Over the past few months, I've read countless five star reviews featuring books by Rainbow Rowell, whether they were about Fangirl, Eleanor and Park or, more recently, Landline. So, imagine my excitement when after months of them being seemingly non-existent in the UK, I started to find her novels in my local bookstores. Of course, I had high expectations of my first read from this author and, thankfully, it met all of them.
Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair anymore - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there's romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.
Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realising that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible...
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Fangirl is an almost perfect YA Contemporary read, with exactly the right blend of humour and heart. A captivating and cosy read to curl up with, this novel is one any teenager will be able to relate aspects of their own life to, with a cast of characters to fall in love with; such as secondary characters Levi and Reagan. Rowell's simplistic yet stylish writing style is enviable, as she weaves her way through a tale of fanfiction and friendship, adding sections of Carry On, Simon(Cath's fictional fanfic) effortlessly into her novel. Rowell's art form seems to be in characterisation; making sure they all dealt with real-life issues throughout the novel. An absolutely addicting standalone novel, this is the soundtrack of a compulsive reader's life.
Whilst reading this novel, I developed a strong relationship with the set of characters Rowell has created; not wanting to leave them behind at the end. With detailed descriptions and distinguishable traits, they soon became real. Cath's story tells of not only moving away from home and making new friends, but also the struggles that follow that. In Fangirl, her fears and faults and are also depicted; soon only the world she wants to live in is that of Simon Snow. The World of Mages becomes a place Cath can escape into to - and any avid reader will be able to recognise a part of themselves in this. It is not possible to write a review of this novel without applauding Rowell for creating the likes of Levi - whose character is so witty and full of warmth. With him, it soon becomes certain that this is also a laugh-out-loud book. There characters are so human - and that's why I loved it.
For anyone with siblings, this is a must read. The relationship between Cath and Wren is a breath of fresh air; finally there is a realistic fictional family out there! There are obvious differences between these twins - especially as Wren seems to 'steal the spotlight' in their daily life. There's jealousy too, an all-too-familiar feeling between brothers and sisters, as in Wren and Cath's case, one adjusts more quickly to life at university. Personally, I adored how these two characters in particular grew throughout the novel - Cath going from somebody suffering from anxiety, hiding away in her dormroom, to a young person full of confidence. Wren is described by Cath as having the "better umbilical chord" and I fell in love with this reference - it summed up her free-spirited sister perfectly.
The storyline is brilliantly plotted; the writing is captivating; the fanfiction is enjoyable, apart from a few 'slip-ups' now and again. I loved the biography of sorts that is Cath's first year at university - and can't wait for my next read by Rowell!
So, have you read 'Fangirl'?
Do you read/write fanfiction yourself?
Tell me in the comments!