Cath and her twin sister Wren are headed to college and, for the first time, won’t be sharing a room. Cath, in her dorm room with an intimidating roommate, retreats to her online world where she’s one of the most well-known authors of Simon Snow fanfiction. Everyone loves Simon Snow and that world of magic, and Cath is like a whole different person when she’s writing her stories. She becomes so immersed in the fictional world that she ends up missing a lot of what’s going on around her in reality.
Okay, let’s be honest. Simon Snow? All I kept seeing was “Harry Potter” and that was mostly the main aspect that kept me hooked. Yes, the Simon Snow stories are very similar to the Potter ones, and I don’t doubt for a second that it’s an homage to that literary world but I really couldn’t get into the story until I replaced “Simon and Basil” with “Harry and Draco”. I was introduced to the world of fanfiction myself with Harry Potter fanfic and that aspect of Fangirl definitely brought back some nostalgia for me.
I liked the take on parental figures in this story. So often there are novels that have a single mom with a deadbeat dad, and this was actually a refreshing change to see the opposite. A single father with an absent mother. The dynamic between the twin sisters and their sometimes-lost-in-his-work father was a really interesting one to explore. I enjoyed that certain characters that I had preconceptions about ended up surprising me, loving that Rowell didn’t play into character clichés.
Told in narratives varying from Cath’s point of view to excerpts from the real Simon Snow books to excerpts from Cath’s fanfiction, it gives an interesting method of storytelling to give further context on the world that Rowell has built. Fangirl is a cute contemporary read, great for fans of.. well.. anything! If you’ve ever been completely consumed by your favourite book or movie, you’ll probably be able to relate to the characters in this novel.