After reading Eleanor & Park, I couldn’t resist picking up another one of Rainbow’s YA novels. Needless to say, she didn’t disappoint.
I think the thing that really had me hooked to the story from page one was the overall premise of the novel. I had been waiting for someone to write a story about crazy Fangirls like my friends and I for years. I think ever since the Harry Potter series, Fangirls (and some boys) have been exploding across the world. Becoming addicted to something so deeply that you buy all their merchandise, take in all interviews and articles, bring it up in conversation at least five times a day, and write your own fanfiction on your obsession has just become a normal part of growing up. And the fact that that Cath is obsessed with a series reminiscent of Harry Potter is just perfection!
I also really enjoy the fact that Rainbow used a University setting for this novel. Let’s be honest… just because we’ve graduated from high school and are moving on to pursue specific training and education for our future job, doesn’t mean we’re ready to ‘adult’. We’re still kids and teens at heart; we can only grow up one step at a time. I took all of my fangirl obsessions with me to university, so I could really relate to Cath. Seeing how everyone reacted to Cath’s obsession was like reliving my own experiences; there were those who thought I was nuts, those who ignored it, those who laughed/teased, those who were interested, and those who were just as addicted. I was startled by Rainbow’s outstanding accuracy!
Wren is a very compelling character! It was so interesting to see a former fangirl burning her ties to become more ‘normal’. She decides to abandon Cath to get on alone, choosing to drink and party despite her piling homework. And to top it all off, she gives up Simon Snow (basically Rainbow’s Harry Potter) just before the final book is released! I couldn’t believe it! A true fangirl would never dump her obsession, especially before the final book even hits the shelves! I mean, how can you go on living without knowing what happens to Simon!? (I’m serious… not being melodramatic at all… haha okay, maybe a bit. But you get where I’m coming from, right?! Just ridiculous!) So as much as I wanted to book-slap Wren (like a virtual slap, only through a book… yeah it’s silly, but it’s a real reaction of frustration for Book Babies), I just couldn’t get enough of her progression throughout the novel! She was becoming more and more like all the other teens at school who abandon their innocence the moment their parents leave them in their dorm. Freedom can be a dangerous thing, especially when you’re still just a teenager. Wren takes the other side of the spectrum when it comes to tossing young adults into the real world; Cath clings to her childhood memories, while Wren begins to act like a child. She disregards the rules, doesn’t take school or adult responsibilities serious, and she’s always looking for a good time. I just can’t get enough of these girls! They may be twins, but their such polar opposites, which is strange because they used to be almost the same person before they went to university.
Levi is also a great character, mainly because I automatically adore any guy who can handle a fangirl, both as a friend and a boyfriend. It’s hard to find someone who accepts us for who we are (or in this case what we love more than life itself!), and who encourages us to stay true to it no matter what! I like the fact that he is flawed (he has trouble reading) and isn’t afraid to seek out help from Cath. Their relationship is very real, and I’m aware that I’ve said that for quite a few relationships in my blog posts as of late, but it’s true! Cath and Levi start out as friends, and Rainbow isn’t afraid to make their journey to becoming boyfriend and girlfriend complicated and frustrating.
The addition of the fiction-writing class and teacher is very interesting because they address the ongoing argument of fanfiction as a legitimate form of fiction writing. Is it plagiarism? Is it original? Can ownership belong to the fan fiction writer without acknowledging the author who wrote the original novel? Having Cath submit her fanfiction as her fiction writing assignment was a bold move. I really enjoyed the discussions that ensued. I just wanted to jump into the pages of this novel so I could give my opinion!
I can’t wait to read Rainbow’s spin off novel, Carry On, which revolves around the Simon Snow characters and Cath’s fanfiction. Having a couple of blurbs from both the original and fanfiction within Fangirl really absorbed my attention and had my imagination running wild! I’m sure plenty of other Book Babies will be devouring this spin off as well, but make sure to read Fangirl first! I hope you fall in love with this story and the characters as I did, Book Babies! Authors such as Rainbow Rowell are very hard to find, so we’ve got to enjoy them while we can!