I didn’t grow up calling myself a fangirl. We didn’t have that word before the Internet. Or even the concept, really.
If you were the sort of person who falls in love with stories or characters or even a band, that was a pretty lonely pursuit.
And I’ve always been that sort of person: If I like something, I probably love it — and if I love it, I can’t get enough. I want to think about it and talk about it and live in it. I want to take it apart and put it back together again.
I remember being so desperate as a teenage to find people who shared my passions. If I met someone who loved the Beatles as much as I did, that was it — we were best friends.
Which sounds so silly now. The Beatles are the most popular band of all time. It doesn’t seem like it should be hard to find other Beatles fans.
But that was life before the Internet, especially in a place like Omaha, Nebraska. You just had to hope that like-minded people crossed your path.
Now, when you love something, you can turn on your computer and immediately find all the people who love it, too. It’s an immediate and very real community.
The book Fangirl started with me just thinking about how different my teen years would have been if I’d had access to that community. I think I would have felt so much less alone. And less weird.
I was writing stories about my favorite characters, but I had no idea that was something other people did. I thought I was deviant!
If I’d had LiveJournal or Tumblr or Archive of Our Own… If I’d had a place where I could make friends through shared excitement and shared stories… Where I didn’t have to worry about looking a certain way or dressing a certain way…
It would have changed my life.
Being a huge fangirl myself, I knew I was going to fall in love with Fangirl from the moment I saw the title! It was the first YA book I’d read that explored fandom and fanfiction, which have been such a huge part of my life, and I felt so at home reading Cath’s story because I related to her a lot. As someone who suffers with anxiety, reading about Cath going through some of the same things that I do was a comfort. I’ve taken so many positives away from this book and it’s a wonderful shout out to passionate fangirls everywhere. Not to mention the fact that now I’m a huge fan of Simon and Baz!
Katie – Queen of Teen Fiction
Being a Fangirl is about being unabashedly enthusiastic about what you love and not letting anyone shame you for it. Girls are often judged for what they love; when you’re a Fangirl you’re a part of community that not only wants to share your love but expand on it. Together we make art and tell stories, not for any agenda, we do it just because we are all insatiable for more. You can be anyone from anywhere, all you need is the right reference and it’s just like saying, “Open Sesame”.
Lesley Anne – Fanbows
Being a fangirl means being excited and enthusiastic without giving a care in the world for what other people think. Being a fangirl means loving with all your heart and being unapologetically you. Being a fangirl means living your best life, and having something bright and shiny to hold onto when everything else in life gets a little dark.
Amber – The Mile Long Bookshelf (YouTube)
For those of you who don’t know me, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is my favourite book of all time. What does Fangirl mean to me? Well, a heck of a lot but there is one main reason. It was the first book that I ever read that I could see myself as the main character. Cath is me and I am Cath. At the time when I read it, I was awkward and I hated meeting new people and going to parties. Every single thing that I did was carefully thought out. So I was Cath. As Cath grew throughout the novel and let her personal bubble, it gave me the confidence to do the same. So Fangirl gave me confidence. It helped me understand that obsessions with fictional worlds are okay. It made me understand that no matter what you do, it’s okay because there will always be someone who will love you for it.
Sofia – The Reading Fangirl