Are you a Rainbow Rowell fangirl? If not, why not? Can it be that no matter how much I rave about her, you've yet to read her novels? Well, that's just plain silly. Here's another chance for you, though, because Fangirl has been released.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
(St. Martin's Press, also Listening Library, 2013)
Formats: I read a borrowed galley a while ago, but today I listened to the audio from Audible (narrated by Rebecca Lowman with Maxwell Caulfield)
Seriously. It's not just cause she's funny and friendly and great to stalk on Twitter that I slaver over her - Rowell is a stellar stylist, and she creates characters and stories that resonate through so many levels of my soul. (Doesn't your soul have levels?)
So, Cath and her twin Wren are headed off to their first year at college, which means not only living away from home, but away from each other. Wren has decided it's time for some independence, leaving Cath with only a taciturn roommate and the roommate's eternally cheerful boyfriend Levi for company. Well, them, and the entire Internet - Cath writes fanfic for the Simon Snow series (think Potter, but these magicians don't wear pointed hats even on formal occasions.) But Cath's devoted fan base can't help her navigate the strangeness of campus life or advise her about how to handle her twin's increasing distance from her life.
Then there's Levi, who I want to meet, so I can see if his hair really is as extraordinary and absurd as Cath says it is. Also I'd like him to make me his special secret-recipe drink at Starbucks. (None of that eggnog latte, though, ick.) Also I want to see him smile.
But back to Rowell's writing. Obviously I was in tears, both when I originally read it and again today, listening. There are moments between Cath and her father, Cath and her twin, and Cath and Levi that simply drill deep into my heart. Beyond the emotional precision, and did I mention the humor?, there are moments with language that bring me joy. (When Cath mildly tears apart another writing student for his cliche dandelion-puff scene, I grinned, but when Cath's internal monologue later uses dandelion-puff in a wholly original and compelling way, I had to pause the book to do a little happy dance.)
This is an excellent choice in audio. Caulfield's narration of the Snow / fanfic scenes is charming, and Lowman can pause so perfectly in the middle of dialogue, it brings each character to life. She felt fully as much in love with this novel as I was, and made a wonderful voice for Cath.
Read it, or listen to it, but just do your best to find this book and make it yours.