I loved Cath from the minute I saw the cover of Fangirl. The character inside the pages does not disappoint either. She is fun, sweet and quirky. Just weird enough to be interesting. Her whole experience the first few weeks dealing with living with strangers and not knowing where anything is or how it works reminded me why I NEVER wanted to live in dorm. It is incredibly easy to feel and empathize with Cath's anxiety at being in a new place and dealing with new people. Cath also gets to have this experience while watching her twin sister appear to thrive in their new environment in a way Cath could never even dream of. But don't get me wrong, this is not your typical "girl learns to stand on her own two feet" story. Cath is also dealing with the fact that her mother abandoned the girls when they were children and their father who has issues of his own.
On top of her familial and scholarly obligations. Cath is dedicated to her fans, of which she has A LOT. She is huge in the fanfiction community with her stories about the Simon Snow Series. The fictional set of books is about a boy who finds out he is a wizard, attends a magical school and makes an enemy in the form of his roommate, Baz. The story pretty closely mirrors that of Harry Potter, but Cath turns it on its head by making the two enemies into love interests. Her dedication to the characters is something to which I am sure any reader can relate and her compulsive need to finish her take on the series before the final book is released adds a sense of urgency. It also, compels the teacher in me to scream in frustration at Cath for neglecting her ACTUAL schoolwork for her personal project. But, I loved her enough to forgive her .... eventually. The story of Fangirl is also sprinkled with excerpts from both the official Simon Snow books and Cath's fanfiction, Carry On. These breaks aid the pacing and give interesting insight into the world that Cath has made her own.
Rainbow Rowell really knows her characters. Cath is not the only one that I loved. Regan and Levi are both awesome in the own right. Regan got some of the best lines and Levi was just so dang loveable that no one could resist his charm. I also really liked being able to see the dicotomy between Cath and Wren. So often, twins are written as complete opposites: one shy, one outgoing, one nerdy, one popular - to the point where it becomes cliche. But here we have a much more realistic portrayal. The girls have clear differences, but they have a lot in common as well. They compete with one another, but they also complement. The love interest was also adorable and so genuine. It really showcased Cath's insecurities about herself, her experience level and being the less popular twin. I also love that even though this book features college age characters, the sexual activity is kept to a minimum and doesn't overtake the story.
Having read Eleanor & Park and now Fangirl, I am officially signing on for anything and everything that Rainbow Rowell will write in the future!