Cath and her twin sister Wren are used to doing everything together, but now that they are off to university, everything seems to change. While Wren is happy that new adventures await her, Cath is much more reluctant to leave the life she is used to and the happy little bubble she used to share with Wren. She is also not quite happy about finding out that her beloved twin sister Wren decides that she does not want to share her room with Cath, but actually wants to share her room with a stranger! And what’s even worse – that means that Cath has to, too! Will Cath be able to adapt to this new life, or will she hide behind the fanfiction she lives for?
My personal thoughts (contains minor spoilers):
I really liked Fangirl!
It was my first book by Rainbow Rowell and it definitely won’t be my last.
I liked the sneak peeks of Cath’s fanfiction a lot, as well as the short passages of the ‘original’ book these fanfics are based on – they made me feel like really being part of a new fandom!
I also liked Cath’s change and growth throughout the book – although, when I say ‘change,’ I don’t really mean change, but rather her ‘growing into her true self,’ if that makes any sense – she gets more confident and content being herself, and not somebody else.
Cath is different from her peers, and even different from her twin sister Wren (Cath & Wren, get it??:D), but that makes you like her all the more. She is a true nerd and fangirl and spends her days writing fanfiction rather than partying or going out much. The books she writes her fanfictions on are her life, and she defends them against the world.
Cath’s and Levi’s relationship is sweet, too. I have to say the story doesn’t really focus on it, though, but rather on how Cath gets comfortable being with him, and how much he actually cares for her.
What I also liked is how friendships are depicted. Cath’s roommate Reagan is not one whom you’d expect to have a nice girl’s night in with (at least not at first) – but this changes, too. I feel like this has to do with Cath’s development, as well.
Cath’s ‘family history’, if you will, is quite difficult and sad, too. She had, and still has, to go through a lot, but she can cope. I was surprised at the end that we don’t really get a full on fluffy and shiny happy ending that one would usually expect (at least not for all the family-related problems in the book), but a realistic one. It really focuses on those things that are now important to Cath.
What I didn’t like too much, or what was missing for me to get the fifth star, is a loving and caring relationship between Cath and Wren (yes, I’m a sucker for harmony and love). At times, I felt like it was too much one-sided, and when Wren really hurt Cath, I think a bigger apology would have been necessary, but that’s just my opinion.
If you are looking for a nice book with a nerdy vibe and a heroine who is on a (involuntary but still welcomed) journey of finding her true self despite some major and minor hurdles, this is the book for you. Just don’t expect too much romance or any major adventures – I think what goes on between the lines and inside the characters is much more important here.