I have always felt a lacking in every coming-of-age novel: the story starts from a low foundation then begins to climb until it reaches a climatic peak after which the book hits a low and then ends with the loose ends all tied up like a bow. However, in most cases, when you're actually coming-of-age in the real world, there are no real highs or big falls; it's just a steady road with bumps and pitfalls here and there. Rainbow Rowell manages to make that steady journey interesting, amusing and just all out entertaining in her book, “Fangirl”.
When socially awkward college freshman, Cath Avery's identical twin Wren refuses to be her roommate in college, Cath is devastated in every sense of the word. Unlike Cath, Wren is socially adept which leaves Cath in the rough spot on her own. However, her socially inept nature isn't all there is to Cath. Cath is a Simon Snow (a fictional book series loosely based on Harry Potter) fangirl. She even writes Simon Snow fanfiction. In fact, Simon Snow plays an important enough part to have various excerpts from his books all throughout “Fangirl”.
The book highlights Cath's incapability and unwillingness to socialise. It also highlights all the characters and their flaws in the story, including the male protagonist, who, instead of being a chiselled chested bad boy, is an ordinary guy with his own little quirks.
The novel is packed with Rowell's fresh humour and witty dialogues. It serves as an honest portrayal of crossing that bridge between teenage and adulthood; not having friends and making friends; and even the bridge between fanfiction and fiction. The book does have its heavy moments with some of Cath's complex relationships which she shares with her estranged mother, her sister who is trying to break out of the Cath-and-Wren twin mould, her professor and even her roommate to some extent. Overall, the book is simple, great for entertainment purposes but could fall short if you're looking for extreme complexities and people fighting for the Iron Throne.