‘Fangirl’ gives fiction ‘a life of its own’

Kathryn Tenbarge

   Rainbow Rowell would probably identity as a bit of nerd. She’s an amazing author, as shown by her multiple best-selling books (including the fantastic “Eleanor and Park,” which gained a lot of attention this year), she has a loving family, and she’s a nerd.

  But as she illustrates in her novel “Fangirl,” being a nerd isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes, it can make you a bit of an outcast, or cause rifts between you and your friends. But it’s part of who you are, and the things you love inspire you to create your best work.

  The heroine of “Fangirl,” Cather, would identify strongly with the above paragraph. She’s just begun her freshman year of college with her twin sister, Wren, but she’s not very excited about it. She’d rather hide in her room and write “Simon Snow” fanfiction.

  “Simon Snow” is the equivalent of our “Harry Potter” in this book, and I loved finding all the little parallels to the world’s favorite young adult series. But at its core, “Fangirl” is about fitting in and breaking out of your comfort zone- something all of us struggle with.

  Rowell’s style is, as usual, laid-back and easy to relate to. At some points, I found the plot sluggish, but enjoyable. Although I do have to say one thing: Cath’s fangirl game is weak. One fandom?! Just one?! Sorry, I just had to get that out there.

  I give Fangirl a B.

So you want to be a fangirl? Some tips to get started:

1. At its core, being a fangirl (or boy. Or elf. It’s not a judgmental community) is all about loving things. A book series, a t.v. show, a movie, a comic, a singer, a celebrity, a video game, etc. Even a broad subject like science or sports can fit a fandom.

2. Connect to other people who share the same fandoms. If there’s one thing more fun than watching “Doctor Who,” it’s having hour long conversations with people you’ll never meet in real life about the Whoniverse. The internet is great for that sort of thing, especially blogging sites like Tumblr.

3. Get inspired to create things. Fanfiction, like Cather, or fanart are popular choices. But with the changing format of art, anything is possible. GIFs are a recent development in the fandom world, and other electronic forms of expression. The key is to let your creativity flow based on someone else’s work that you admire. It can even take you into worlds of your own creation.