Young Adult books are always fun to read and Rainbow Rowell is a master of this genre. I have read four of her books of which, FanGirl is my favorite. When I started reading FanGirl I found the book a little boring and slow paced. For a very long time in the book, there was nothing great happening which is why I lost interest and I stopped reading it. I resumed reading after a few weeks only for the sake of completing it. But little did I know that my second innings with the book would not only change my perception about it but also make me fall in love with it (like totally), especially with the central characters, Cath, and Levi.
I was astonished by the way the story caught pace and how it developed so beautifully. So let’s get to know about Cath and see what makes her story so sweet and lovable.
FanGirl by Rainbow Rowell (2013)
Synopsis: Cath and Wren are twin sisters who will soon be going to college. Living their whole life together until now, Wren decides to cut the cord and live separately. Cath is a socially awkward person and finds it difficult to make friends and interact with new people. On reaching university, she is holed up in her room and comes out only to attend classes. She barely interacts with anyone in her class and spends most of her time writing fan fiction based on a fantasy novel of Simon Snow. Cath shares her room with a girl named Reagan. Reagan’s friend Levi often visits her room where he meets Cath. Levi instantly takes a liking to Cath who sees him as nothing but ‘scary’ Reagan’s weird boyfriend. Cath has a soft spot for her classmate Nick and they work together to complete a class assignment.
In this new place surrounded by new people, Cath can’t help but worry about her dad who now lives alone in their house. Too many things are happening in the introvert and awkward Cath’s life. Will she be able to cope? Will she fall for Levi’s charms or will she manage to win over the cute classmate Nick? How will her father manage to live alone without his two daughters?
Points I Liked About FanGirl
Story Development: The story starts tad slow but once the main plot begins to take shape the whole picture becomes clear and so much interesting. Cath is not an idealistic character who goes from being socially awkward to a super confident girl. Her character grows but in its own way. The scenarios in the book are so real that most university students must have encountered at least one of the incidences. It is interesting to see how she handles this new phase in her life and live without her twin Wren for the first time.
Real Characters: The kind of dilemmas Cath experiences can only be understood by someone who shares her anxiety. Cath is a representation of the people who dislike meeting new people and making new friends. She is an anti-social person who freaks out at the mere thought of even accidently bumping into people. The writer has shaped and written her character so well that you can almost feel Cath palpitating. None of the characters in the book are perfect. They all have a good side and a not so good side which is what makes each of them so believable.
Sweet Moments: Cath’s love story is almost child-like by which I mean very innocent and pure. Her first kiss is simply magical. I read it for a countless number of times only to experience the smooth flow of things again and again. It happens in the most unlikely situation and in the most magical way. Every romantic girl yearns for such magical moments in her life. I really love Rainbow Rowell for creating such warm moments in all her books. Even the awkwardness after the first kiss is natural and funny. All the ‘who will call first’ ‘let him message’ ‘act cool’ are real life problems faced by young kids and Rowell has put them forward effectively.
Points I Did Not Like About FanGirl
Simon Snow: Excerpts from Cath’s Simon Snow fanfiction are mentioned in the book that in a way reflect Cath’s real life situations and her struggles. The excerpts give more insight into her character and her thinking. However, I did not like those excerpts much. In fact, after a point, I just skipped them and went straight to the main story. The fanfic was more like a deviation for me. (Many readers loved the Simon Snow story so much that Rainbow Rowell actually came up with a spin-off book named Carry On based on Simon Snow’s adventures.) (I love Rainbow Rowell’s books but I don’t think I will be reading Carry On anytime soon ;))
Slow Pace: The starting few chapters in the book seemed a little boring which is why I almost gave up reading it. But luckily I was determined to finish the book at any cost so started reading it again and thank God I decided to do so or I would have missed out on such an amazing story. The book’s initial sluggishness can mislead readers to giving up on the book (something I almost did myself).
Final View: FanGirl is one of the few books I wished had never ended. I wanted more of it. I recommend this book to all the young adult book readers who love reading real characters and subtle romances.
Check out Amazon.in for a discount on this book.