I'd seen this book pop up a few places (okay, social media - and by some friends who don't read very much, too). I ended up procuring a copy from the local library, just out of curiosity. Also, it didn't hurt at all that I recognized the art of Gingerhaze on the cover right away, which is really exciting because I love her illustrations (and it's great to see her get work like this!)
What ended up happening was that I fell hard for this YA novel. I am a fan of the genre, but I shy away from it now because I feel like even with really, really good YA, sometimes the authors try too hard - or not hard enough, and maybe that's because I'm more on the adult side and less on the young. This was absolutely not the case with Fangirl. It's always cool when authors meet their audience where they're at, and Rainbow Rowell knows her audience so well probably because she is her audience (and she's also an amazing writer - I shouldn't forget that part).
Okay - so I feel like it's safe for me to say that this is my favorite book that I've read this year. Easily, since we only have about a month left of the year. It impacted me on a personal level, Dude.

Fangirl is about a college freshman named Cath Avery who is an internet famous Yaoi Fan-fiction writer for a faux Harry Potter series, instead called "Simone Snow." But that fame doesn't cushion the blow of starting something as huge as college, and the anxiety and insecurity that entails for some people. Part of the reason this story is so provocative to me is that I had a lot of the same emotional up's and down's during my college years. Actually, it hit me so close to home that I struggled with getting through the story at times.
Cath is also one half of an identical twin named Wren, though Wren is the polar opposite of Cath. While Cath spends much of her first semester hiding out in her dorm, and only eventually, cautiously easing her way out for food and classes (which is frighteningly close to what I did my freshman year - only if I'd lived in the dorms, I'm still convinced it would have killed me, either from starvation or something), Wren wastes no time at all partying it up. There is some friction and concern here, but a lot of emotional depth too. This is typical college-aged drama, but it's actually felt out, which is done in only a way an introvert could write. Cath has a room-mate who she's somewhat terrified of - which is also a little hysterical, because said room-mate Reagan reminds me a lot of my bestie Danielle in a lot of ways. (Daleks would be afraid of Regan/Danielle - and honestly it's always kind of nice for a girl with zero back-bone to have a friend like that) ...And then, there's Raegan's "boyfriend" Levi.... Levi's really nice. Like REALLY nice. Like, Goes-Out-Of-His-Way-to-Be-Nice Nice. But there's also a handsome boy in Cath's Fiction Writing class, so maybe there's something there, right? Did I mention the part where Cath & Wren's single Dad back home is prone to mental break-downs? Fan-fiction, whatever your opinion of it, plays a very small part of the story. It's a lot more than that. And it's nice to have an author who doesn't mishandle fandom and nerdy the way that some do (who feel merely qualified because they are nerds). Rainbow has had some introspection before she wrote all this, I feel, more than other authors do (I'm looking you dead in the eye,  Ernest Cline), and I feel like it really paid off.

I have a million more great things to say about this book, but I don't want to veer too far off the topic, or spoil it for anyone. Still. It's a great book, and since Christmas is coming you should probably buy a million copies to give to your nerdy girl friends, especially if they're college aged (it helps, sometimes, knowing that you aren't the only crazed person out there struggling with personal AND creative crisis')

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