I've read a couple of Rainbow's books now, including Landline and Eleanor & Park, and I recently finished Fangirl just before starting up Attachments. Can you tell I like her work? One of the things I enjoy so much about Rainbow's writing is how real it is. How you can't help but feel like you know her characters on an intimate level. Like you know their whole lives, not just the parts covered in 200 or so pages. There's a strong sense of reality in her works of fiction that is missing in many other books.
With Fangirl, I found myself relating to the book's main character, Cath, in a variety of ways: we both love to write, wear glasses and can get entirely too caught up in works of fiction. Not to mention how talented Cath (in the form of Rainbow) is at noticing/obsessing over the small details about other people's appearances – mainly boys'.
As an incoming college freshman, Cath is also Internet famous for the Simon Snow fanfiction she writes. Simon Snow is a made up book series within the Fangirl story, and is basically a Harry Potter and Twilight hybrid. For this reason, some readers bash Fangirl, but I think it just makes Cath's obsession with a fictional world that much more relatable and acceptable.
While adjusting to college life, Cath also must come to terms with the ever-growing distance between her and her twin sister, Wren; her manic father and estranged biological mother; a new roommate and *gasp* a new love interest, Levi (who may be one of the most adorable fictitious characters I've ever "met"). Not to mention impending release of the final book in the Simon Snow series . . .
I give this book:
“The whole point of fanfiction is that you get to play inside somebody else's universe. Rewrite the rules. Or bend them. The story doesn't have to end. You can stay in this world, this world you love, as long as you want, as long as you keep thinking of new stories,” ― Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl
As one Goodreads reviewer so aptly put it: "Whether you find yourself in the insecure girl who's afraid of life; the happy-go-lucky guy always ready with a smile; the self-centered sister; the deceitful friend; the emotionally disabled dad; the outspoken, honest roommate; the talented but uncertain writer; the intellectual or the one who falls short; the life of the party or the one hiding in the shadows — there are bits and pieces of everyone scattered throughout this story; representing all the highs and lows that make us exactly who we are."
I recommend Fangirl (and any of Rainbow's books) to anyone who is looking to get caught up in someone else's story, and to anyone who wants to smile and laugh out loud while flipping through the pages.