It happened again-–another book by Rainbow Rowell that I fell head over heels in love with. Will this woman write something I don’t like? I hope not!
But let’s get into the nitty-gritty. FANGIRL isn’t a book I expected to like as much as I did. First, even though my library is marketing this as a YA contemporary romance, I think this is really NA—New Adult fiction. And I like that! It’s the first one I’ve read from this new category. Cather is a Freshman in college—-and totally out of her element. She’s got a roommate that is off the charts, her identical twin sister wants a life of her own, and her Dad has some serious mental challenges that make leaving him on his own a BIG stressor. Plus, there’s a guy….a super, adorable, trustworthy, older guy….who just happens to be her roommate’s boyfriend. And Cather doesn’t know how to deal with any of it. Add to that her intense love of Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-esque character that she writes fanfiction about, and she’s got a lot to deal with. Her online fans want more of her work, but her English professor sees her writing as something very different, and it nearly lands Cather in serious hot water.
Thank God cutie Levi is there to rescue her! I swear, I haven’t swooned—–yes, swooned (great big sighs, reading and re-reading lines that made my heart flutter)—–in many years over a book, probably not since I was a teenager. But this story dove right in and charmed me with the characters, the beautiful lines, the heartbreaking truths. I wanted to be Cather…..I was Cather at one point. I loved this so much it hurt.
The topic of fanfiction wasn’t something I thought I was familiar with, or even approved of (I know, I’m a bit of a literary snob), but the moment I started this book, I knew I had to take my time with it. I didn’t want it to end. Ever. I wanted it to go on and on so that I could spend as much time with the characters as I possibly could.
And then two things happened. Two remarkable things.
#1. I Realize I’ve Written Fanfiction.
I know! I was shocked, too! When I was a teenager, fanfiction was exactly what I wrote…all the time, only I didn’t know it had a name. It got me through much of my teenage years and allowed me to spend time with my favourite TV show characters even after the episodes aired each week. The internet was still a few years away, so I don’t believe there were any outlets for people who wrote fanfiction back then. Even if there were, I probably wouldn’t have shared. They were just for me. As a shy teen, the stories allowed me to explore and purge and experience things that weren’t happening in the real world for me. Without them, I’m not sure I’d be the same person today.
#2. I Want to Write Fanfiction Again!
Okay, maybe not really, but this book was sooooo yummy and I loved the characters so much, I want to keep visiting with them. Where will Cather and Levi end up? Will 2nd year bring about new people, another difficult writing assignment, some serious online credit? Who knows? While the book could easily have a sequel, it’s probably a stand-alone, and that’s all right with me. Although the thought crossed my mind to start up a word document and begin where Rowell left off. ♥
So, I may not write any actual fanfiction, but in my heart, I’m going over this book again and again. I know a certain girl in college I’m going to send this to for Christmas. She’s just the sort who will adore this love story as much as I did.
Go and read this. Now! Read it out loud, read it for a book club. It’s amazing and everything I never expected it would be. I’m a Fangirl!