on 1st April 2014
Booktopia • Book Depository • Angus and Robertson
Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible . .
Cath has always been a package deal with her identical twin sister Wren. But when the two go off to college, Wren has decided she wants this as a chance to start over. To create a new identity for herself which doesn’t involve Cath.
Floundering with the forced independence, Cath continues to work on her highly successful fanfiction and rejects the college experience her twin is embracing whole heartedly. Home life interferes with Cath’s plans on how to survive college – as well as a blunt, outspoken yet closetly caring room-mate, Reagan – and Cath finds herself having a real life that starts to overshadow her online presence.
I’m not usually a fan of New Adult novels. They often seem to be an excuse to weave sex into a young adult story. But Fangirl is a book that could change my mind about the genre. This is a book where the characters have to deal with the transition between adolescence and adulthood and it is a story which is delivered beautifully.
This is a book about dealing with family, first love and one’s own identity. Cath grows up in front on our eyes and goes from being the quiet half of Wren&Cath to being a strong person in her own right. The fanfiction portion of the novel is perfectly executed and as someone who was involved quite heavily in a fandom for many years – I feel like Rainbow Rowell captured the spirit completely.
I loved reading about the relationships in this novel. The bond between sisters. Parent/Daughter dynamics with their own issues. Blossoming romance with problems of its own. For me – these were a strength of the book. Every character in this book has their flaws, their problems and they are anything but perfect. But they are real. These could be people I know – could be me – and their imperfections and faults make them so believable. In the end, despite what they’ve been though, they all emerge the other side a little stronger than before and a little wiser too.
Fangirl is a coming of age story with a difference. Rainbow Rowell has written a story with beautifully awkward characters and angst-ridden romance and also with a lot of heart. I read this book in a single sitting and don’t regret that decision for a moment. I adored getting to follow Cath as she finds the line between fandom and reality, but also as she finds who she is meant to be. I recommend this book for fans of well written contemporary fiction with realistic characters, heart-warming romance and awkward heroines.
Thanks to Pan Macmillan for the review copy of Fangirl