I am late to the Rainbow Rowell train. But after reading Fangirl, sign me up for a one-way ticket to Rainbow town. I'm a FAN.
Alright, before I turn into a stan account, let's rewind to how I got here. I knew Rainbow Rowell was well-known for Eleanor and Park, but I never felt the urge to read it. To be totally honest I bought Fangirl earlier this year for two reasons:
it was a special edition and I like special editions.
Rainbow Rowell was going to be at DC's National Bookfest and I wanted to get it signed.
Not the most noble, but honestly not the worst reasons I’ve ever bought a book (story for another time). I didn't get started on Fangirl until a few days before the signing, but once I started y’all I could not put it down.
Fangirl is the coming-of-age story for the Harry Potter fanfic generation. No matter what site you used, you will feel Cath's story in your "up until 2 am reading your fav ship" soul.
In a world with Harry Potter, it's hard to imagine anything bigger than Harry Potter, but Simon Snow is. Everyone is a Simon Snow fan and no one more so than Cath. She and her twin sister Ren have grown up obsessed -- midnight movie openings, book premiers, costumes, online forums, fanfiction. But when Ren decides they aren’t rooming together for their freshman year of college, Cath is blasted out of her comfort zone.
As Cath faces the stresses of college -- a new, upperclassman roommate; an advance level writing class no freshman has ever taken before, finding the dining hall, making friends -- she's up against the clock to finish her wildly popular online Simon Snow fanfiction before the release of the final book by Simon's real author. As real-life gets messier, Cath is forced to confront who she is without Simon Snow.
With Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell has done a masterful job at telling a story so many of us have gone through. I’ve never felt more seen by a book than I do by Fangirl. Cath story is my story (minus being a twin and writing a popular fanfiction). I was DEEP into the online Harry Potter community as a teen. I did it all -- fanfics, forums, dressing up for premiers, posters all over my walls, etc, etc, etc. And I'm almost 10 years removed from my struggles as a freshman, but the transition was HARD. Harder for Cath than it was for me, but as I read her story so many memories I had forgotten came right back. The anxiety over going to the dining hall by myself, trying to figure out my new roommate (Hi Karena!), wondering if your professor hates you, boys -- it's all so very real. I don’t say this lightly, but Fangirl is the coming-of-age story for the Harry Potter fanfic generation.
Now, I wasn't able to get Fangirl signed as Rainbow Rowell had to back out of the signing last minute due to an unfortunate incident with a lamp. But I am looking forward to the day that I get to thank her in person for writing this wonderful, insightful novel. 🖤