At times, some YA novels can be borderline unrealistic, painting situations and characters that don’t really exist in reality. Characters are too perfect, lacking depth; and, circumstances are either ridiculous or too good to be true. Fangirl, thankfully, doesn’t
thick these boxes and it could have been quite easy for it to fall into the trap of being completely unrealistic.
Rowell’s novel is about two 18 year old twins, Cath and Wren. Having done most things together, Wren is finally ready to have a separate life especially since university is on the horizon. Cath, the protagonist of the story, is no way near ready for this type of change. If Cath had her way she would share a room with Wren at uni, write fanfiction every hour of the day, avoid making new friends which is mostly due to social anxiety and stay in the safe and familiar world of her fanfiction. Life
, however, doesn’t give her what she wants. Cath must find her feet in uni, dare to do the things that she would rather hide from and step out of her fanfiction world to really see and feel the real world.
Fangirl is such a good book. Cath is a believable character who develops one step at a time. From struggling with social anxiety to writing great fanfiction, Cath learns to let other people into her life and not to lock herself up in the world mage. I like that she doesn’t go from having a very little amount of friends to being popular. Rowell gives Cath genuine friendships. As well as getting used to uni life, Cath deals with family drama involving her dad, Wren and estranged mother. I love that she isn’t a perfect problem solver. She gets irritated, feels self-pity, worries and even struggles with un-forgiveness at times. However, she has such a big heart for her Dad and Wren. Almost all the characters in the novel have flaws. Seriously! It’s like Rowell took a mirror and reflected it on the world. Levi, the guy who eventually becomes Cath’s boyfriend is patient, caring and funny. He has faults too, and so does Regan, Cath’s roommate. I think this is what makes the characters realistic. The love story between Cath and Levi didn’t over power the novel. For once it’s nice too characters develop a friendship before jumping into a relationship.
The dialogue is great as well and I love the interactions between different characters. Rowell weaves Cath’s fanfiction into the novel so well. Fanfiction is a hobby that Cath does because it’s important to her and wren and because she loves to write. However, it’s one of things that strengthens the bond between Cath and Levi.
This book is more about character development than plot: It’s definitely not fast-paced. There weren’t any jaw-dropping surprises and I think it flows naturally. I’m not ecstatic about the ending; however, I don’t think that Cath’s adventures end in novel. I really think they live on beyond the novel. It’s a great gift when an author is able to do such a thing!
I would recommend Fangirl if you like YA fiction, coming of age novels and fanfiction.