by Rainbow Rowell

DPL Rating:
4
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Review

I first heard about Fangirl​ from Tumblr, online land of the fangirls (and a few fanboys) where we native nerds can flail about our favorite book/movie/show/comic/podcast/romantic pairing (OTP)/friendship (BROTP)/character/fanfiction/fanart/gifset/etc. to our hearts' content away from the eyes of those who just don't understand. Needless to say, this book was written exactly for people like me.

Cath -- college freshman, blushing introvert, and the socially anxious half of a pair of twins -- is a Simon Snow fan. Simon Snow, as we find out on the first page, has many things in common with Harry Potter, among other boy heroes, though in the world of the book he's at least as big, if not a bigger deal. Cath is also the girl behind the penname Magicath, a prolific fanfiction author whose chapters regularly get thousands of hits and whose most recent project has been hailed "the eighth year fic" by one of the heavies in the fandom.

When her sister, Wren, decides she wants to try life without her twin constantly by her side, Cath retreats into her fanfiction and her non-canon-compliant OTP. She also hides behind it so she doesn't have to deal with her attraction to the ever-present and amiable Levi, a good friend of her surly roommate, or any of the other travails she faces over the course of the year.

Fangirl is thoroughly engaging as well as being a quick read; I'd suggest setting aside a free Saturday to devour it whole, though you may, like I do, feel somewhat disappointed in the ending, which feels more open-ended than I was expecting. Then again, that's rather the point. Fanfiction is inherently about playing in and around the gaps of its inspiration, so maybe it's only fitting that Fangirl purposefully leaves gaps for the reader to fill in. As Cath says about the end of one of her own stories, what happens next is "up to you."

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