Rating: 4.5 / 5
The 2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge includes a prompt for a book set on a college or university campus and FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell was one of the top recommendations from people in the Goodreads group. When I posted this in my Stack of Shame on Instagram (books that I was eager to buy and read, but hadn’t actually managed to squeeze into my TBR), it was once again a crowd favorite. With all the love behind this one, I knew it needed to be bumped up my TBR!
FANGIRL centers on Cath, one of a set of twins as she heads off for her freshman year of college. Used to having a built in best friend in her twin sister Wren, Cath feels left adrift when Wren decides they need to forge different paths and not room together in college. Where Wren takes to the college life of drinking and parties, Cath isn’t quite the social butterfly her sister seems to be. Cath instead prefers to remain rooted in her passion for writing fan fiction for the Simon Snow book series. She is the author of a long running, fan favorite Simon Snow series called Carried On and being a fan is her life.
Cath gets paired up with an upper classman as a roommate who seems annoyed to have her there. Her roommate’s boyfriend is always along and she finds him both charming and entirely bothersome. Cath was accepted into an upper level fiction writing class, but the professor doesn’t believe that fan fiction holds any merit, calling it plagiarism at best. Back at home Cath’s father is struggling with mental illness, leaving Cath to worry how he is managing without his daughters there to take care of him. The mother who abandoned the family has also started reaching out to her daughters. With all of this going on and the approaching end of the canon Simon Snow series, Cath is struggling to keep her head above water!
I just adored this book and flew through it! I did most of the reading via audiobook which was well done, but read some in print as well. This was exactly the uplifting, fun read I was hoping for, but it tackled some serious issues as well. The twins are dealing with their mothers’ abandonment and refusal to stand up as a parent. The book tackles alcohol abuse and mental illness as well.
Rainbow Rowell has written some really fun characters in FANGIRL, full of quirks and complicated relationships. This book is about much more than Cath’s life as a fan or her developing romance. It really is a coming of age story focusing on Cath figuring out who she is in the world around her.
I can now see why this book has received so much love and I highly recommend that you give this one a read if you haven’t already!