I loved many stories before I read Harry Potter, but in terms of Being In A Fandom, HP was my first. I can’t tell you how I first stumbled into fanfiction because I honestly, truly don’t remember, although I do remember spending hours hiding up in my dad’s home office, using his Windows 98 dial-up desktop computer to consume everything from the crackiest humor fics to the kinkiest porn. (I was beginning puberty. Everyone finds out what they like somehow. Sorry, Mom.)
I don’t know if you were part of this zeitgeist of transformative works, dear reader, but if you—like Lady Geek Girl, Luce, and I—were, reading Rainbow Rowell’s newest novel Carry On will feel like coming home.
Well, there are a lot of things, but one of the things I’ve gotten particularly tired of is the demonization of both fanfiction and the shipping fangirl as perverted, evil, plaigiaristic, or just plain wrong.
Exhibit A: Becky from Supernatural.
That’s where Rainbow Rowell’s new novel Fangirl comes in. Fangirl’s main character is a dedicated slash fangirl named Cather with an online following of thousands. Cather is just starting college, and while her twin sister Wren seems to have put aside her ‘childish’ obsession with the Harry Potter-esque Simon Snow series now that she’s at school, Cather remains devoted to her stories.
In a world where family, classes, boys, and roommates are hopelessly confusing and stressful, Cath finds comfort in writing stories about Simon falling in love with his rival and roommate Baz.