Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My only experience with Rainbow Rowell's work had been Eleanor and Park, which was phenomenal, so I thought I'd go on an author binge and explore some more.
Let me begin by saying that I am 40 years old- a far cry from a teenager- and yet, I was boo-hooing over this book like I was 18 again.
As a Middle School Librarian, I like to read the books that the kids are begging for but SLJ classifies as "Grades 9 and up." My 8th graders are dying for books that define them as older than their 6th grade schoolmates. It is hard to satisfy the developmental needs of 11 year olds and 14 year olds in the same collection. After reading Fangirl, my verdict is that, while this book cannot be a part of my School Library collection, I will be recommending it to my more mature 8th graders.
Cather and Wren Avery are twin 18 year-old young women beginning their freshman year at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. They have been inseparable all their lives; especially after their abandonment by their mother, and subsequent mental illness of their father.
In their shared bedroom, in a home in Omaha, the girls spent most of their childhood obsessing over the Fandom of the famous fantasy series, "Simon Snow." Together they would write fanfiction about Simon Snow- Cather as the main author and Wren as her coauthor and beta tester. They lived and breathed Simon Snow and they did this together.
Their bond, their oneness, was something that was never brought in to question until the summer before their freshman year. Wren drops a BOMB on Cather when she announces that she does NOT want to be roomates at UNL. Wren wants to meet new people. Cather wants to curl up in a ball of social anxiety and write herself into oblivion.
At UNL, when they get their rooms, Wren is paired up with a boy-crazed, party-addicted socialite named Courtney. However, Cather is paired up with an older, jaded, snarky, caustic, voluptuous man-eater named Reagan (whose "supposed" boyfriend is ALWAYS around). Wren launches herself right into the social scene, while Cather tries to blend in with the scenery and avoid all human interaction.
To make matters SO much worse- Cather discovers that her favorite professor (Fiction Writing Class) believes that Fanfiction (Cather's self-professed purpose for existing) is PLAGIARISM! Throw in confusing relationships with guys, serious family drama, and an estrangement from her twin and Cather is ready to give up.
This journey into self-actualization is beautifully written, completely relatable, and entirely absorbing. I could not put Fangirl down.
Ages 14 and up for content and age of characters.