Fangirl-ing, Rainbow Rowell

“What’s the point of having a twin sister if you won’t let her look out for you? If you won’t let her fight at your back?”

“The squirrels on campus were beyond domestic; they were practically domestically abusive.”

With the end of the summer holidays, and the start of my final year of sixth form around the corner (wow, time flies!), Fangirl  provided some light relief from the heavy load of classic novels I have recently been reading. Without giving away the entire plot, Fangirl is about a set of female identical twins who are starting their first year of university. Cath (from whose point of view the novel is written) is shy and unobtrusive, studying for an English major with creative writing, whereas her twin, Wren, is far more outgoing and willing to become more independent from her sibling.

When reading the blurb of this book I was immediately attracted. Not only do I know Rainbow Rowell to be a well-acclaimed, successful author for YA fiction, but I am a twin myself – getting closer and closer to the rather huge concept of university and English degrees (hopefully!). The similarities between myself and the outlined plot (particularly Cath) were too strong to ignore – and I am very glad I didn’t ignore it!

In terms of plot structure, Rowell’s novel is similar to most YA fiction: introduction, blossoming romance, problem arises, solution, conclusion. This being said, I still think Rainbow is a remarkable writer. (If I’m honest, an easy plot is sometimes just as enjoyable as a nail-biter… To me anyway.) She includes the perfect balance of humour, love, loss and sorrow, as well as creating such realistic characters that are easy to sympathise and relate to; there is a great truthfulness about her writing, especially her sarcastic comments about everyday situations. (They were so funny but so true!)

What I found most remarkable was that Rainbow made up a fictional book series within the novel! Not only that, but she also creates a fan base and fan fiction too! (Each chapter starts with either an “extract” from the series or a piece of “fan fiction” – “written” by Cath. How clever is that?!!) I personally feel that there is something magical and sacred about books within books (like Hazel and ‘An Imperial Affliction’ in TFIOS) and plays within plays (an obvious example being the play within A Midsummer Night’s Dream)I just love the concept, especially within this novel – it makes it so interesting.

I liked this book; it was fun, intriguing and generally enjoyable to read. For me personally, I related to the character of Cath particularly – her worries and feelings of anxiety seemed to mirror my own with regards to moving away and leaving my family. Overall, it was a great novel that I would recommend to anyone who likes YA fiction or a light, easy but fun read. I can’t wait to read some more of Rowell’s creations! (Watch this space…)

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