Rowell crafts terrifically multifaceted characters with edge and wit. Fangirl is smart and topical, and even though fan fiction aficionados might not be impressed by Cath’s electronic opus, it doesn’t detract from the novel’s other complexities. Especially Cath’s roommate Reagan, one of the funniest characters to come along in a while.
Cath and her identical twin, Wren, are college freshman. Wren is outgoing and ready for the college experience, while Cath is more comfortable staying in her dorm room, writing tremendously popular fan fiction. The hitch is her roommate, Reagan, and Reagan’s maybe boyfriend, Levi, who won’t leave Cath — or their room. Cath worries her relationship with Wren will never be the same. And there’s her writing professor who thinks Cath is capable of way more than fan fiction, and her unresponsive dad, who’s maybe falling back into unhealthy habits. And, finally, there’s Levi, the epitome of everything Cath most fears and desires. (ST. MARTIN’S GRIFFIN, Sep., 416 pp., $18.99, ISBN: 9781250030955, HC, 14 & Up)