Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell came out in 2013, and has remained popular in the years since. Rowell has been the darling of the young adult world, with her 2015 follow-up Carry On, and its sequel Wayward Son, as well as a number of graphic novels for Marvel and other works.
Be that as it may, a Fangirl manga seemed a bit a of a stretch to me. The book came out seven years ago, and though it remains popular, not every book needs a graphic adaptation. I was a big fan of the book, but haven’t reread it since 2015, so I decided to give the first volume a shot to see how it holds up.
The art is beautiful, for a start. Character design is on point, Cath and Wren in particular stand out as well drawn, easily differentiated both by their minor physical dissimilarities and by their body language and expressions. Reagan was one of my favorite characters in the novel, and she is really well portrayed here. Levi looked a little different than I expected, but his facial design is so open and smiley that it perfectly captures his character.
I think this adaptation really captures the mood of the novel, which is generally pretty gloomy and lonely, with some lighter moments and humor. I think the manga really conveyed the loneliness Cath feels, and her emotional state as she tries to transition to college life without the support she needs. Cath still comes across as very sympathetic, even as her flaws are easier to understand through a visual medium. I think the adaptation to manga actually adds quite a bit to the perspective the reader has on the story, and is a very enjoyable read. For me, it really held up, and reading it again reminded me of all of the things I liked about it. I would recommend picking up the first volume, at least to see if it’s for you.
Fangirl, Vol, 1: The Manga comes out on October 13, 2020, and can be purchased wherever books are sold, or borrowed from your local library. You can also buy it using our Amazon affiliate link, which supports this blog.