Coming in at number two in the Young Adult category of Goodreads’ Best Books of 2013 (alongside Rowell’s first novel Eleanor & Park), Fangirl is aComing in at number two in the Young Adult category of Goodreads’ Best Books of 2013 (alongside Rowell’s first novel Eleanor & Park), Fangirl is a fantastic coming of age novel about finding your own wings, dealing with family and *finally* telling the world it’s okay to have a OTP.
Fangirl is written for all fans out there, taking me back to a time when reading Buffy fanfiction and living on forums was a daily occurrence. The story follows Cath and Wren during their first year at college, and the ups and downs of settling into a new life. Both struggle for different reasons – Cath is a successful fanfiction writer who is struggling to find her own voice & stories, desperately truing to look after her crazed father and learning ways to deal with new situations whilst Wren is trying to find her own life away from Cat and reconnecting with their mother being back in their life after she abaondoned them.
Throughout the novel we’re given snippets of fanfiction and extracts from the Simon Snow novels which, at first, I found annoying as I wanted more of the real world. However, as time passed you could see Cath’s real life reflecting itself in her writing, emotions being mirrored and it’s clear from Cath and Wren’s joint authoring when they were younger that they were dealing with being abandoned by their mother in their work.
Much like Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell has delivered another character driven novel dealing with real life issues – control, abandonment and mental health are all approached and discussed well in this intelligent piece of work that can stand it’s own alongside authors such as John Green & Lois Lowry.
Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almosSet over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
Rainbow Rowell, author of Eleanor and Park, once published an article praising Stephanie Meyer, of the Twilight series, for being a fantastic writer. Don’t mock – the more you read the article the more that you have to agree, especially as she focuses on Meyer’s ability to write a novel that thousands of people consumed effortlessly, and romantically had people on the edge of their seats wanting more and more. Mock the Twilight franchise all you like, but you can’t deny that Meyer managed to have every reader wrapped round her words from beginning to end.
A talent barely recognised, but understandably noticed by Rowell simply by having the same talent herself – however with one difference. Meyer can write to keep people reading – but it’s no secret that her characters are two-dimensional and should never, especially for young girls, be looked to for a hero. Rowell, however, pens her characters as three-dimensional people that you’ll recognise from your own childhood – teenagers struggling to come to terms with who they are, and the world around them whilst trying to give love a shot.
It’s nice to be able to pick up a novel that contains diversity, from Park being half Korean in a mainly white neighbourhood, to Eleanor being ‘big’ and from a low-income background with an abusive stepfather. The difference between Park’s comfortable lifestyle to Eleanor sharing a room with all her siblings and not being able to take a bath with her stepfather in the house as they have no bathroom door is so eloquently written and sensitively handled.
As for the story, we follow Eleanor and Park overcoming the world around them to be together. The angst in the book is overwhelming, but written in a way that you’re completely behind the characters – from Eleanor’s tragic event in the locker rooms to even Park not being the son his father wants him to be – you’re rooting for them from the get-go and, reading it as an adult, you want to shake them and tell them that things will get better, but you know if you did they still wouldn’t believe you.
Set in 1986 and with a wonderful playlist to accompany it, this is definitely a book to go out and buy and would make the ideal present for any teen, or adult, this Christmas....more