know what fan-fiction is, go google it and then come back to this. But don’t go in too deep, trust me). Writing fan-fiction has been a big part of Cath and her sister’s lives ever since their mom left them, so once she goes to college, she has a hard time letting go of the fictional world she’s been playing in for so long, so much so, that she deliberately fails a class because she feels her fan-fiction story is much more important.

It all sounds so silly, but I think the reason why I read this book through the end was because it reminded me a lot of myself. At least some of it. I have always been a social awkward/anxious person and I, too, used to be very involved in fandoms such as Harry Potter. I never wrote fan-fiction because I sucked so bad, but I liked reading it. I used to skip classes to read and do all sort of other things on the internet, which became an escape from all my teenage troubles, to the point where I failed so many classes I had to drop out of school. When I finally was given a chance to go back to school, I did it along with my sister, who became my biggest support and probably the main reason why I graduated at all.

So this book might be an easy, quick read with not a lot of substance and some loose ends, but I enjoyed the nostalgic feel to it. It reminded me of who I used to be and made me realize how much I have changed, how my priorities have shifted and how thankful I am that I have grown since then. I didn’t care much for most of the plot, but I commend Cath for getting her shit together a lot faster than I did!

No more YA books for me, though. I have accepted my old ladyhood and will read nothing but classics from now on.

(JK, I’m quitting books altogether and going back to Harry Potter fan-fiction! Harry/Luna 4ever)

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