I went into “Fangirl” with pretty high expectations. It’s already made the rounds on tumblr, and being a rabid fangirl myself, I was worried about the way the female lead would be portrayed. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed. Cather was a great lead. I empathized with her 100%, and her first year of university had a number of things in common with mine. I wasn’t quite the hermit she was, but I definitely preferred staying in to going out. I wasn’t a fan of dorm life either, but my roommate was stellar–not quite as scary as Regan, but that would have been interesting!
I love that fanfiction wasn’t looked down upon like some weird hobby that loners do in a dark room with the door shut. It’s done by regular people who love what they write about, and that really struck home with me. I think it’s a story for anyone who writes fanfiction, to any degree of fan-crazy. It was really easy to connect with the characters–all of them. I liked Regan’s hard edge, and Wren’s need to let loose (and go a little overboard) isn’t a rarity for first year uni kids. Levi was a great male lead: he was perky without being obnoxious, and a nice guy without being unrealistic.
I guess what I really liked was what all the characters felt like real people. I didn’t find much 2-dimensional characterization anywhere, and I think that’s what kept me hooked. Everyone felt so very real to me, and I appreciate that. The plot was also pretty basic, and with such great characters, I didn’t need it to be too fantastical. I didn’t need excessive drama and strange happenings–I liked looking into the lives of regular people facing regular problems.
The only thing that was hit and miss for me was the actual fanfiction interspersed throughout the narrative. I didn’t mind the blurbs at the beginning of each chapter, but I wasn’t a huge fan of reading it in the chapters themselves. It didn’t detract much for me, and maybe I’ll have to go back and read those bits over again, but I could have done without them.
Regardless, Rainbow Rowell wrote a wonderful book. I’m so happy to see fanfiction portrayed in a positive light (for once), and I look forward to reading more of her work!