“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)” – Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
I ordered my copy of Fangirl online, and so when it first arrived my initial thoughts were: why aren’t you that pretty shade of aqua like you’re supposed to be? It’s okay though, the pink grew on me.
From the numerous reviews I’d read for Fangirl I knew that I’d either ‘get it’ and love it or hate it completely. I’m always skeptical of book hype, as it has lead me astray in the past, but this one I Got. And I loved it!
Fangirl fits into the coming-of-age category and on paper is a story we’ve all heard/read/watched a thousand times before (she even has an identical twin who boasts all of the confident, beautiful, socially competent traits that her sister lacks, a set of incredibly dysfunctional parents and a friendzoned highschool boyfriend), but it isn’t a cliche at all. Where we are usually met with the stereotypical, nerdy girl who goes to college, revamps her identity and voila, suddenly fits in, Rowell creates a heroine who starts out nerdy and cripplingly socially awkward, and although she does eventually find a way of fitting in and finding friends, she does so while remaining true to who she really is. Which to an adult who is still fudging her way through the social order of life, is incredibly encouraging.
I can see how it might not be for everyone, as there isn’t much of a plot so to speak, but the characters are so endearing and believable and their relationships are rich and complex enough that it doesn’t really matter. So if you’ve ever been a socially awkward teenager who hides away from the difficulties of life between the pages of fantasy books, then you should read this. If you’ve ever half starved yourself avoiding public dining halls for fear of all of the eyes that you know are just waiting for you to trip over your own feet or say something stupid, then you should read this, and if you’ve ever had a secret identity as a FanFicion writer then you should read this, because you’ll get it, even if you’ve long grown out of your awkwardness.