There is a lot going on in Fangirl (as there usually is in life) and no single issue that we can label as THE PROBLEM that this book is going to resolve, because that's not how things work in life (at least, not in my life!). There are a multitude of road blocks, flaws, and mistakes that all take turns being THE PROBLEM throughout the book. Sometimes all Cath can think about is whether or not her dad is on the brink of a mental collapse, panicking that her sister is talking to their absent mother, agonizing over the embarrassment of criticism from a professor or figuring out where you stand with the boy you like (but let's agree: THE PROBLEM is mostly what's going to happen to Simon and Baz next). Life is revolving set of problems and I appreciated Rowell's recognition of this, and that while change and improvement takes place gradually over the course of the book, pretty much nothing is fully RESOLVED. The characters felt realistic to me (they even take bathroom breaks!), so much that even though I went to school far far from Nebraska, I could picture them all on my Alma mater's campus.
Cath and I would definitely be friends (did all readers feel this way? Probably.). We'd be hanging out in our dorm room on Friday nights, having spontaneous emergency dance parties, and spending much too much time treating fictional characters as if they are real people (this sentence is itself an example of what I mean). Being a devoted member of a fandom is usually something I only share with my close friends (who already love and accept me). It's always a little bit of a thrill to find someone else who knows what fanfiction is (I've had to explain it so many times, and never as well as Cath does to Levi). AU, OTP, OOC, slash and shipping are foreign terms to most of my friends. I don't know why reading fanfiction is so embarrassing (okay, I do know why: it's because most of it is poorly written literary porn, but that only makes it more exciting to find a good author) but it makes perfect sense for anyone who has ever felt strongly about a book; why would I want to leave that world? And if the story didn't end the way I wanted it to, then here is the perfect way to explore and re-explore the way things might have been. Fanfiction readers unite!
|From Simini Blocker's profile on Behance.net|
And if I was friends with Cath, she might be able to introduce me to one of Levi's friends... who could be exactly like Levi, please. Levi isn't perfect- he wouldn't turn heads on the street and he's got some boundary issues with those protein bars. He's human and believable and he panics and says stupid things after a kiss. And yet he's more than human, or at least, he's the best kind of human. I am so drawn to his endless generosity, his delight in being there for other people and making them happy. There are a lot of authors who think that physical attractiveness or eternal youth is enough to make someone a worthwhile life partner, or who think that kindness is more valuable when it's rare. And sure, we all like a bad boy who is only vulnerable for us, but as I was reading Levi's character, I felt there was something more beautiful and desirable in a man whose goodness is apparent and available to all, and that someone so universally good would choose me to be around.
General warm feelings, Rowell, that is what you have given me with Fangirl! And I'm not ashamed to say I've already scoped out what fanficiton is available for this book.
So what do you think? Are you fanfiction readers (if so- recommendations for good writers, please!)? Did you identify with Cath? What's on your emergency dance playlist? I hope to hear from you!
The New Best Friend Badge
The I’d Marry You If You Were Real Badge
The Good Writing Badge