Fangirl

I'm 2094357 years late to the Rainbow Rowell appreciation party, but I finally read Fangirl and - spoiler alert - loved it.

Fangirl tells the story of Cath, a college freshman with a Simon Snow obsession. Simon Snow is basically a Harry Potter-esque series (that I would 100% read if it was real) and Cath is a major fangirl - from the custom posters adorning her walls, to the collective busts of main characters Simon and Baz, to her magnum opus: her fanfiction story, Carry On, Simon

To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.

Cath writes stories about the love between Simon and Baz (who, canonically, are actually enemies) and her fanfiction earns her a huge online following. Unfortunately, the real world (i.e. her fiction writing professor) frequently discourages her from living in her fantasy world, constantly pointing out that "fanfiction isn't real writing" and that she's "too old" to be obsessing over a book series like Simon Snow. As a hardcore Potterhead, I relate to Cath's inability to let Simon go; when she finally gets her hands on the last book in the series and sheds a tear, I'm reminded of my sister handing me Deathly Hallows for the first time and the way I completely lost my head (in the middle of a Parisian train station no less). And even though I've never been as big on fanfiction as other people (I read fanfiction up until Deathly Hallows came out because I need my HP fix), I can understand her desire to spend as much time as possible with these characters who feel more like friends. 

More than that, I can relate to her need to write: to put words on a (digital) page and let her thoughts go free. I don't spend as much time as I'd like writing "for fun" or working on one of my 2398695 barely-started manuscripts, but, like Cath, I know the feeling of hitting that certain point where the words build up inside of you so much you have no choice but to let them out. That's a feeling Rainbow Rowell captures perfectly and is probably one of the reasons why this book resonates so much with fangirl-y writers like me: she just gets us.

Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity.

Of course, the big difference between my nerdy life and Cath's is that she has a boy. Levi, her roommate's ex-boyfriend, is adorable and sweet and, even if he's "not much of a reader", he understands that books - more importantly, Simon Snow books - are a huge part of Cath's life, something he can never take away from her. I like that he's so accepting of her quirks and never once tries to tell her to "grow up", choosing instead to indulge her. And their relationship is adorable, but I won't spoil it for you - just go read it already!

Also, props to Rainbow Rowell for getting me hooked on the Carry On snippets such that I now want to read the actual book