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Fangirl: The Manga #1

Fangirl, Vol. 1: The Manga

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The manga adaptation of the beloved novel by #1 Bestselling author Rainbow Rowell!
New York Journal of Books

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, everybody is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life. Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath just can't let go. Now that they’re in college, Cath must decide if she’s ready to start living her own life. But does she even want to if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Cath doesn’t need friends IRL. She has her twin sister, Wren, and she’s a popular fanfic writer in the Simon Snow community with thousands of fans online.  But now that she’s in college, Cath is completely outside of her comfort zone. There are suddenly all these new people in her life. She's got a surly roommate with a charming boyfriend, a writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome new writing partner ... And she's barely heard from Wren all semester!

216 pages, Paperback

First published October 13, 2020

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About the author

Sam Maggs

125 books942 followers
SAM MAGGS is a bestselling writer of books, comics, and video games, including Marvel Action: Captain Marvel, The Unstoppable Wasp: Built on Hope, Tell No Tales, Con Quest!, and Marvel's Spider-Man PS4. A Canadian in Los Angeles, she misses Coffee Crisp and bagged milk. Visit her online at sammaggs.com or @SamMaggs!

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5 stars
6,392 (45%)
4 stars
5,120 (36%)
3 stars
2,001 (14%)
2 stars
387 (2%)
1 star
150 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,415 reviews
Profile Image for Warda.
1,152 reviews18.3k followers
Want to read
April 5, 2020
I gasped.
Literally did not know I needed this!

And it’s the first instalment out of 4 that we’re getting?!! I’m so emotional!
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
929 reviews3,017 followers
October 10, 2021
Screaming internally because this was way better than the book and I want my own Levi now (manga one) again, please and thank you.♥️
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
February 1, 2021
To be honest, the optics of this (the work of a white author who has been accused of racism against Asian people in prior works and by and large refused to take accountability for that having her work turned into a manga, which then is overrepresented in awards for that category that year) are, well...the worst.

Regardless of my soft spot for Fangirl (large) or the fact that I may have thought this was cute (sometimes), I'm feeling very icky that this is the first manga I've ever read.

Please feel free to keep leaving recommendations for newbies to the genre in the comments.

Sorry! I regret this!


i'm feeling pretty icky that this is the first manga i've ever read...

so if you have recommendations for me, please give them to me!!

2 stars

currently-reading updates

sometimes you have to make decisions even as you regret them in real time
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,228 reviews26.6k followers
December 26, 2020
Decided to treat myself on Christmas and finally read this book and... akshdjskak I loved it. This book makes me want to reread the book Fangirl all over again. I’m a HUGE lover of Fangirl, I’ve read it three times, and Cath is easily one of my most relatable characters of all time. With that being said, I do feel like this reads better as a novel, because you really get more into Caths head with her in her thoughts. But I would highly recommend this manga if you are already familiar with the story of Fangirl. I don’t think I’d recommend this if you haven’t read the book Fangirl yet. But damn I loved it. Also I didn’t think Caths Dad would be so young and attractive??? The fuck is that about? Haha. They also drew Levi in a really attractive golden boy way that I wasn’t expecting?? But I love it..? Can’t wait to read the next volume of this!

I made a whole video dedicated to talking about why I love Fangirl so much, you can see it here: https://youtu.be/fcLLwT2fIxs
Profile Image for Nat.
553 reviews3,176 followers
September 30, 2021

I'm going to start with an alarming statement: This adaptation was making me hate my all-time favorite book. Prepare for an epic Battle of the Books in this review of Fangirl VS Fangirl, vol. 1.


Nothing might top the excitement I felt before opening this illustrated adaptation of my favorite book. Maybe having a movie adaptation. This is the closest I might get to that wish. I thought it was going to be like having fanart of all my favorite scenes. I mean, I have two reviews up on my blog where I talk all about my love for these characters: Why I Fangirl over Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (Spoilers: Levi) & Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. And even more reviews of Rowell's other books. Landline was a recent favorite for all the introverts seeking love.

