Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl is easily the best YA novel that I have read in a very long time. Eighteen year old college freshman Cath is having an identity crisis of sorts. She's used to doing everything with her twin sister, Wren, but now that they're at university, Wren has decided that she wants to expand her social horizons further and not be part of a pair. Cath, meanwhile, is struggling with her new world and finds comfort in hiding away from people and writing fan fiction about Simon Snow, a series of books that are not unlike Harry Potter. Or, as her roomate Reagan puts it, "You've got some weird thing about Simon Snow." Then again, Cath is quick to argue, "I don't have a weird thing with Simon Snow ... I'm just really big in the fandom."
Fangirl follows Cath through her first year of college as she makes the jump from child to adult and her struggles with social anxiety. It's lovely to watch as her world slowly expands--almost against her will--and she makes new friends and alliances. More heart wrenching is her relationship with the occasionally bitchy Wren and her almost-completely-absent mother, Laura. While I do not want to give away too much about the ending, there is a lovely moral that you don't have to give up on the people and things that you love in order to make room for new people. The author really gets what it means to feel shy and struggle around people, and the need to retreat from the world sometimes.
This coming-of-age tale comes highly recommended to anyone who is a fan of YA fiction. Then again, I'd happily recommend it to people who do not usually read YA.