Thursday 31 December 2020

#CBR12 Book 97: "Fangirl, the Manga: Vol 1" by Sam Maggs and Rainbow Rowell

Page count: 216 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Cath Avery thought she'd be sharing a room with her twin sister Wren when they went to college (isn't that the benefit of having a twin?), but her sister has cut her hair into a cute pixie cut and is looking forward to reinventing herself at college. She's already friends with her roommate and can't wait to move away from home and their anxious father.

Cath, on the other hand, is deeply outside of her comfort zone. Online, she's an undisputed queen, an incredibly prolific and popular fanfic writer. Her Simon Snow fanfics are read by thousands of people all over the world. Now she needs to get used to all sorts of new things, like how to talk to her intimidating, beautiful roommate or said roommate's charming and gregarious boyfriend. She's taking an advanced writer's class, even though she's just a freshman, and her professor is asking a lot of her. She needs to find the courage to actually go have a meal in the cafeteria. She should probably also find out why Wren is so determined to distance herself from her.

It can come as no secret to anyone who has read my reviews over the years that I'm an unashamed Rainbow Rowell fan. She's one of my favourite authors currently writing, and of all the books she's written, Fangirl is probably the one that speaks the most directly to me and mirrors much of my own early time at university. I have read the book four times and own it in audio, e-book and paperback. That book gave me Cath and Levi and Reagan, not to mention the first appearances of Simon and Baz (although I love Rowell's own versions, I'm not quite as fond of Gemma T. Leslie OR Cath's versions). 

So there really was no question that I needed to own and read the manga version, as well, cleverly adapted by Sam Maggs and illustrated throughout by the talented Gabi Nam. There was little doubt that I was going to like this a lot - unless massive amounts were altered, which of course is not the case. It's strange reading a story I know so well in a graphic format, but I think Nam has captured the characters really well. The similarities and huge differences between Cath and her twin Wren are especially well done. You can see that they are identical, yet they have such very individual looks. Reagan, Levi, and the various versions of Simon and Baz are also a lot of fun to see on the page.

My biggest gripe with this is that it was too short! The second part doesn't even have a release date yet and I'm not sure whether it's been confirmed how many volumes there will be (I suspect four because it's a pretty big book, but hoping for three - manga is expensive!). So now I'm going to have to be impatiently waiting for the next volumes of this, while I'm also pining away for the final Simon Snow book (out in July!)

Judging a book by its cover: I really love Gabi Nam's art throughout the manga, and this image of Cath just captures her so well. I also really like the warm, yellow colour of the background, not to mention the autumn leaves swirling around Cath. 

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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