Of course, I couldn’t tame the temptation of starting this book even though I was a week before an important exam… This perfectly mirrors my experience of reading Fangirl back in January 2014 for the first time, also known as the night before my math exam. I started the book before going to bed thinking it would help calm my nerves before the exam and help me fall asleep… Oh, I had to force myself to part from this book at 2am - not because I was tired (Fangirl made me feel alive) but because I couldn’t possibly think straight if I didn’t go to sleep right then and there. It's funny the way life circles back to you.

I remember my thoughts at school that day, after reading Fangirl into the night, centered entirely on Levi. I had never before expended such intense emotions for a book. I missed being away from these characters. Is that love?

I felt like talking about Fangirl to anyone willing to listen like these characters were real people I knew. I had to hold myself back from letting all my thoughts spillover. What an experience… It's what made me start looking for more books to read instead of browsing for new popular Wattpad stories (fans of The Cellphone Swap hit me up*).

I can't put into words all that Fangirl got me through. It was my first physical copy of a book I loved. When I'd get bored with whatever library book I was reading Fangirl would be the book I would reach for. Anytime I was sad or anxious, I would flip to a page in Fangirl to cheer me up. Anytime an important event happens in my life I hear quotes from the book in my head mirroring my thoughts. Like when starting something new and hearing Cath’s “In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)” Y'know, the best of lines.

Bottom line: This book means the world to me.

I thought I was being patient by taking my time with this adaptation instead of devouring it in one sitting. I even wrote in my notes: me being able to actually put the book aside to sleep before an important day? You know what that is growth.

I was even glad for my patience because I needed the comfort of this world after the monstrosity of that exam. In hindsight, it wasn't patience so much as avoidance of the impending disappointment that was slowly creeping up the more I read on.

It started out fine enough at first with the initial excitement still shaping my reading experience. I was just so grateful to be back in a world I so love and cherish with new insight. Then came the first few moments of doubt creeping in with thoughts like, "Huh, why did they change that?" "Huh, why did they leave that out?" I pushed it aside thinking it was just the first few pages getting used to this storytelling. The more it happened the heavier my disappointment. In some cases having lines omitted was a big no-no. Her waking up in a new place voiced one of the most iconic lines. Why get rid of it? At one point, I started numbering each disappointment so it would be easier to find for my final review. I took endless notes. I stopped enjoying the storyline and was more focused on what next iconic line would be reduced. My only hope was to reach my favorite scene with Levi, aka reading The Outsiders.

Narrator: And that's when she realized this is the first installment out of four and what if it ends before the best of scenes appears and she would have to wait who knows how many months more. Despair set in.

Spoiler: I hate that I skipped ahead. To my disappointment, the narrator was right. This installment ends right when things were supposed to pick up in the storyline.

I remember being utterly shocked at my realization that I was actually not enjoying this book. At all. And that's why I wasn't devouring it in one sitting. How was it that deep inside I knew (aka my avoidance) but it took a full day for my head to catch up? Freud was right all along. I never even considered myself being unhappy with this book as an option. It was either love or super love. Oh, youth.

Throughout my reading experience, I kept feeling like this manga was just here to complete a deadline because it took all the best lines from the book and put them on paper and c'est tout - nothing is happening on the page to bring the words alive. We already read the storyline once. The words existed before this point. This book can’t depend on the words moving us. So the art should be here as a distraction from the words. Make me feel the storyline through art so that we don’t depend on the words to move the story along. We already know what happens.

Also, it made it extremely hard to empathize with Cath in here when all her inner dialogue is essentially gone and we're only left with what she says to others, which can come across as quite aloof and rude. Like Levi put it in the original book: “I can see why you and Reagan hit it off.” He got up to follow her. “You can both be extremely brusque sometimes.”

He's right that other people might perceive her that way, but in Fangirl when you read her inner monologue, you can empathize with her actions. This is not the case in this manga adaptation when the majority of her inner monologue is wiped away.

Me agreeing with Wren? Unheard of. Until now. This scene might've legit unleashed my wrath. It triggered my flight or fight response.

In the book, you can see Cath feeling overwhelmed before this scene by all the new territory and the accompanying intense fear and anxiety she's experiencing. You get inside her head. Here you just get this scene where her sister is trying to include her and Cath's like, "Thanks, but no thanks." Give us some character building so we're on Cath's side here. You can't just dump it on us and expect to side with her. And one page of seeing her lonely isn't going to cut it. We need to get inside her head.

