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Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell Book Hangover has officially started.

Your books are just so freaking special. I didn't think my unbelievable expectations after reading Eleanor & Park would be met with Fangirl but I am wrong. Liv and Cath and the fandom that reminded me so much of my days when Harry Potter was still ongoing... I love how realistic the book was and how not everything had a happy ending and everything got glossed over. Just freaking perfect.. a book with imperfect perfection. I am not making sense.



Fangirl has solidified Rainbow Rowell as a must buy, must read, must recommend kind of author. Her YA debut, Eleanor & Park was one of my favorite books of 2012, and also top 10 favorite YA novels I've ever read. I have to admit I was kind of scared that I would be disappointed by Fangirl. I've been burnt more than once by my high expectations of a novel because I loved the author's previous one. But no, Rainbow Rowell didn't disappoint. I can go as far as saying Rainbow Rowell's books are magical. Many contemporary books are interesting but in the end lack the magic I look for. What is this magic you ask? Well here are a couple of points that can help you in knowing whether the book you're reading has the magic or not.

1. Throughout the book, your heart is always beating above the normal heartbeats per minute. Fangirl had a ton of intense family moments that kept me on the edge of my seat, as well as moments between Cath, the main protagonist, and Liv, the love interest, that had me fangirl-ing (see what I did there?) to the extreme.

2. When a book stays in your head and preoccupies your thoughts even when you put it down. It is the type of book that makes you stay up all night to read, or wake up earlier just to squeeze in a few chapters.

3. You tend to have a sudden urge to stop reading and hug your book or ereader because you have an overload of emotions you need to transfer, and the only outlet is through hugging that book or ereader that contains it.

4. You look at the page number and your heart drops when you notice you have less than 100 pages left. You try to read as slow as you can in order to stay in this magical world for as long as possible.
All those apply to Fangirl. Every.Single.One.

Plot-wise, Rainbow Rowell's novels aren't extravagant and over the top with intense drama, and complicated plot twists. They are simple, clean, clear, and realistic. I witnessed that in Eleanor & Park and also in Fangirl. We've got Cath and her twin sister starting college. The two girls have done everything together and are both part of the Simon Snow fandom (think Harry Potter). However, Wren drops the bomb and tells Cath she doesn't want to room with her. Cath was so heartbroken that I couldn't but feel so sad for her. Also, Wren drifted away from the Simon Snow fandom and Cath is in it alone. Both girls used to write fan fiction but now only Cath does, and she has thousands upon thousands of readers. I really connected with the girls because I was also, and still am, a huge fangirl when it comes to Harry Potter. We also get to witness problems with Cath's mother who abandoned the family when they were in third grade, as well as issues her dad faces when the girls leave for college and their dad stays alone in the house. I loved the relationship between Cath and her dad, it wasn't a perfect one or a broken one, it was in between where each one of them needed to lean on the other at times.

Back at university, Wren chooses the partying type of life while Cath holes herself in her room, writing fan fiction. Cath might sound like a loner, but in fact she is just socially awkward. It took her two weeks to venture out to the university haul and even brought a couple of boxes of protein bars to allow her to survive in her room. Of course her roommate and her roommate's friend, Liv (squeal) took every chance they got to tease her about this. There was a ton of the humor I read in Eleanor & Park in the conversations between those three. As for Liv *sigh* that boy was worth any girl's love. He was a friend when Cath needed one but didn't want to admit it, and a guy who told Cath everything she needed to hear, whether it was good or bad. I personally loved Liv to the extreme. Hard core fangirl-ing here. He is twenty one years old so I didn't feel bad for crushing on him, thanks Rainbow Rowell!

To sum this long review up, every single character, whether primary, secondary, or tertiary, had a reason to be in the book. As well as all the issues, drama, and fandom. Some plot lines were left open ended because that was how it is. In real life not everything gets wrapped up in a neat pretty bow. I think that is what I most appreciate about Rowell's books, as well as the magic she sprinkles on every single character, chapter, sentence, and word in her books.