People born in the early 90s like me grew up in what I sometimes call the Harry Potter generation. For me personally, when the Harry Potter books were coming out in the US, I was the same age as Harry. I remember buying my first Harry Potter book at a Scholastic Book Fair in elementary school, and I was a senior in high school by the time Harry dealt with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and finished with Hogwarts. For many of my peers, Harry Potter had a huge impact in our lives.
Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl taps into that impact. In the book, Cath, a fan fiction writer, deals with going off to college without the support of her sister. She is obsessed with Simon Snow ~ who is a really obvious Harry Potter expy. Through the novel, she deals with changes in her life, like being separated socially from her sister Wren, her father’s mental illness, and her own anxiety. All the while, she questions whether fan-fiction and studying fiction-writing can mix, which is her way of essentially questioning her validity as a person. She comes to accept herself more as she falls in love.
I won’t spoil it for you, because I really think you should read this. Just like in Rowell’s phenomenal Eleanor & Park, the the most stupendous thing about this book is the characters. They feel so amazingly real. They are flawed, scarred, likable, and sincere. Second to this—barely—is Rowell’s breezy, readable prose. I zoomed right through this book and wanted more.
So if you remember growing up on Harry Potter, and you want a taste of Rowell’s wonderful, three-dimensional characters—you should read Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. You won’t be disappointed.