Edit 07/08/15: A longer version of this review can now be found over at Sappho’s Torque.
Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013.
Ah, the fascinating world of fandom. I first discovered Fanfiction.net in early high school, when I was searching for evidence that I wasn’t the only fan of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, nor the only Sarah/Jareth shipper (and of course I wasn’t. By any long shot in the universe). I started posting my own fics around junior year, when I was deeply engulfed in the Harry Potter world, as well as in Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children series. Nothing on the level of Carry On, Simon, of course.
And then, in May of 2012, I discovered BBC’s Sherlock and fell head over heels for Johnlock. Reading the “excerpts” from Cath’s Simon/Baz stories has definitely made me nostalgic for those early days in the Sherlock-dom, and had me jonesing for a re-read of my favorite five.
Rainbow Rowell gets it. She gets the joy of expanding and exploring areas of a ‘verse where the original authors/creators haven’t gone, or don’t wish to go. She also sees why some people might have problems with fanfiction — though, the jacket-flap exaggerates re: Cath’s professor’s attitude. She never disparages fanfiction as a whole/its right to exist. She just doesn’t like students turning in fanfiction for assignments (if I was a creative writing instructor, though, I would’ve made that clear in my syllabus, so there’d be no confusion later).
Rowell also gets how overwhelming college life + things back home + your own evolving sense of self can get. So much so that, about halfway through, she started to hit a bit too close to home; it’s lucky the story was compelling enough to keep me going after a short break, and of course it’s a credit to Rowell for creating such relatable characters.
P.S. I totally want to know what Simon Snow and the Selkies Four is about. Who are these four selkies??
P.S.2. OMG Rowell is actually going to publish a Carry On book, which will actually be about Simon and Baz! Sweet!