I read Fangirl to join Quarterly Group Read in Indonesians Who Love English Books group on Goodreads. Who doesn’t know Rainbow Rowell (RR)? After successfully stirred our emotions into bittersweet feelings of high school romance on Eleanor & Park, she came back with Fangirl, a story of twin freshmen in college in Omaha, Nebraska.
Cather and Wren were inseparable. They were siblings and also best friends. They used to have the same hobby, same interests, do similar things, go to the same parties, and wear the same clothes… until they enter college life. Wren was extremely excited to join every frat party she could attend, meanwhile Cath was very anxious to enter the “new” life. She had no one except Wren who, unfortunately, didn’t want to be roommate with Cath because she wanted to reach out her new social life. And that left Cath ended up living with Reagan with her friend Levi who constantly hung out in their room. In short, Wren just simply too easy-going and was able to easily adapt while Cath had problems in doing that. Cath’s only loyal friends were her laptop, her Simon Snow fanfictions, and the fanfiction website FanFixx.net where Cath posted her writings.
In the first few chapters, I always pitied Cath as she never talked to anyone else, including her roommate! She ate alone, walked to classes alone, and ate protein bars in her room because she didn’t want her roommate to know that she was hungry. Pathetic, wasn’t she? But that didn’t make me resent her, honestly, because Cath was a dynamic character who changed over time, and I really liked her changing. We could see how a nerd could transform into an adorable nerd haha. The way she acted clumsily, that made me wanted to befriend with her. With Cath’s character, also, RR showed that a nerd wasn’t always someone who locked up her/himself in a room nights and days. Cath, for example, even though in the first few chapters followed those stereotypes, in the end, Cath also proved that a nerd had a social life, too.
Wren, on the other hand, was a social butterfly. She proved herself by going to frat parties and being popular. That made her, figuratively, abandoned Cath alone when she needed her. Wren just too enjoyed being a college student, even though, later, she found difficulty and that required Cath, the only one who sincerely cared of her, to be by her side.
In Fangirl, besides Cath and Wren’s stories, RR also supplemented the readers by Simon Snow’s fantasy stories written by Gemma T. Leslie and later re-written by Cath as fanfics. Just so you know, Simon Snow and Gemma T. Leslie are also fictional and created by RR. So you may find it amazing that RR wrote Fangirl and at the same time created the fictional stories of Simon Snow and integrated them into one YA novel! Got it?
In some parts, the fanfic sections really helped the plot because it had a strong relationship with Cath. However, in some, I also found that the fanfic sections were too loose and didn’t have any connections with the chapters, or even the whole book. I’m not a big fan of Simon Snow fanfic, but I don’t hate it either. However, the point is, Rainbow Rowell has successfully built two fictions into one book, and that is just WOW. If RR decides to publish Simon Snow as a separated novel, I might want to give it a try. I’m just not a fan of Simon Snow as a part of Fangirl. But if Simon Snow has his own story, I’d love to read it!
I rate the book ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Featured image from here.