Review: FANGIRL – Rainbow Rowell (Book)

Originally written at 26/3/16

Current mood: MY. HEART.

The first time I heard about the book was through Missy Dragon. We were all about our own fandoms back then (still do), and Fangirl looked like the book I would be interested… except the fact that it’s thick. English books were waaaaay off my charts back then, so I didn’t plan on buying it. Then came National Service and there was a girl with Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I was bored to death since I just finished Lord of the Rings and she kept praising the book for its ‘sweetness’ and ‘oooohh’s and ‘aaahhhhs’. I borrowed the book even before she finished it, then simply had my heart broken. Seriously. That book was so good I bought an original first edition copy myself along with Fangirl when I got back.

Fangirl. It applies to mostly to me and Missy Dragon in our little circle. Being a fangirl is what makes me and in this story, Cath. She’s a beloved fanfiction writer on the internet in the Simon Snow fandom, and guess what, she writes gay fanfiction. YES! THIS IS MY KIND OF FANFICTION! *slams table* She loves writing, but faces a lot of introvert problems and without her twin sister Wren by her side, things get harsher. Wren has already grown out of the fandom, but Cath hasn’t, and thinks she never will. Levi came into the picture, subtly flirting with Cath, and oblivious her is oblivious and confused. Reagan, her roommate, your typical ‘bros before hos’ kind of mean girl helps her out in the most unexpected ways (and moments).

Cath deals with her sweet father who can’t do without his daughters, Wren’s new bitch attitude, her mother barging into her life, a professor who expects great things from her, and trust issues with Levi. Real life problems aside, Cath faces extreme pressure as the ending (final volume) of Simon Snow approaches, and she struggles to finish her fanfiction before the book is released.

Cath realizes she can’t run away from reality anymore, and solves the problems one at a time before peacefully retreating to her safe haven. Wren hasn’t grown out of the fandom; she just wants to have fun in college. Too much, in fact. Their mother never wanted to be back in their life. She just wants to be there as a friend, not a mother figure. Cath failed her prof’s assignment, but was given a second chance and she took it, even won a prize for her writing. Things worked out with Levi, but most importantly, she knows how to balance her fandom with reality.

Some of us don’t know how to balance between the real world and our illusions. I am one of them. I invest so much in fictional people I tend to forget people irl aren’t like that. People irl are not likable at all. Because being someone who likes anime and games will get looked down upon, I tend to hide the fact I’m a fandom person. The ‘norm’ is to like actors and singers and models, not fictional people. But that’s ok. People come and go in our lives. Those who stay, stay. But the fandom will always be with you. You can leave it anytime, put it on hold, and come back when you feel like it. It won’t leave you, it won’t abandon you, and it will always welcome you back. Your fictional loves and children will be there where you left them. It’s a personal haven.

I’m a fangirl. Hell, I’m no fan-girl. I’m a fan-goddess.

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