After reading Eleanor & Park, I knew that I would have to get my hands on this book. I've only heard good things about it, and when I told people I was reading E&P, they promptly let me know that I would have to read Fangirl too because it was just as, if not more, awesome.
Fangirl tells the story of a girl Cather, or Cath, who is lost in the books of Simon Snow (think of the impact that Harry Potter had/still has on the world. It's on par with that). It's technically considered a kids' series, but Simon Snow helped her and her twin sister, Wren, cope with the abandonment of their mother, and Cath decided that she never wanted to leave that world. She writes Simon Snow fan fiction under the username MagiCath, and her hits continue to grow every day.
The twins are off to college, and Wren is insisting they get their own lives. They aren't going to be roommates for the first time in their lives, and while Wren is relishing in the college lifestyle with drinking, boys and a busy social calendar, Cath still chooses to live in her Simon Snow bubble. That is, until she meets her wild roommate, Reagan, and her way-too-happy boyfriend, Levi.
In the midst of not trying to look like a total loser to Reagan and Levi, not fitting into her sister's new social calendar, dealing with her writing partner, Nick, and their fiction writing class, the pressure of finishing her fan fiction before the release of the last Simon Snow book and worrying about her dad's dealings with empty nest syndrome, Cath is just trying to figure out if she can do anything alone without her sister by her side.
The main character, Cath, is definitely someone that a lot of people could relate to. A few times in the book, Reagan asks if Cath has any friends, and Cath says that she has tons of friends on the internet, which is easier because it takes away from the awkward silences and empty conversation. There are tons of people who have the philosophy today. Just this past weekend, I watched the latest episode of Girl Meets World (I'm really loving it so far! Cory and Topanga...yes!), and the episode was centered around how our youth would rather text or talk to each other electronically than have a real face-to-face conversation. Cath pretty much embodied that philosophy. She spent the entire first month of college living off of protein bars because she didn't know where the cafeteria was, and she didn't want to ask anyone. She is that typical nerdy girl who would rather lose herself in a book than in a boy, and it's fun to watch her transformation from the beginning to the end.
I spent a good portion of the book feeling sorry for Cath because Wren abandoned her for her roommate, Courtney. There were parts in the book where they went huge spans of time not even speaking to each other because Cath was stuck in her Simon Snow world, and Wren wanted to have a more extreme version of the "real" college experience. On the other hand, while Cath may seem like a delicate flower, she is actually pretty tough internally, and she is willing to stand up to the people around her about the issues that she is passionate about, such as her mother's abandonment and her sister's drinking. She has a heart of gold, and is willing to do anything for those that she loves, particularly her dad.
Then of course there's the romance. I don't want to give anything away, but I loved how Rainbow Rowell incorporated the puppy dog romance into the book. I thought that it was going to go one way at the beginning, but towards the middle, you start to realize what was happening. I realize that was really cryptic, but you just have to read the book to understand.
I give this book a 5 out of 5. I definite must read for all bookworms and girls. I loved getting lost in Cath's world. You can't help but root for the nerdy girl in all aspects of her your life, and you'll find yourself wanting to hold Cath's hand throughout the book since her sister no longer wants to. There are a lot of clever and witty lines throughout the novel too, and Rainbow Rowell shows her creativity for the very beginning just with the naming of the twins - Cather and Wren aka Catherine. It's so amazing. There's nothing bad to say about it. Go read it!