44. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I adored this book so much. It is rare that I read a book where I love the story and characters so much that I can’t stop thinking about them even after I’m done with the book. I’m pretty sure the last book I felt that way about was Pamela Ribon’s You Take It From Here, which I read almost a year ago. I was supposed to be getting ready for a party I was hosting, but couldn’t put this book down.
The story revolves around Cath who is an ill-at-east freshman in college. During high school she and her twin sister Wren were close and shared a love of the Simon Snow books (a takeoff on the Harry Potter series), so much so that Cath started writing fan fiction along with Wren’s help that has become super popular. Now that they are headed off to college Wren wants to leave that world behind and branch out to new experiences refusing to be Cath’s roommate. Now Cath is stuck navigating this new world on her own with a roommate she thinks doesn’t like her. Meanwhile she is worried about her mentally ill father living on his own now that she and her sister are gone and distressed that her long absent mother has shown up out of the blue wanting to rekindle a relationship.
Cath can sometimes be a hard character to like because you just want to shake her and tell her to snap out of it, but she obviously has some real anxiety issues that probably stem from a combination of her mother leaving and her father’s genetics. It’s easy to think she is being ridiculous, but for someone with a real anxiety disorder her behavior would not necessarily be out of the ordinary. I definitely don’t suffer from anything nearly as severe as Cath, but I love when she describes why she doesn’t want to go to the dining hall. The anxiety that stems from not knowing where things are, how they work, what is going to happen when she gets there, etc. These are the kinds of things I stress over whenever I have to go into a new and unfamiliar situation. Unlike Cath I’m able to force myself to go with only a little bit of effort, but I definitely still feel those same anxieties.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough, and if you haven’t read it yet you should also read Rowell’s previous novel Eleanor and Park. I give it a 9 out of 10.