127. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell
I may be about to go fangirl myself on Rainbow Rowell. I've read two of her books in the last two weeks--and I loved Eleanor and Parks, but I think I may have loved this one even better. It speaks to the secret, hidden nerd heart that I carry around with me all the time.
Cath is a twin who's grown up with her sister Wren as her side-kick in everything: from surviving their mother's departure just after 9/11 to writing fanfiction about Simon Snow (a fictional character that's part Harry Potter, part Mortal Instruments). But when they go off to college and Wren wants more independence (aka, she doesn't want to be Cath's roommate, to be instantly branded by her twin identity), Cath feels more than a bit lost. She throws herself into her fan-fic--her Carry On, Simon has over 30,000 hits on the fanfic site she frequents. But of course, real life also intrudes, and Cath has to negotiate living with an abrupt, sometimes rude roommate, the boy who's constantly at their dormroom because of her roommate, the boy she's begun meeting at the library for curiously intense co-written stories, and her father, who may or may not be coming apart at the seams during her absence. Not to mention the increasing distance between her and her twin.
Cath's story alone is lovely: heart-felt and real. But Rowell intersperses Cath's story with bits from the made up universe of Simon Snow--excerpts from the "real" books, and Cath's fanfiction. By the time I hit the end, I'd seen not only Cath's evolution as a writer, but I had a good sense of why she loved the story characters so much (heck, I loved them too, and I'd only read short excerpts). Rowell's almost flawless integration of these three levels of story is only one of many reasons that I loved this book.