Bel Reviews: Rainbow Rowell's – “Fangirl”

rowell_fangirl-A book with a mint green cover, a couple of cutesy cartoons, and pink script was what I found when I opened the Pan Macmillan post bag that came in the mail. It had me intrigued.

More cartoons are on the inside of the cover and I jumped straight in with the images of the characters right there, just waiting for me to turn back and take a peek at them. 

Blurb from Goodreads:

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 …”

I finished this book and thank GOODNESS it wasn’t the stereotypical girl-running-with-the-wrong-crowd-and-has-a-fall-from-grace-before-she-realises-who-her-true-friends-are story.

This felt far more real to me, as Cath, through her inner dialogue, struggles with her place in the world. She deals with issues about her Dad—who is struggling with mental health issues—her sister—who is, thank heavens, not the narrator of this book—and her ability as an author, weighing up the validity of fanfiction versus original content.

The love story that is woven through the story is a sweet touch and smooths over some of the more twitch-inducing elements.

Each character is fleshed out and has you wanting them to succeed.  When they make their decisions, be they right or wrong, you’re right there to feel it from Cath’s point of view. If you’re already emotionally raw, this may be a little too much.

If you need a break from the fantasy, science fiction, and teen angst (for no good reason) themes of so many of the books on the shelves at the moment, allow yourself to step into Cath’s world. She’ll convince you that there is something to be achieved by stepping outside your comfort zone.

Paperback, 459 pages

Published January 30th 2014 by Pan Macmillan (first published September 10th 2013)

original title Fangirl

ISBN 1447263227 (ISBN13: 9781447263227)

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