Photo from @beautifulbookland on Instagram
Rating – ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Okay, so I was nervous about starting this because I tried reading Eleanor & Park a few years back and I couldn’t finish more than 20% of it. But I decided to give Fangirl a try because, honestly, I’ve never related to a book title more (Chaos Walking would probably be a close second for me because I am, in fact, a walking disaster).
One thing that I’m always nervous about it YA contemporary books is the characters. Sometimes I feel like authors slip with the bottle when they’re adding ‘Quirky and Different’ to their characters, and it makes them really unrealistic and a little bit irritating. But Rainbow Rowell’s characters don’t fall into that trap, and there wasn’t a single one that I didn’t like (apart from Nick the Dick).
Cath is obsessed with Simon Snow (I initially imagined it as their version of Harry Potter, but then Harry Potter was mentioned later on in the book so idk where we stand with that because Simon Snow is literally like Harry Potter fanfiction. It sort of hurts my head). And while her twin sister Wren has tried to distance herself from Simon Snow, Cath still lives and breathes Simon, staying awake into the wee hours of the morning to update her fanfic.
But Cath and Wren have done everything together, and when they go away to college and Wren doesn’t want to room with Cath, Cath struggles. Struggles with leaving her dorm, struggles with socialising, struggles with boys and worrying about her dad and updating her fanfic whilst keeping up with her school work – and she doesn’t even have Wren to talk to about it, because Wren is trying to start her new life. So Cath can’t talk to her about her moody roommate, Reagan, or her growing feelings for Reagan’s ex boyfriend, Levi.
I absolutely adored Cath; I don’t think I’ve ever related to a character more than I did her. Apart from her fangirling tendencies, she also struggles with her anxiety. She’s spent so much of her life hiding behind Wren, and she finds it very difficult to adjust to change, and to the idea of growing out of and apart from things they love and people they’re close to. I think that’s the theme that I most loved in Fangirl – the struggle of having things change as you move from one part of your life to another. Because not everyone can be a Wren and find change exciting; some people are just like Cath, and that’s okay.
Honestly, this book has made me want to give Eleanor & Park another chance because I loved it so much. Cath is just a breath of fresh air, and I love her lots.