Fangirl is a bit deceiving. See, readers think they are getting a quirky, light-hearted, fun, New Adult novel. They ARE getting those things, but they are also getting much more. Rowell has really upped the game in all of those categories. Alongside those things, she has also offered a glimpse into the lives of those with mental illnesses (and those who must care for them), a glimpse into the life of a true introvert struggling with the fact that she really doesn't want to branch out and feels just fine in the safe confines of her earlier, childhood life, a glimpse into what it is like to have a broken family and the repercussions that come with that (from all sides). She really covers a lot of important themes here, but manages to keep it light and fun as well. That is pure brilliance if you ask me!
As for specifics, Cath is the main character and really she's been written in a way that so many readers will not only enjoy her, but they will also connect with her. I saw this happen as I participated in the online Tumblr-sponsored book club for the book. There were numbers of posts coming in that stated just that - how in their head Rainbow got and how real she made this story for them.
Of course, Cath is also forging her path into new adulthood and she's struggling with a few things that go along with that life (new college roommates, classes, being away from her father and home, moving on from old boyfriends, etc). As is her twin sister who is really itching to get some distance from her clingy sister and takes the complete opposite path as Cath.
Then we have romantic interests and again I think Rowell knocked it out of the park. She built a few guys into the story and readers will know that each has a "chance", but won't really know who's going to win or even who they WANT to win until much later in the book. Levi is one of our contenders and he is, by far, one of the most lovable and enjoyable characters published this year. And talk about authentic - Levi isn't like your typical New Adult romantic interest. He's a farm boy working (at Starbucks no less) his way through college. No overgrown, muscular, uber sexed up, womanizing boy-man here.
Finally, I'll touch on the fact that the book does revolve around Cath's chosen fandom, Simon Snow, which is loosely based on the Harry Potter fandom. Let me just say that Rainbow Rowell has for sure been a fangirl...no two ways about that! Cath writes very popular fanfiction for the series and struggles with her identity in writing quite a bit. Her character growth isn't too forced nor lacking. All of Rowell's characters struck a good balance in that area. As in life, some things and people tend to stay the same, while others learn and branch out along the way.
If you think you have New Adult pegged, you haven't read Fangirl. This book will stick with you long after the final page. (*Side note about that: I found this to be a very motivational book. After putting it away, I felt like writing my own stories, or conquering other big tasks in my life...just a very uplifting, motivating, inspirational theme - unintentionally, not forced.)
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