Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell (2013)

Genre: Romance
Interest Level: 16-21
FangirlCath and her twin sister Wren are off to college in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cath is still reeling from her sister’s decision to share a dorm with someone else. For the first time in her life, they won’t be sharing a room. Wren leaps into college life with all her energy – she makes friends, hits the pubs, and even chops off her hair. She is reinventing herself, without Cath. How can they share the same DNA? Cath keeps to herself from day one, avoiding her roommate, avoiding everyone actually. She doesn’t know where the dining hall is, and is too ashamed to ask, so she lives on protein bars. Her only bright spot is her fanfiction writing – she and Wren are hardcore Simon Snow fans (think Harry Potter), and Cath has developed a sizeable online following with her fractured version of the magical world. Rowell (author of Eleanor & Park, on my holds list), has stormed onto the young adult scene, and deserves every inch of her well-earned reputation. I loved this story, especially the central characters (Cath and Wren, their dad, their roommates Reagan and Courtney, plus Levi, Nick, Jandro and others. Even the Simon Snow characters are well-developed! Cath’s character rings so true, I keep wondering where she is. Rowell’s dialogue is spot on, and she nails the trepidation and even dread of the first-year college experience. I work with first-year students, and see them making the same poor decisions Cath and Wren make, and watch as they resist facing consequences until they have no choice. It’s a romance, so the appeal may be limited, but do give it a try. You’ll enjoy watching Cath stumble and then finally take steps, tentative ones, toward a future that is all her own.

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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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