Monday, 21 April 2014


Having loved Rainbow Rowell's offbeat love story Eleanor & Park, I was thrilled to find out she had just released a new book, Fangirl, and of course had to read it immediately.

Cather and Wren are identical twins, both starting as freshmen at UNL. Their unusual names are a kind of private joke by their mother, who was not expecting twins and had only one name, Catherine, picked out.

Cath and Wren have always done everything together, even writing fanfiction for their favourite book series, Simon Snow. But now Wren doesn't want to room with Cath at college, goes out to parties every night and won't answer Cath's calls. She even seems to have distanced herself from Simon Snow, something they once both loved. To top it off, Cath has to share a room with Reagan, a rather brusque junior who doesn't seem to like her and whose boyfriend Levi is always around, in Cath's physical space and headspace.

Cath is an unusual but compelling character. An extreme introvert, she finds adjusting to college life hard, and retreats into the safe world of her Simon Snow fanfiction, while worrying about her dad's health. Cath and Wren's world is soon complicated further by the reappearance of the mother who abandoned them when they were small. Wren is interested in reconnecting, but Cath is decidedly not, which causes even more friction between them.

Although labelling herself as ‘weak’ and ‘broken’ for not being able to interact well with people or dive so lustily into freshman life as her twin, in the end it turns out that Cath is in fact the stronger one. She seems to know herself better than Wren, who behind all the partying and drinking to excess is just as lost as Cath. Despite trying her best to be an island, Cath does manage to make some connections at college: beneath the tough exterior Reagan does actually like her, and it seems love might actually be closer than Cath thinks - stealing her power bars and pestering her to read him her fanfiction.

One of the highlights of the story was reading the scattered fragments of the Simon Snow series and Cath's fanfiction throughout the novel. Simon Snow seems to be an interesting mix of Harry Potter and The Magicians; not entirely a children's story. I'd be interested in reading more!

Currently Reading: The Circle, by Dave Eggers

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