Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
When I started off reading this book I didn’t love it. It’s not really the type of book I read. It’s very much a YA modern romance book but as I continued reading, I started liking this book more and more.
Overall, this story is about Cather and her experiences during the first year of college. Her twin sister (Wren) wants them to have separate lives for the first time so for the first time Cather is really on her own. While her sister (and a lot of people at her school) are out drinking and partying she’s in her room writing fanfiction.
Things I did’t like: This book was obviously written for only one generation which is fine for them but other people won’t understand some of the references. The most obvious example I can think of is her ‘Kanye party’ but I know there are a few more references to pop-culture. I was also kind of dissatisfied with the ending. It just kind of ended. I guess that makes it more like life (there are no concrete endings) but I got to the end and was like ‘oh, that’s the end’. Also the author was obviously trying to write romantic scenes for a YA audience (which I appreciate for the most part) but maybe I’m just nosy but I felt like her ambiguity left me wanting to know what actually happened… Also I understand that she wanted to accurately paint college life but sometimes I just wished there was less stupid parties and judging people. The whole mom thing seemed a bit irrelevant in my opinion but I guess it was there to add complexity and explain Cather and Wren’s changing relationship.
Things I did like: I really liked the complexity of the characters. All the main characters seemed very multidimensional and actually kind of interesting. Also I really appreciated the family aspects of this book. A lot of the book is influenced by Cather and her relationship with her sister and dad (and lack of relationship with her mom). Along that same line, I was really fascinated by the way this book mentions mental illness and serious issues. Cather’s dad suffers from Bi-polar disorder and at once point ends up in the hospital. I can’t say that I’ve read a book with a bi-polar character before and it was really interesting (also he just seems like a really nice guy but maybe Cather is a biased narrator in that respect). Also Cather’s mom left when she and Wren were 8 so she suffers from anxiety and abandonment issues. I also really liked Cather’s roommate. At first she is rather unlikable but ultimately I really liked her. Also the whole fanfiction aspect of the book was really interesting. Again, something I’ve never read about in a book. Maybe I just need to read more modern fiction…
Overall, well written YA love story which touches on some deeper issues. I was a little bit disappointed, would probably give it closer to 3 out of 5 stars but it did grip me and I’m sure some people would really love it. Definitely PG-13 in my opinion just for stupid college antics but I mean, Cather is quite an innocent character so we don’t really get much of anything bad.
Also for the record, I have not read Eleanor & Park which was the author’s super popular book. Maybe I will give it a go.