Case in point of info dump #1:

So much T E X T.

I was supposed to get all the feels when seeing Levi... Instead, I was perplexed by the choice of art wherein Abel looks more like Levi than Levi does. I mean, let me ask the audience:

THAT'S ABEL?? He literally looks like Levi on the cover art of Fangirl...

I mean even her dad looks more like Levi than Levi does in this adaptation...

I am confusion.

Levi looks more like Gansey from The Raven Cycle with this golden prep boy aesthetic. Let's all recall that he's supposed to be a cute farmer boy in green Carhartt.

I guess my main disappointment in this volume stems from the art - not the style but the fact that it doesn’t add anything to the storyline. It's like when the choreography to a song is about what the lyrics are literally saying, instead of moving your body to the feel of the song so that the audience can feel it too. I want to be moved by the words through art and not have the art transcribe the text. This is especially seen in the above info dump #1.

Shouldn't that be the whole point of adapting a book that already exists into comic book format or manga? To re-experience the story through the art so that it feels like reading it for the first time. This is not that. These characters don’t move. There’s no life in them. I can’t imagine them talking when I close the book, you know? In the best of books, you can imagine the characters moving outside the storyline. That’s what fanfiction is about when the world is so alive you can imagine any scenario with your faves. This is what it felt like in the original book. It works so well in the original because the inner dialogue is so integral to the story.

This adaptation was making me hate my all-time favorite book. Dangerous territory for me because sir, those are my emotional support characters.

I feel like Cath when Reagan is critiquing her poster: “leave them alone, they’re in love.” They took the best parts of the book and barely gave it the time of day it deserved. All the best moments are either left out or just done poorly. I wanted this adaptation to feel like when I see fanart of my favorite scenes: Alive. I left grossly let down. And you can see I wrote this whole thesis to let it all out.

The only thing that benefited from this manga style was the Baz and Simon storyline, which is all too easy to skip over in the original book, but really fit in with this format. Maybe that's because in Fangirl they appear so stiff and formal that this book could only benefit them.

I have this tiny sliver of hope that the next volume will pick up in speed and align the art more with the feel of the book. Also, I hope it features my favorite reading scene... All that's keeping me afloat right now.

I guess this is why some things are better left imagined in your head rather than see it executed poorly. This is why we can't have good things.

Read my reviews of the original book instead to get a good laugh and a feel for how good this was supposed to be: Why I Fangirl over Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (Spoilers: Levi) & Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

I have no other words left, only this line from vine which says it all: Fuck your chicken strips.

Support this thesis of a review by checking this book or its rival through Amazon preview:

*Fans of the story until Chapter 18 iLike Him because Tallon turns into a stranger real quick from teasing and joyful to brooding and low-key annoying.

Previously on Bookspoils:
I'LL TAKE IT!!! This is all I've been shouting for since 2013. While waiting for this volume to come out, you can read my extensive ravings for Fangirl here:
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,187 followers
July 25, 2022
5 stars!

Fangirl is one of my all time favorite books ever, I reread it all the time. I was hesitant about a manga adaptation because while I read graphic novels I am not a big fan of manga, but this was done so well! And it makes more sense in this format than a comic because this way more can be included. It was fun to revisit old characters and see them come to life on the page. All the best parts were included! I will say, not a fan of a two year gap in release dates between the first and second volumes, it makes me worried how long we will have to wait for all four to be released…
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
682 reviews245 followers
October 6, 2020
Fangirl, Vol. 1 -in my opinion- is even more enjoyable than the book. There’s something about this story that fits the manga / graphic novel formatting so well! The character dynamics and vaguely rom-com esque plot makes for some great visuals.
I’ll definitely be looking out for the next volumes in the future.

~★~ What is this manga about? ~★~

Fangirl follows Cath, a soon-to-be college student with a love for writing fanfiction. When the time comes for Cath to move into her dorm, she discovers that making friends in person is harder than expected. Her roommate’s boyfriend sticks around the dorm a lot, leading Cath to strike up an unlikely friendship with him. One that brings complications.


Being familiar with the novel, there isn’t much I have to say based on Fangirl’s premise. The manga does a great job staying faithful to the original source, though!

