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Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL was first released for young adult readers in 2013. In the fast-moving young adult genre, that is a lifetime ago. When finishing Fangirl for a third time to celebrate its paperback release, I could not help but realize all that FANGIRL still means to me. I must write both a review and a love letter to this story. I first read FANGIRL about a month after its release five years ago and could not get enough of it. At that point, I was relatively new to YA, and I even re-read it a few months later, which was also uncharacteristic of my reading at the time. FANGIRL is unique because it only becomes more relatable as I get older and never loses its appeal and relatability. I related to Cath, Levi, and Regan just as much as at age twelve as at age seventeen just in different ways.

"FANGIRL is unique because it only becomes more relatable as I get older and never loses its appeal and relatability."

Cath’s story centers on her obsession with the Harry Potter of her world: Simon Snow. It is hard for me to believe this, but I read FANGIRL before I read Harry Potter for the first time. Because Cath’s fanfiction is full of Harry Potter parallels and makes up a considerable amount of the page count, I was able to enjoy FANGIRL more knowing many of the references to Harry Potter. While I don’t think Cath is a perfect character, she’s bound to frustrate readers at times, she is the ultimate relatable college freshman to many readers like me. She makes me want to get out of my own shell when I get to college next year. Even though I have never written fanfiction in my life, Cath and Simon Snow make me want to. One of my absolute favorite characters in this story is Regan because her humor is the complete opposite of Cath in every way. I appreciate how Rainbow Rowell tackles family and romantic relationship dynamics, and even though FANGIRL is an incredibly long contemporary novel, I cannot get enough of it.

Since the release of FANGIRL, Rainbow Rowell has published a spin-off series featuring Cath’s fanfiction, CARRY ON. The sequel to CARRY ON, WAYWARD SON, is scheduled to release in 2020. While I have been waiting for the right time to read CARRY ON, I think it is finally time for me to do so because FANGIRL is fresh in my mind, and I still adore it like I did the first (and second) time I read it. FANGIRL continues to be relevant in the YA genre.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on November 22, 2018

by Rainbow Rowell