Book Review: “Fangirl” (Volume 1): The Manga

This is the first volume of what will be a series of four manga, a Japanese style graphic novel adaptation of the young adult novel Fangirl, which was written by bestselling author Rainbow Rowell. This adaptation stays faithful to the original book as we follow Cath on her journey as a first-year English major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She and her twin sister, Wren, have been inseparable until Wren decided she didn’t want to share a room with Cath for the first time in their lives. While Wren is making new friends and partying, Cath struggles to adjust to college life. Not only does she suffer from social anxiety, but she also has to adjust to her blunt new roommate and the roommate’s oddly charming boyfriend.  They both take Cath under their wings. Right off the bat we find out that Cath loves the Simon Snow book series (this universe’s version of the Harry Potter series), and she writes a popular “fan fiction” work based on the series. One big issue: the last book of the real series is about to come out, and Cath is determined to write her own conclusion of the story before the author releases her final volume. 

It was so fun to see Cath, her sister Wren, and the rest of the cast of characters come to life in illustrated form, and to enjoy a fresh take on this already well-loved story. I think that the adapter (Sam Maggs) and illustrator (Gabi Nam) did an amazing job capturing Cath, Wren, and all the other characters from the series and have stayed faithful to the original source material. I recommend both versions of this book, but they definitely stand on their own separately, meaning I think you could read either version and get the same great story. I’m looking forward to the second volume, which comes out this October. 

Review by Megan Hultman, who works in the Children’s Room.

To request a copy of this adaptation of Fangirl, click here.

To request a copy of the original Fangirl novel by Rainbow Rowell, click here.


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