Gabi Nam does a wonderful job adapting the characters so many have come to love! I really enjoyed the way Wren and Levi were depicted in particular. This was an overall fun, easy read, and great for anyone in need of a good time.
Profile Image for human.
640 reviews987 followers
January 20, 2021
I actually really enjoyed this manga version of the story far more than when I read the book itself.

The storyline was already cute, but I think the illustrations made it much better.

That being said, with scenes like:

and Snowbaz content and art, what's not to love?
Profile Image for Christy.
3,808 reviews32.3k followers
February 16, 2022
4 stars

I really enjoyed this one. I can’t wait until the second installment comes out!
Profile Image for Avani ✨.
1,583 reviews326 followers
October 12, 2021
Loved it so far !!! Need new volumes like right now !!!
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,655 reviews5,126 followers
August 28, 2020
It's been a while since I read Fangirl, but when I saw this manga adaptation up on NetGalley, I had to check it out. It was the kind of book I've wanted to re-read but been hesitant to do so because I was worried it wouldn't live up to my memory, and I figured a manga was a good way to re-read it without too much commitment. Thankfully, I actually think I like this storyline even better in manga format! Levi's cuteness comes across really well in the art and his expressions, and I feel like there's less of the initial snooty attitude from Reagan - she doesn't really come across as rude in this manga like I remember her being in the novel, just a bit aloof.

Anyways, the art is cute as can be, and I really enjoyed the beginning to this adaptation! I'm excited to read the other volumes when they come out.

Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Lia Strange.
457 reviews198 followers
August 27, 2021
que belleza de manga, ya recuerdo porque estaba tan enamorada de Levi, les juro que es hermoso y yo sin leerlo porque "ya me leí el libro, de que me cambia?" la estúpida me dicen porque ver a Levi dibujado me dio mil años de vida
Profile Image for Charlotte.
33 reviews
September 18, 2020

I read Fangirl when I was 14 now at 20 I’m falling in love all over again! Such a wonderful adaptation. The only negative is I have to wait for the next instalment.

ARC provided through NetGalley for an honest review.
Profile Image for Erica ♋️✨.
477 reviews77 followers
May 27, 2022
This was so worth the read 🥰 i loved it so much!!! I can’t wait for volume 2

*now i am going to reread carry on byeeeee!!!!

I had to reread this to prepare myself for volume 2 that is coming out next month and I have to say I loved this even more the second time
Profile Image for chaity.
164 reviews345 followers
December 27, 2021
4.5 stars

Feeling super nostalgic. These are some of my favourite fictional characters of all time.
Profile Image for Fernwehwelten.
320 reviews204 followers
March 31, 2022
War mein erster Manga seit Ewigkeiten. Fand ihn
ganz süß für zwischendurch, mochte auch die
Zeichnungen, glaube aber, dass es für mich einfach
etwas zu oberflächlich blieb. Konnte mich nicht so
reinfallen lassen persönlich und die Geschichte nicht
so fühlen. Aber trotzdem war's ein netter Read!
Profile Image for Prabhjot Kaur.
1,046 reviews148 followers
September 8, 2021
I love the original Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell so obviously I was looking forward to reading the Manga adaptation. As soon as I started reading this, all my excitement started to deflate. It lacked the charm of the original Fangirl for me. In one word - underwhelming.

I didn't like the art especially the way Levi is portrayed, he looks nothing like the Levi from the book. The way story is told is about average. Cath's monologue is pretty much missing. And this manga doesn't cover the whole story, I found out at the end of it that there are going to be more issues of the manga. I mean if there are going to be multiple issues, they could have included Cath's inner struggles and monologues. That was a crucial part of the original book.

Below average.

2.75 stars
Profile Image for Emma.
910 reviews869 followers
September 3, 2020
The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't know how much I needed this, really! I loved Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, the novel this manga is based on, and I'm so happy to say I loved this manga volume just as much! I believe it was a great transposition and I found in it all the enjoyable elements I remember liking in the novel. It was so nice to read about Cath in this new format. I'm really looking forward to reading the next volume!
Profile Image for Nana .
1,201 reviews36 followers
November 8, 2020
Fangirl es uno de mis libros favoritos y ahora leerlo de nuevo pero en formato manga ha sido enamorarme de nuevo.



