Thank the gods for everyone who ever recommended Rainbow Rowell to me. What a fabulous writer. What beautiful stories.
Fangirl is no exception. In some ways, it was better even than Eleanor & Park, which you know I loved. The thing is, Fangirl speaks specifically to my generation. We are the generation that made midnight book-launch parties cool. We waited in line, in costume, for hours upon hours. Did you know that JKR started writing Harry in 1990, the year I was born? And that she published the last one in 2007, when I was seventeen, when Harry was seventeen?
We are the generation that learned to stay until the end of the movie credits. We’ve seen so many different remakes and reboots of familiar stories that we would laugh at anyone who argued that author-as-context literary criticism is the best lens through which to analyze something. Intertextuality is our life.
We were raised to think feminism was “extremist,” and we became feminists anyway, because we grew up to see through the lies. And we were raised on princesses, and body image issues, and trying to figure out who and what we are and where we fit in the world because existential nihilism isn’t in our DNA.
It feels like Rowell gets it. She has this amazing character, a twin, a writer, someone mature enough to play parent to her mentally unstable dad but whose social anxiety keeps her from going to the campus cafeteria. And she writes fanfiction, based on a story that is essentially the equivalent of my generation’s Harry Potter.
I don’t care that this genre of New Adult has such a crappy name—if every story in it were written like this one, it would be my new favorite. Yes, better even than Young Adult. (Maybe. I guess. Sort of. Okay, it would be like choosing between a puppy and a kitten. They’re both so awesome! Can’t I have both??)
The point is, Fangirl speaks to my generation.
It is beautifully written, and suitable for anyone, of any generation, to read. It is sweet and yearning and honest and real. If you’re of my generation, though, you owe it to yourself to read this book. You SHOULD NOT MISS OUT ON THIS. Seriously. Do yourself a favor.
(It’s like one of my writer friends telling me today that he’s never read Jurassic Park. I just—I can’t even. Who in the hell reads and writes books and hasn’t read Jurassic Park? It’s a fucking classic.)
You should read Fangirl. You can thank me later. (And the audio book production quality is quite fantastic, too, if you’d prefer to do it that way.)