THE PERKS OF BEING A FANGIRL

by Nadin Pyatnitsa
Excuse me while I fangirl all over Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  And how cool is it to be called Rainbow, anyway? Man, why didn’t my parents think of it?
Fangirl is not just a book. It’s a masterpiece!
It’s a book that every fangirl out there should read. First of all, it’s fun! And, more importantly, it is one of the most relatable pieces of literature there is.  Ever. In the fan world, that is. And that probably says a lot.
If Fangirl was a person, I would desperately want to be [his/her/their] best friend for the rest of my life. While reading this 433-page novel, I wanted to climb into it so that I could live there. What else could you possibly want from a book?  
Essentially, Fangirlis a story about a, wait for it, fangirl named Cath Avery, and it takes place during Cath’s very stressful freshman year of college. For a while there, it seems like everything goes wrong. She has a roommate who might be hating her for no reason. Cath’s relationship with her twin sister Wren falls to pieces. Their dad is steadily losing his genius mind. Classes and assignments are piling up. Having a crush on her roommate’s BF/ex is not making it any easier.  And on top of all that is Cath’s fanfiction that she needs to finish before the final book of the Simon Snow series comes out. She needs to wrap the story up for herself before the actual author of the series does it for thousands of fans.
The most appealing thing about this book is, perhaps, that if you are, in fact, a fan of something or another and it makes you feel not entirely normal and out of place in this world, Fangirl will most definitely make you feel much better about your life choices. Or at least slightly less insane.
In fact I’d go so far as to call Fangirl a Bible for introverts all over the world!
To make it even more awesome, Rainbow Rowell created a fictional 8-book Simon Snow series, Cath’s obsession, which was a direct reference to the 8-book Harry Potter series so many of us can relate to. Just like most of us, insanely devoted fans, were waiting for the release of each and every Harry Potter book until Deathly Hollow II saw the light of day, Cath Avery has her life spinning around the release of the final, 8thbook of the Simon Snow series, knowing that it would be an end of era of some sort for her.
We never learn much about the imaginary book series save for the fact that the two main characters – Simon Snow and Baz No-Last-Name – live in the world of magic, go to the wizardry school, and are supposed to be the worst of enemies. No kidding, people, Fangirlwould probably make any Harry/Malfoy slash fan ecstatic.
In essence, though, slash fiction aside, Fangirl is a book about writing and what it means to Cath, and why it is hard to break out of the world created by someone else and start working on your own thing, and why you can’t rely on writing only fanfiction even if it’s what you know how to do best.
It touches the issues that every fiction and fanfiction writer has to inevitably think about at one time or another. Is fanfiction wrong? Is it plagiarism? How far can you go without breaking the rules, whatever they are?
In the past few years, fanfiction became a place of comfort for hundreds of thousands of film, TV, and book fans, allowing them to stay in the world of fiction long after the original creator of said world moves on to something new. It if a phenomenon that can’t be turned back or stopped. Yet, the questions remain, and Rainbow Rowell finds a way to touch upon at least some of them in a delicate and yet very precise way.
All in all, Fangirlis a one hell of a comfort read. I’m not even kidding when I say that I wouldn’t think twice about jumping right into it if I had a chance. Kind of the same way I wanted to jump into Chronicles of Narnia. I LOVED the writing style of Rainbow Rowell, and the world she created with seeming ease. Fangirlbrought up a lot of things to consider and yet it remained the kind of book I would recommend to anyone without hesitation. Moreover, it was peppered with bits and pieces of Cath’s Simon/Baz fanfiction, and you could basically feel her dedication to the story course through your own veins.
I loved the resolution as well. I loved the fact that Cath didn’t fix her issues with her mother because some things are not that simple and real life is not always about happy endings. I loved the fact that she didn’t ditch her roommate for her sister when it came to dorm placement just because Wren changed her mind. I loved it that she was struggling with the Fiction Writing class – the supposedly most important class – because she couldn’t quite find that steady ground between fiction and fanfiction.
I loved the way Rainbow Rowell wrote a book about writing without rubbing it in your face.
It still is a bit of a fairy tale, and a sweet one, too. Big time. But it doesn’t leave you empty and sad in the end like some of them do. Minus the part that you still can’t climb into the darn book!!!! That’s sad. That’s downright devastating!

Other than that, though, why are you still reading this instead of dashing to the nearest bookstore to get yourself a copy of Fangirl? Go!
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Four screenwriters candidly writing about film, television, novels, comic books, video games, and fanfiction.

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