I’d like to start this post by thanking Rainbow Rowell (and John Green) for renewing my love of YA titles. For not writing about 16 year old girls that somehow have enough life experience to save the world. I remember being 16. I probably would’ve set the world on fire just to watch it burn back then, when I didn’t have a clarinet stuck in my mouth, of course. And yes, I know that’s a quote from this book. Anyway, I think we can all admit that YA books had become a bit derivative.
Fangirl is actually more NA (New Adult), which I’ve also avoided like the plague, because I mostly didn’t see a purpose for this new genre/subcategory/marketing ploy. I might’ve also been weirded out by the idea that some authors just wanted an excuse for barely legals to have orgies. I don’t really mean that. Mostly.
But, if Rainbow Rowell is writing it (or John Green), then sign me up. And if you know any other authors who write the types of books that these two write, please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments.
Back to Fangirl… Her protagonist, Cather Avery, and I have very little in common, except a love of fan fiction. I remember what it was like waiting years for a new Potter novel and scouring fan fiction sites and LiveJournal to fill the void. Though my devotion is nothing compared to Cath’s, who writes very popular Simon Snow fan fictions (he’s the Harry Potter in this universe), I could still identify with her. As I could with being thrust into new situations and dealing with the anxiety of it all. It was so great to see Cath overcome that, fall in love, stand up for herself in the end, and know that she could have a life separate from her twin sister Wren and it would all be okay.
There’s more to Cath and Wren’s story than just starting college and living separately for the first time. They both have to deal with less-than-ideal parents, which affects them in completely different ways. They also deal with adjusting to a new dynamic in their relationship with each other.
Rowell has a way of capturing nostalgia in her words. I felt the same about Eleanor & Park — that feeling of first love, which is also present here. It’s sweet and real and more sensual than sexual, as a girl with Cath’s personality might actually experience.
What Rowell also does very well is write endings that leave you wanting more, but knowing that more would sort of ruin the book. And that’s why we fan girls — and boys — turn to fan fic. Makes me wonder if they’re are Cath and Levi stories out there. How poetic that would be!