Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

fangirl-rainbow-rowell-cover-677x1024“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 any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. Without Wren, Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend and a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible…”

I love Rainbow Rowell’s books. Attachments was more of a hit for me than Eleanor & Park (slightly too much on the bitter side of bittersweet) and as soon as I started reading it, Fangirl quickly started vying for the top spot.

Protagonist Cath is feeling lost and out of place at University of Nebraska, where she has just arrived. Her twin sister Wren is also attending the university, but, tired of sharing everything, she decides to room separately.

All Wren wants to do is cut loose and try out new things for herself, but it isn’t so easy for shy, introverted Cath, who feels lost without her perpetual shadow. Avoiding her brusque roommate Reagan and her almost offensively charming boyfriend Levi, Cath retreats, surviving on protein bars stashed away in her room and getting lost in her Fiction Writing class assignments. She also retreats into the world of Simon Snow – the fictional character in her favourite magical book series (Fangirl‘s Harry Potter). She’s Cath by day and Magicath by night, a fan-fiction author with hundreds of thousands of hits on her alternative Simon storyline Carry On, Simon.

As Cath’s worries start to stack up – she’s barely leaving her room, her hardly hears from her sister, who seems intent on drinking herself into oblivion, she’s getting in trouble in Fiction Writing for using her fan-fiction stories and, on top of all of that, her dad’s mental health starts to deteriorate. Left on his own back in Omaha – Cath and Wren’s mother abandoned them when they were eight – Arthur Avery takes a turn for the worrying, resulting in Cath rushing home to take care of him. Unhappy with her life back at college, she’s determined to drop out and move home – but her father adamantly refuses.

It’s a good thing, too, as his breakdown sparks off a chain of events that will change Cath’s life forever. Can she finally overcome her anxieties and let love in? Will Wren calm down her wild partying ways and start speaking to Cath again – and how will Carry On, Simon end?

Poignant, tender and ultimately heart-warming, Fangirl will hit the mark with every teenage girl – especially the ones who sometimes don’t think that their hair looks nice enough, that their t-shirts are too lame and that there are cooler things to do in life than drink yourself stupid. Cath is a warm, relateable and – in her own way, with her own collection of charming idiosyncracies and her moral standpoint – model protagonist.

Attachments still definitely wins out on the adult fiction side, but Fangirl definitely ticks every box for pitch-perfect YA reading.

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