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Komal Mikaelson

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Leila Sales
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Julie Kagawa
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Carol Rifka Brunt
Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell Initial Reaction After Completion
You know how we all cry at tragedies. We cry with Rose in Titanic, with Liesel in The Book Thief, with Harry in Shell Cottage, with Maya in Forbidden. We are a sentimental specie and we cry a damn lot.
But how many of us cry at an especially beautiful ending. When wounds heal, when all loose ends are tied, when broken relationships are mended.

I don't.

I never cry at the happy stuff. Never. It's too mushy, wishy-washy for me.
I mean what is there to cry about in something good? Tears don't get to show up in good times too. We see enough of them in the sad ones.

But today was a first.

I got teary-eyed at a happy ending. It was nothing too incredible or stunning or anything mind-blowing really. It was simple. And in that simplicity, it encompassed so much more than any grandiose ending could ever have. Because isn't life ultimately about the simple stuff?

The Plot

Fangirl follows the life of Cather as she muddles through her freshman year at college, with her social anxieties and this almost religious circumventing of any social interaction. But I wouldn't say she is closed off. It's just that she is much more comfortable with her glasses on, laptop in front of her, writing fanfiction. She writes fanfiction on Simon Snow series which is equivalent to our Harry Potter phenomenon and has a massive fan following. We follow one year of her life, the year before the release of the last book in the Simon Snow series.

Now, I got into reading with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Yep, the third book and with no idea whatsoever about the previous two installments. I had this heavy, hardbound copy which my mom used to read me to bed every night. And that marked the beginning of my HP obsession. I was in 6th grade when HP7 was to be released and had managed to find friend who was just as HP crazy as me. We used to squabble over who would end up with whom, will Harry-Hermione ever be possible, Snape-bitching, what will happen to Harry and all sorta shit. When I completed Deathly Hallows, a month, a WHOLE GODDAMN MONTH AFTER ITS RELEASE, for this one moment, before I started babbling over how Harry triumphed over Voldy, I was shocked. It was over. When something you grow up with comes to an end, it is scary and.. new and you don't know if you'll ever feel so much invested in something ever again.

So, yes I'm rambling, reading through Cath's obsession and fangirl-ism was nostalgic and sad and delightful and relatable all at once.
Conclusion, I may or not be wholly ruled by my emotions here. Wholly.

Characterization and other good stuff

As much biased as I am here, these is still something so refreshing about this book. The characterisation was amazing. Everyone, and I mean everyone was so real. They had their own quirks, separate qualities, distinct shortcomings. No one was wholly perfect or irredeemably bad. I adored them.

The best part about the book is that it gives equal importance to all the relationships portrayed. Whether it was the father-daughter relationship between Art and Cath or the twins', Cath and Wren's development or Raegan's awkward and straight-forward friendship or the budding romance. Because it it so common in today's YA to erase all other people to make space for the luurrvvee interest. Rowell navigates this tricky area brilliantly.

Now, I'll take a moment to talk about Cath and Wren's deal. I love love love love their relationship. It was so cute the way that they supported each other, wrote fanfiction together and were always there for each other. There were no unnecessary jealousies, petty rivalries or frivolous quibbles. As I said, refreshing.

The romance angle

We all are more than familiar with today’s love interests. Their muscled body, ripped abs, broad shoulders and what the fuck not. To say Levi’s descriptions were out of the norm would be an understatement. He has a receding hairline, soft muscled body and no towering 6 foot plus height. Levi had no scarred past or traumatic childhood; in fact he is one of the good guys, who have suddenly fallen out of the fad. You know the type, chivalrous, polite, a smile pasted on and being nice to strangers just because they can. They take a moment to read a bus driver’s name and thank them. Peeta Mellark kinda guy.
Because he is more than just the sexy love interest. First he is a nice person and then has more layers to him, which was so great to read about.

Levi is outgoing, popular, the social kind which contrasted sharply with Cath's introversion. And they complemented each other perfectly.
So, needless to say, what wasn't there to love about the guy?
So, inspite of all Levi’s swoon worthiness, if I talk about something that transcends even him, then you know, the book is good. More than good. Excellent.

And now, I can't resist; I have to talk about Cath.

Cather Avery

You know about your siblings. How they annoy you at times, trouble you but you still manage to have loads of fun with them. How it is alright for you to bitch about them but no one else can say a word against them. How protective you are of them.
That is exactly how I feel about Cath. She is hesitant to trust others, reluctant to make friends, but once you get to know her, you can't help but feel she is amazing. She is a geek. A nerd. A bookworm. And I loved that about her. I loved how strong she remains in crisis, how caring and supportive she is of her father, how protective she is of Wren.
Her interactions with Raegan are hilarious.
“What’s wrong with Levi?”
“Nothing,” Cath said. “He’s just … not like me.”
“You mean, smart?”
“Levi’s really smart,” Cath said defensively.
“I know,” Reagan said, just as defensively.
“He’s different,” Cath said. “He’s older. He smokes. And he drinks. And he’s probably had sex. I mean, he looks like he has.”
Reagan raised her eyebrows like Cath was talking crazy. And Cath thought—not for the first time, but for the first time since last night—that Levi had probably had sex with Reagan.
“And he likes to be outside,” Cath said, just to change the subject. “And he likes animals. We don’t have anything in common.”
“You’re making him sound like he’s some rowdy mountain man who, like, smokes cigars and has sex with prostitutes.”

So, wrapping up,
This is a do-not-miss-even-if-the-fucking-sky-is-falling. It is breezy and joyous coming of age novel which will undoubtedly tug at your heartstrings. Beneath all the fun and humor lie subtle hints to maturity and development. The honesty and innocence it emanates will lift your spirit and restore your faith in YA literature.

I am leaving you with this absolutely stunning vignette of wisdom:
“I find Ugg boots really comforting,” Cath said.
“Why? Because they’re warm?”
“No. Because they remind me that we live in a place where you can still get away with, even get excited about, Ugg boots. In fashionable places, you have to pretend that you’re over them, or that you’ve always hated them. But in Nebraska, you can still be happy about new Ugg boots. That’s nice. There’s no end of the innocence.”