By Rainbow Rowell
Available now from St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan)
FANGIRL: the novel that launched a thousand laudatory reviews. It's a little difficult to be just one more, sometimes. If you haven't heard about it, FANGIRL is the story of Cath, a freshman in college. She's long found solace in fandom and has become a popular writer of Baz/Simon fanfiction (basically Harry Potter). She's had some difficulty in her home life: her mother left when she and her sister were eight and her father is bipolar and sometimes has breakdowns. Now at college, she doesn't even have her twin by her side. Wren decided to room with someone else at the last minute.
The first reason FANGIRL is easy to love is that its very relatable. Freshman year is a liminal time. Some people spend it getting drunk, like Wren. Some people spend it huddled in their dorm room, like Cath. Often times things happen to shock people out of their patterns, which of course happens in the book. The second is that FANGIRL is a total female fantasy. Cath is hippy but still considered attractive, has no less than two potential love interests, is adored by a professor, and finds fame online. Her college life is, in many ways, the life other socially anxious internet dwellers dream of. There are some downsides (anxiety) (parental abandonment), but on the whole it is just plain fun to spend time in Cath's life.
FANGIRL is the cherry on top of a wonderful year for Rainbow Rowell. She's really arrived as an author, and I am looking forward to her next book. This book is a great choice for anyone going to college, or who has been to college, or who didn't go and wants proof that college quite often bites the monkey.