Fangirl: The Manga by Rainbow Rowell, Sam Maggs, Gabi Nam

fangirl the manga by rainbow rowell and sam maggs book cover

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite YA contemporary books of all time. Rainbow Rowell perfectly captured how it feels to go to university as an introverted person – the feeling of being thrown into a massive fish bowl as a very small fish. When I found out it was being adapted into a manga, I was curious and a little concerned. I wasn’t sure what about the story could be enhanced by this new medium.

Cath doesn’t need friends IRL. She has her twin sister, Wren, and she’s a popular fanfic writer in the Simon Snow community with thousands of fans online. But now that she’s in college, Cath is completely outside of her comfort zone. There are suddenly all these new people in her life. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming boyfriend, a writing professor who thinks fanfiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome new writing partner…

And she’s barely heard from Wren all semester!

Sam Maggs did a phenomenal job adapting Fangirl for the manga medium – I was immediately greeted by accurate portrayals of the characters I loved, of their key interactions and their chemistry. The art itself was beautiful too – I loved seeing Cath and Wren and Levi come to life on the pages – to actually see the chemistry building. It also brought a new degree of intimacy to the story – seeing Cath fall into anxiety over her new situation made it all the more relatable. I also loved how faithful the adaptation was. They stuck to the original story and didn’t deviate. I can’t wait for Vol 2 to come out.

If you haven’t read the novel version of Fangirl, I would highly recommend reading that first before reading the manga. While the manga does an excellent job at capturing the essence of the original book, it is a very condensed version of the story. If you have already read the original book, I would highly recommend this adaptation. 5/5

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