"I care about Simon Snow. And I know he's not mine, but that doesn't matter to me. I'd rather pour myself into a world I love and understand than try to make something up out of nothing..."
Going away to college has always been a rite of passage. For many, this counts as their first taste of independence. Cath isn't looking forward to the experience. Her twin sister, Wren, is using the time to explore new things, including requesting a roommate that isn't Cath. Wren spends her weekends drinking and partying, and her week days practicing crazy vegan diets. Cath is afraid of all the changes she has to face without her sister and best friend. She spends the beginning of her year eating protein bars in her bedroom because she's afraid to go to the dining hall, then because she's too embarrassed to ask where the dining hall is.
Thankfully, Cath eventually ventures outside of her dorm. This is largely due to the fact that her roommate Regan, and Regan's boyfriend Levi, take her under their wing. Through them, she finds the dining hall and learns the joys of peppermint mochas. Cath would still rather stay inside and write Simon Snow fanfic than party, but they always extend an invitation when going to a party.
Speaking of Simon Snow, he is the main character in a series of young adult books. Simon goes to a magical school, like Harry Potter. His roommate is a brooding vampire named Baz, and they tend to fight. In the great world of the internet, Simon and Baz are really hot for each other. Cath writes a lot of Simon and Baz slash fics, the most important of which is "Carry On, Simon." It gets tons of hits and even has its own fan gear. Cath is determined to finish her masterpiece before the final Simon Snow book is published.
Despite being a Freshman, Cath negotiated her way into an upper level writing class. She soon starts writing with a boy in her class, alternating paragraphs while he works at the library. Yet, library boy never walks her home to her dorm at midnight. Levi does. That little bit of conflict aside, Cath's teacher adores her writing. When she turns in a fanfic, however, the teacher hates it, even refers to it as plagiarism.
There are a lot of confusing moments going on in Cath's Freshman year. There's the feelings about library boy (Who always seems kind of meh) versus Levi (Who obviously loves her and has the funniest moments in the entire book and is awesome). She has conflicts with her family: the whole Wren issue, her guilt over going away to school and not being able to take care of her father, and then finding out that their mother wants to reconnect with them, the same mother who left when they were eight.
I really love how Cath starts out as an introvert, and basically stays that way in the end. She comes out of her shell a bit, but she doesn't turn into a social butterfly. I like that, how it's okay for her to be who she is. It would be really difficult to dislike Cath. There were moments when she was so incredibly awkward or self destructive, and I just wanted to give her a hug. I could see a whole lot of myself in her. I also loved Regan and Levi for never giving up on her, no matter how many times she turned down their invites. Regan is one of those intimidating girls with the pessimistic attitudes. They are exact opposites, but Cath and Regan created a great balance. And Levi is absolutely the best. I don't know why I'm just discovering Rainbow Rowell (I also read Eleanor & Park, and it is also fantastic), but she is a wonderful writer. I want to read whatever she has coming next, and I only hope that she comes out with it soon.
I received my copy of Fangirl from Netgalley, courtesy of St. Martin's Press. It will be available September 10th, 2013.