Saturday, October 12, 2013
Cath and her twin sister, Wren, have always been a package deal. But when they go to college, Wren wants to room with someone else and assert her independence. She no longer shows an interest in spending time with Cath or working on fanfiction with her (if you're unaware: fanfiction is basically spinoffs of published works, unpublished but posted on fanfiction sites). As Wren explores her new life, Cath retreats further and further into her own fanfiction world -- but her new life just might manage to pull her out.
So here's what I love about Rainbow Rowell's books: Everything. But seriously, her writing is incredible. She is able to convey emotions in a uniquely-colored but totally relatable way, making her language both delightful and clear. Also, she has a good balance of humor and real life. It's kind of funny that Cath took a popular series (similar to Harry Potter) and made the two main characters fall in love with each other, and it's really funny the way she wears t-shirts all the time and has commemorative busts of them in her dorm room (much to the chagrin of her edgy roommate). However, she also deals with severe social anxiety (think eating nothing but protein bars for a month to avoid going into the cafeteria alone) and has some family issues that require her to act like much more of an adult than she is.
Rainbow Rowell also writes the most irresistible of leading men. Every one she's written about has been a "nice guy" that has warmed my heart, and Levi is no exception. Don't get me wrong -- none of them are perfect -- in fact, they all commit some actions that made me cringe -- but they are all redeemable.
Another element of Fangirl that I really enjoyed was that it was set in college. Over the last few years, there has been an outcry in the blogosphere for "New Adult" books -- books written about young adults in their late teens and early twenties, navigating the choices that come with college and early career. I've noticed that NetGalley has recently added a New Adult section, but every book I've seen there has basically been about sex. While sex is an important issue during those years, I don't think it is the complete focus of most young adults' lives -- there is more to write about. Fangirl deals with it, but it isn't what the book is about. I liked that it was a realistic book about a person in college.
Well, I think I've made my point. Excuse me while I go off to write fanfiction about Cath and Levi now. Ahem. (Oh, and one more side point -- I wish that I could read the Simon Snow books in real life. Even though they are basically making fun of the Harry Potter books with perhaps a smidge of Twilight thrown in -- I would enjoy them. Any fanfic writers want to put that together for me? Shoot me an email. :) )
Warnings: Language, thematic issues (mental health, drinking)