Fangirl, Vol. 2: The Manga

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A wonderful adaptation!

This is probably the best example I’ve come across when it comes to adapting an entire novel to a graphic novel/manga format. Often I find the art to be delightful, but with this adaptation, I found the art to directly fit in line with not only the text of the original work but also the emotions expressed. The characters in this are very much teenagers still and thus have wavering reactions to dramatic moments in their lives. The art emphasizes these emotional responses, and you don’t need to say over and over how our characters are constantly feeling. I can tell how intensely angry, upset, or anxious Cath is without having to have it shoved in your face. Her expressions are continually changing, and as the reader, you feel the emotional rollercoaster she’s on.

Aside from the art, this is an excellent adaptation of the original book. I love that Cath is a character I don’t like much; she’s not the type of person I would ever choose to hang out with, but I understand her point of view and why she reacts to things the way she does. It’s intense and sometimes over the top, but that’s life when you’re a college Freshman. She has no identity for herself outside of her sister, and she’s still trying to come to terms with the fact that despite being twins, she and Wren are not the same. She’s so used to having her sister lean on her that she neglects to learn how to establish friendships with others and purposefully pushes others away. Cath is a flawed and hypocritical character, too wrapped up in her own judgment of herself and others to build self-confidence or independence until it’s forced upon her. I think the scenes with Wren show how badly Wren wants to be seen as her person, whereas Cath doesn’t want to be seen at all. It’s an excellent book for a high schooler/college reader because it’s so emotionally relatable. Feeling alone, acting older than you are, having crushes on people you shouldn’t, and acting on impulse are all dead-on 18/19yr old experiences, so this is an excellent choice for any student or anyone going through a transitional phase.

Title: Fangirl: The Manga
Author:  Rainbow Rowell & Sam Maggs
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9781974718092

Three Descriptors: Amusing, Romantic, Fanfiction/Fandom

Read Alikes:
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Eliza and Her Monster by Francesca Zappla
Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Alterbrando
Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

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