Quiero mas... No puedo esperar a leer los próximos volúmenes de esto.
Profile Image for Jos.
475 reviews68 followers
July 30, 2021
Increíble adaptación de la primera parte de la novela, es muy fiel al libro y me transmite las mismas emociones que cuando leí la historia original.

Me enamoré nuevamente de los personajes y una vez más me sentí identificada con Cath, por no mencionar el amor que es Levi, ya quiero leer los demás volúmenes para ver cómo adaptaron varias de mis escenas favoritas.
Profile Image for Valentina Galarza.
128 reviews54 followers
March 9, 2021
Tengo recuerdos muy vagos del libro, pasaron seis años desde que lo leí y me había gustado... "hasta ahí". Era lindo pero monótono, simple y realista. No me llegó tanto como Carry On después.
Aunque la historia es la misma, el formato de manga la hace muuucho más llevadera y estoy ENAMORADA de las ilustraciones omg. Todos los personajes son súper bonitos, me encanta.

¿PODEMOS HABLAR DE SIMON, BAZ Y LEVI? Me hacen muy feliz 💚
Profile Image for lobelyys.
367 reviews58 followers
July 14, 2022
i gotta be real here, after years since i’ve read the book, and other years since the reading of this graphic novel, i’ve decided to pick it up for a reread, since the second came out, and i’m really disappointed. i couldn’t stand no one in this book. cath was borderline annoying (like… girl i never went to college but i would never think to give my professor a fanfiction… like uhhhh?), the sister was 10 times worse, the roommate… she kinda annoyed me for being sooo judgy. meanwhile levi,,, idk chill out, too much happiness

the art is cute at least.

i don’t want to give this two stars… but bruh, it’s close to that. honestly if i reread the book, that would have been it’s rating

(REVIEW FROM DECEMBER 02 2020 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️) this was so good. a good recollection of fangirl, i wanted to reread it, but thankfully this was a good way to get back on it. obviously this isn't the full novel, just the 1/4 of the book. but the graphic is amazing and it's following the novel pretty well (imo). so get your hands on it!!
Profile Image for Renata.
428 reviews279 followers
December 3, 2020
I forgot how nice was this book and the graphic novel brought back all the memories. I loved the art, it was literally so beautiful.

Ah and it’s not really a manga though since you read it as a graphic novel :)
Profile Image for Nicolo.
2,104 reviews127 followers
February 15, 2021
It is a pretty good adaptation of a young adult novel that the transformation is complete. There's barely trace of it as a prose work. It can stand by itself as a manga.

That said, the characters are well developed, that time was taken for them to be fully immersed in the story, which having been adapted from an extant novel, served it well. It was a pretty good read, though the set-up took up half the space of the first volume, future readers could probably expect the narrative to move faster once the second volume arrives.

All in all, 3.5-3.75 stars.
Profile Image for Mara.
160 reviews223 followers
November 7, 2020
I’m a huge fan of Nam’s art (and the reason why I got this in the first place) but the story hasn’t aged well at all. “fangirl” was the first book I read where the protagonist had similar experiences I had (which Nam translated onto the page wonderfully) but in retrospect I have to acknowledge that the original writer isn’t one I want to support further. Also note that this is incredibly short and falls flat on narrative structure, which I fully attribute to Maggs’ lackluster adapting.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Fiverrr.
400 reviews163 followers
July 21, 2021
Estuvo muy hermoso!!! . Con este libro, recordé cuan poco soportaba a Wren, insoportable la chica. N0 puedo esperar para leer el tomo 2. Super recomendado.

Profile Image for melhara.
1,272 reviews57 followers
November 24, 2020
I've never actually read the Fangirl novel by Rainbow Rowell but am always down to read manga, especially if it's nominated for a GR Choice Awards.

First of all, I loved it. I love the manga style, the artwork, the pacing, the flow, and the expressive facial expressions that perfectly encompasses Cath's awkwardness and Levi's silliness. Levi is just such a sweet, goofy, and loveable character! I also loved seeing the Simon and Baz "fan art."

I'm just going to go ahead and say that this was a fantastic adaptation even though I've never read the original novel.
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