FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

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Narrated by Rebecca Lowman & Maxwell Caulfield

I love Rainbow Rowell. I first read her debut novel. Attachments, and then went through all of her books. With Fangirl,  I am now all caught up – until she publishes another book., and I can hardly wait for it.

Fangirl is an adult novel that is probably more popular with the Young Adult set since it is about a college freshman who writes fan fiction. I personally don’t know any adults who read fan fiction, although I’m sure they are out there. But my 22 year old daughter devours it, as do other young adults that I know. And interestingly, the paperback was published by Macmillan Children’s.

Anyway, Cather is the college freshman and I listened to this on audio book. Rowell’s books are fantastic on audio, and this one is no exception. There are two narrators, Rebecca Lowman, who reads Cather’s story, and Maxwell Caulfield, who reads the fan fiction that Cather writes. It is loosely based on Harry Potter, but is called Simon Snow and is gay fan fiction with vampires. I don’t like vampires and I wasn’t a fan of the fan fic, as it is called, so I tended to fast forward through those parts.

Cather is an identical twin, her sister is Wren (say the names together and you’ll get it.) Their mother took off when they were 8 years old and their father is bipolar but has managed to bring them up by himself. They girls go away to school in Lincoln, Nebraska, not too far from their home in Omaha. Much to Cather’s dismay, Wren decides she doesn’t want to room with her sister and they drift apart.

Cather’s roommate is Reagan, an upperclassman with a string of boyfriends. One of them, Levi, is always in their room and is very kind to Cather. Eventually they fall in love, but not without a lot of misunderstandings along the way. There is more angst with Cather’s family – her mother shows up, her sister gets alcohol poisoning, and her father has a bad manic episode. But Cather’s real struggle is with her fiction writing class – she wants to write fan fic, and her professor isn’t having any of it.

This is another charming story from this terrific storyteller. The characters are deftly brought to life and their stories are absorbing. I hated when it ended, and I can’t think of a better recommendation than that.

9/14 Stacy Alesi

FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell. St. Martin’s Griffin; First Edition edition (September 10, 2013). ISBN 978-1250030955. 448p.
Audiobook on CD: Listening Library (Audio); Unabridged edition (September 10, 2013). ISBN 978-0804121286.

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