So, here we are again! I am getting back into the groove of things, just like Stella! (If you didn’t get my Terry McMillan novel, reference, it’s okay. I just kinda dated myself, that’s all. Haha. ) Anywho, the book that I read this time was Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. This I read for my YA novel part of the Book Riot #ReadHarder challenge. (Which is coming along nicely, I might add.)
Just a little bit about Ms. Rowell, there is very little about her. Haha. She has accounts on all of the social medias, yet her bios and wikipedia page are really short. She’s just an awesome writer that lives in Nebraska. I will have a link to her webpage HERE, so you can see where she will be and learn more. Fangirl is her 5th book written, and her other books, Landline and Eleanor& Park have gotten rave reviews and Eleanor& Park will be made into a movie later this year.
Fangirl is the tale of Cath, who is just your average late teen burgeoning into young adulthood, as she and her twin, Wren, go off to college. As Wren seems to adjust, Cath, like most of us, has a hard time letting go of her past. Namely, her love for Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-esque, pop culture phenomenon in her world. To top it all off and delve her deeper into the Simon Snow-verse, is the fact that Cath has a wildly popular fan fiction, Carry On. I would like to add that creme- de-la creme is that it is gay fan fiction, in which the lead characters, Simon and Baz are in love with each other. Think of it as Harry and Draco being in love, and Draco being a vampire. Awesome, right?! I know! So, anyways, along with trying to figure out what “growing up” means, Cath has a roommate that seems to hate her, a English teacher that frowns upon fan fiction and then there are guys being guys, and being confusing, as usual.
So, as you can tell, I’m really into this. Haha. The writing is casual, yet entertaining. There are excerpts from the fake blog as well as the fake books they are based on, which is so creative and innovative. (Literary Inception!!!) What’s really cool is that her fake fan fiction has taken off and not only have people written their own, but Ms. Rowell’s next book will be a spin off of the fan fic, aptly named Carry On. There may be actual books, fan fiction type books, that will create the Simon Snow series. The depth that Rowell puts into not only creating an a fiction within a fiction, but also making the reader fangirl (or fanboy) over it, is amazing. Also, there is a scene in the book where Cath is having hard time and decides to have an “Emergency Kanye Dance Party.” I’m not going to lie, I totally adopted this into my life. When life gets tough, you put on a playlist by whomever you like, stand on your bed and jump/ dance it out. Instead of Kanye, I have my “Emergency Missy Elliott Dance Party,” but either way it’s therapeutic. Along, with the main story there are 2 potential love interests, which the ending of one, kinda threw me for a bit of a loop and I did not see that coming, I thought it was leading up to something, but it was a no go. Also, Cath’s dad has this condition, I wish they said exactly what it was and how it happened, but it adds an emotional element and adds justification to Cath’s reluctance to leave him in the first place. Please note, that his condition is not a terminal thing, but more of an psychological condition, and he does not die, if that mess you feel better. Also, Rowell’s explanation of love and how you feel it in your gut, more than your heart, is so accurate. Her description of falling in love and being in love and thinking you know what love is, until lit happens for real, is dead on. As I was reading, I felt like Cath was a real person and that we could totally be friends, were I 10 years younger and in Nebraska and part of this imaginary universe. Although, this book was really good, there was something missing in terms of character development. Yeah, I felt like I knew them, but I also felt like there was something they were holding back from me, I can’t describe it. It’s kinda like meeting someone for the first time and you can tell you like them, but you also know that over time you will feel even more connected, if that makes sense. Yet, in a novel, you don’t get to get to know them over time, unless there’s a series, which I don’t think there will be. Please do not let my character qualms discourage you, as this is really an awesome book, with great characters, and a look into both sides of the fan fiction debate, that I was (and still am) unfamiliar with. I don’t know if Rowell wrote fan fic before and was reprimanded, or if she’s just passionate, or just really good at her job, but it was very interesting.
Despite, the inexplicable “something missing” element to the character development, I loved this book. If you like coming of age tales with a modern twist that incorporates the magical world of mages, with fan fiction, then this book is for you. If you like light, witty, funny, writing with realistic human situations and interactions and a diverse look at college life from an incoming freshman’s point of view,then read this book! I am going read more Rainbow Rowell books after this, for sure!
Also, in the book they read The Outsiders, so in the illustrious words of S. E. Hinton, Johnny and the other Outsiders “Stay Golden Ponyboy” and thanks for reading!