Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Romance, contemporary fiction
Cath is just starting college and is surprised when her twin sister, Wren, does not want to be her roommate. Cath and Wren have been Simon Snow fans for their entire lives, to the point of writing fanfiction. Cath now focuses most of her energy on finishing her popular fic, Carry On, Simon, and not much else. She finds college to be a lot harder than she expected and she struggles to cope. When she meets Levi, she wants to push past her social anxiety and spend time with someone who truly understands her.
One thing I absolutely loved about this book was the commentary on mental illness. I love the dialogue that Rainbow Rowell creates between Cath and her father and the other characters. I think a lot of the time as people looking from the outside we often see people with mental illnesses as crazy and we distance ourselves from them. In her novel, Rowell creates this bond between Cath and her father that says this isn’t just some crazy person, he is someone who loves and is loved by others. He is not insignificant.
Even further, Rowell talks about how someone can be affected from a very young age by another person’s actions and how that translates later in life. Cath exhibits many symptoms of an undiagnosed anxiety. She isn’t just some socially awkward girl but she’s someone who was triggered and now suffers from anxiety. I think that even Wren’s character was still exhibiting signs of how her mother’s leaving affected her.
Again, I love the discussion on anxiety and mental illness that Rowell delivers. However, I did not like the ending of this novel because to me it just fell flat. To me, the ending of this story should not have just been about ending up with a boy and finishing her fanfic. Instead it should have included more about Cath realizing that she was a writer, and not just of fanfiction. A large part of this book’s focus was on Cath’s fiction writing class and her insecurity in her ability to write. I wanted to read more about her process of writing that story and how she overcame her insecurities.
Still, this book was a fun read that I didn’t want to put down. The characters were well written and likeable and kept me laughing. If you like feel-good books that include a cast of quirky characters, then you should add this to your TBR!