Rainbow Rowell is an American young-adult writer. Her first novel, Attachments, was published in 2011. Rowell has since then authored four books around the theme of romance, including a book series known as The Simon Snow Trilogy. Fiction is Rowell’s forte and her works especially stand out for their quirky characters.

Fangirl is one of Rowell’s most popular books among young readers. Published in 2013, it became an instant bestseller.


Fangirl is based in the modern setting of 2011 and follows one Cath Avery, who is the twin sister of Wren Avery. The story is about Cath’s journey as she and her sister step into college life. Wren wishes to live her life detached from Cath, the two sisters having been completely inseparable up to that point. Being an introvert, Cath finds herself resisting this change.

As someone who prefers books over human company, Cath likes to spend her time writing fan-fictions, not socializing. As a direct consequence of losing her only friend on campus, Cath ends up meeting new people and eventually learns to find love outside of her novels.


This book is perfect for a light, Sunday read. The stakes aren’t too high to make the readers anxious, yet the outcome after every obstacle has satisfactory feel to it.

Cath, the protagonist, acts like a typical book nerd, which makes her character quite relatable. The new people Cath encounters are interesting and do not feel forced. For instance, Cath has a boyfriend, who is hardly mentioned, which goes to show how important he actually is in Cath’s life. In fact, Rowell’s storytelling skills are at their majestic best at certain points in the story.

The story comes to life when Cath meets a boy and they bond over fiction-writing. Throughout the book, Cath struggles between real writing and fan-fiction writing – a unique position never portrayed before in a book, at least not one we are aware of. Rowell has brilliantly portrayed the family dynamics involving Cath, her sister and their father without going overboard. These tiny, seemingly insignificant details are what make Fangirl such a delightful read.


Despite the apparently faultless writing, the book does have its sour spots, the biggest being the constant mention of Simon and Baz from Rowell’s own Simon Snow Trilogy. Expecting readers to have any clue about the characters seems uncalled for since Rowell herself was an emerging writer at the time.

The title of the book is also misleading. Going by the term fangirl, one would assume the story to be centered around the complexities of navigating fandom and its impact on the life outside of it. Instead, all we get are a few mentions of fan-fiction here and there. This actually feels a lot like a fictional autobiography wherein Rowell has taken her own life and passions and modeled a protagonist around them. Some readers may find this rather distasteful.


“Since there isn’t a tree,” their dad said, “I put your presents under this photo of standing next to a Christmas tree in 2005. Do you know that we don’t even have any houseplants? There’s nothing alive in this house but us.”


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In conclusion, Fangirl is meant for those readers who relish reading a feel-good book with little-to-no drama. We do not, however, recommend this book to people who enjoy high-octane fiction with plenty of theatrics.

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