In the book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, a girl, Cath, begins her freshman year of college at the University of Nebraska. It is a coming of age story, and a book that I think every person coming into college should read. It deals with learning how to live on your own without your parents, family drama, mental illness, and romantic relationships. This book captures many different facets of college life and that is what makes it such a good book to read.
The book starts off with Cath moving into her freshman dorm and trying to adjust to life away from her dad. Everyone in college can relate to this because there is a definite adjustment period the first month in college, and this adjustment period can last a whole semester. Cath struggles more during this time, though, because she has anxiety. Being in a new place where she isn’t sure of anything amps up her anxiety to the point where she only leaves her room to go to class. She doesn’t even leave to eat.
Another thing that feeds into her mental health problems is the fact that her dad is mentally ill and this is the first time she hasn’t been home to take care of him. This book does an excellent job of showcasing just how hard it is to leave someone who needs help and the strain that this can put on a person. On top of this, Cath has to deal with her mom leaving and her sister rebelling because of this.
All of these things combined lead to a very rough first semester for Cath. But throughout the course of the novel she learns how to deal with her problems and while she is by no means perfect, she has healthy coping mechanisms, and has a better grasp on what exactly it means to be an adult.
Later on in the second half of the book she begins a romantic relationship with Levi, and it touches on how to be in a romantic relationship with someone who is dealing with family problems and has a mental illness.
Overall this book discusses topics that need attention brought to them in a very mature read. It is an eye-opening experience that anyone in college can relate to because we all know what it is like to move away from home into a new environment where we know nothing or no one.