FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

ah, fanfiction. it is such a curious phenomenon to me. i find its very existence delightful and wondrous, but i know it is not for me, not really.

i’ve never loved any book or any character enough to read fanfic about. there are books i wish had sequels, sure, but i have never wanted to seek out work by people other than the original author about specific characters or worlds. also, since the relationshippy parts of books are usually my least favorite, and 90 percent of fanfic is slash and relationship stuff, it is of no use to me.

but the idea of a community of mostly straight girls writing gay male relationship stories between characters from popular books and movies is so bizarre and fascinating to me. and there is so much of it! and these fic authors are so prolific and their followers so intense! it is a whole subculture that i would never have the energy to be a part of, but i marvel at it, mostly through dana, who is herself a fangirl, and who gave me a heads-up to the only fanfic i have ever read, for tell the wolves i’m home, and which i truly loved:

until now. because although the fanfic in this book is riffing off an imaginary series, i thought it was wonderful and adorable and it gave me the flavor of being a fanfic fan without any of the commitment. i kind of wish these books did exist, so i could read them, and then read this fanfic and follow magicath every night. i appreciate the passion and the impulse that goes into fanfic, and i really wish there were characters i cared enough about to find fanfic of online. but i guarantee no one is writing Donald Harington fic, so i assume this will be the extent of my involvement in the world of fandom.

but it’s enough. i thought this was a really refreshing story, written effortlessly. the characters were genuine and charming rather than being “types.” it was funny and sweet and sad without seeming to be trying to be funny or sad, which is rarer than it sounds. i can rarely lose myself in a book enough to forget that it is a construct, but reading this was more like people-watching than reading, in a way.

it succeeds on every level: as a relationship story, as a family story, as a – not a coming-of-age so much as a coming-into-one’s-ownself story, and as a peek into a subculture with characters who are charming and feel authentic.

i loved its wit and its honesty and its richly-drawn people. the scene of cath psyching herself up in front of the mirror before levi’s party was so perfect and funny, and levi’s meeting her sweetly baffled father, regan’s rules and the way she handles the awkward situation she finds herself in – just great scenes, all.

the only thing keeping this from a 5 star cat for me is that i think some things were left too open ended – i wanted a clearer end-story about her mother, and about nick, but maybe this is perfectly intentional, and it is an open call encouragement for people to write fanfic about Fangirl. META!!

and maybe i will even read it….

read my reviews on goodreads

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