Fangirl. By Rainbow Rowell. Read by Rebecca Lowman and Maxwell Caulfield. 2013. 13hr. Listening Library, CD, $60 (9780804121309). Gr. 9-12.
College freshman Cath has lots of things that worry her: her father is mentally unstable, her twin sister wants to ignore her in favor of new and exciting college life, and she's feeling increasingly lonely. Cath writes fan fiction based on the Simon Snow series, and though she has loads of followers, she feels even more worthless when her creative-writing professor comments that fan fiction isn't her "own" work. Will Cath find her own voice? Skillful narrators Lowman and Caulfield create both Cath's world and the world of her fictional characters, Simon and Baz (characters reminiscent of another popular series), with Caulfield reading Cath's fiction. Caulfield is all sophistication and polish, while Lowman is raw emotion, reflecting Cath's vulnerability and insecurity. She gives unique voices to the secondary characters in Cath's life, including a feisty roommate, whiny sister, caring boyfriend, and manic father. Although all the issues aren't resolved in this story, the ending is satisfying and reassuring.--Edie Ching