Fangirl; Or: [FANGIRLING]

Attachments made me fall in love with Rainbow Rowell, and Fangirl has made me love her even more.

Plus, more amazing fan art!!

(Check out Simini Blocker’s tumblr for more awesome art – Rainbow Rowell-themed and otherwise.)

While Attachments was your standard meet-cute, Fangirl is your standard coming-of-age + blossoming romance. And what I mean by “standard” is simply that Rowell deploys these familiar formats to tell her stories. They are by no means standard issue. Rowell’s individual voice, social awareness, feminism, and creativity put her in a class of her own. What makes these books such a delight is the marriage of Rowell’s unexpected qualities to the expected literary frameworks.

There are books that entertain without ever requiring a single neuron in your higher-order thinking to fire. *cough, Nicholas Sparks, cough* My friends and I call this “calorie free” reading.

There are books that entertain while requiring an enormous intellectual commitment from the reader. Think, all the dead Russians, anything written before 1830, Alice Walker, even a fair amount of Barbara Kingsolver. These are nutrient-dense feasts of reading.

And then there are books that use your whole brain, but feel like calorie-free reading. They’re the literary equivalent of sneakily healthful meals, like hiding cauliflower in your mac and cheese. Rowell excels at this kind of writing. Fangirl feels like a totally guilty pleasure read, but it is smart and incisive and socially aware in a way that true calorie-free reading could never be. It’s the sort of book you can recommend to your niece or younger cousin, knowing that she’ll love it and there won’t be any damaging tropes lying in wait to blow up her blossoming self-confidence.

Rating: Five enthusiastic stars!!


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