You wouldn’t understand, but Fangirl totally does


As I’m sitting in my bedroom, and Sarah Brightman is hitting the last few notes of her version of “Music of The Night,” I finish up the end of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. I’m starting that way because I want to remember that. It feels so appropriate. I’ll get to why later. There’s not a lot to say about this book that hasn’t already been said. It seems like pretty much every blogger and site that I read talked about it when it came out a few months ago. I can say that I haven’t devoured a book like this in a while. Not one that wasn’t a part of a series that I’d been waiting for, and I even slept and worked in between starting and finishing The House of Hades, Clockwork Princess and City of Lost Souls. No, I cracked open Fangirl and did not stop except to get out of the tub and get dressed for four hours.

I forgot what this felt like.

Fangirl feels both personal and universal in only the way that the best writing can. God, could I ever relate to Cath, and her desire to disappear into a fantasy world, of getting so into your fic that your other projects wither. Seriously, my Littles Saga, in which I chronicled the love lives of Jimmy and Kelly Riley, the younger siblings of Rick Riley, the Eden Hall varsity captain in D:3 The Mighty Ducks is 6 stories long, and is some of the best writing I’ve ever done. Jimmy was in love with Julie Gaffney, you see, and this was problematic because, well she was Duck and his brother and father were trying to get the Ducks kicked out of school. Kelly was in love with Scooter, the varsity goalie, which was problematic because he was her older brother’s best friend. That was just the basic premise, it spun off in a million directions and I loved the shit out of working on that story. The unending crush of Julie’s best friend from before she met the Ducks? Important plot point. Jimmy’s middle school rival beating the crap out of Tammy Duncan in an alley? Took a while but it made sense once it was written. (And was not my finest hour, even by fanfic standards.) The introduction of Elena Cole, another made up sibling of a minor varsity player character, and her subsequent super dramatic relationship with Dean Portman? While it broke my shipping little heart to not even have Julie and Dean in each other’s orbit this time, it was how I taught myself how to write a decent B story.

I understood having to try to explain this to someone else, when they accidentally found out about it. “No but, I mean, it’s not for real, it’s just fun. I don’t know why, it just is.” I’ve never been a huge slash fan, when a couple isn’t canon, or one of them isn’t an OC, well, I have trouble making that leap. Ducks stuff is different, since the characters are only fourteen when canon ends…anyway. But seeing, laid out in an actual book, terms like “slash” and “canon” and “Mary Sue” and “beta,” well, I couldn’t stop laughing out loud. Fangirl just gets it.

Ostensibly, Fangirl is about growing up. It’s about endings. Main character Cath is racing towards the end of her fic saga, Carry On, Simon Snow, based around the popular Simon Snow book series, which seems like it’s what would happen if Harry Potter had a baby with Twilight and that baby spent all of it’s time reading Gossip Girl. Basically, it sounds like it would be my favorite series of all time. Cath ships Simon/Baz, which I would probably hate, because apparently these two characters are supposed to be involved in a love triangle with a girl named Agatha. She and sister Wren used to hide in Simon Snow fandom to escape their mother’s abandonment and their father’s mental health issues. When they go to college, Wren escapes in more traditional ways. (Lots of partying) And this sort of breaks Cath’s heart. But Cath soon creates her own college life, befriending her roommate, and her roommate’s charming ex boyfriend Levi. By the end Cath has fallen in love, finished Carry On, and the eighth and final Simon Snow book has hit shelves, and Cath and Wren have made up. It’s amazing, and I kind of love that I accidentally chose the right soundtrack for it.

I don’t think much about music. With the exception of musical theatre, I tend not to think about it at all. I like country and Top 40 pop. I like classic rock like Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen. If my sister tells me to listen to something, I do, and I’ll usually like it, but I don’t think about it. Lately I’ve been listening to my Disney Pandora station because I’ve just kind of felt like it. Because of what I’ve liked and disliked, that station plays a lot of Andrew Lloyd Weber and a whole lotta Wicked. Since Wicked and Phantom of The Opera are what got me into fanfiction to begin with, well, it felt somehow right. Also, Weber is probably the most successful fic writer of all time, putting his spin on The Bible, classic literature, movies and even his own work. (Sorry, but Love Never Dies isn’t a sequel, it’s a fanfic.) So hearing Sarah Brightman sing the song that was his ultimate love letter to her, as I finished up Rainbow Rowell’s love letter to a certain kind of quasi art, felt absolutely perfect.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to work on the fic I started last week. (I still write fic occasionally but I don’t post…) It’s a Frozen story, where one of Hans’s brothers shows up to Anna and Kristoff’s wedding and falls in love with Elsa. I also have an idea where they turn Olaf into an actual human and it turns out he’s Elsa’s soul mate…this is just how fangirls think sometimes.

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