Last week (4/1), news broke that film rights for Eleanor and Park had been purchased by Dreamworks studios (we’re cautiously optimistic about that). Meanwhile, in one, tiny corner of the internet, another work from author Rainbow Rowell has already made it on film (and to a computer near you) in a winsome adaptation of Rowell’s second novel, Fangirl.
For those of you unfamiliar with Fangirl, for this writer, it was even better than Eleanor and Park — if you can believe that. If you thought the love story of Rowell’s debut novel was relatable, the author absolutely hit it out of the park with the life of a fangirl. Especially one struggling to find that line between fiction and reality in the midst of that scary first year away at college. Cath is the responsible twin who followed her wild sister (Wren) away to University, but Cath is lost when Wren insists on separate dorms and going to parties and leaving behind their beloved literary series Simon Snow, as well as the fanfiction the sisters used to co-write. Fans of Harry Potter will definitely recognize Rowell’s inspiration behind Cath’s Simon Snow obsession, and fanfic readers of any fandom will relate to Cath in general (this writer, right here, for example). Rowell’s novel follows Cath as the introvert navigates her freshman year at college, parental woes, and blossoming romance. Just like Eleanor and Park, Rowell crafts dynamic personalities, and expertly weaves realistic conflict into Cath’s life — but perhaps the best part of Rowell’s prose is her take on first love. Idealistic yet refined, Fangirl will leave every girl wishing for a Levi of her own.
Since finances were meager, viewers glimpse only a tiny scene between Cath and Levi, but the director chose her moment well. She perfectly captures the charming nature of Levi and Cath’s uncertain beginning in this snapshot adaptation. Featuring Mary Kate Wiles (playing Cath) and Denver Milord (Levi), it’s short but fans of Fangirl will recognize this scene as a turning point in the novel. Fair warning, it’ll leave you begging for more.
The adaptation comes courtesy of lifelong fangirl, the talented director Yulin Kuang. Kuang has produced a handful of short films and creative projects on her personal youtube channel, and she co-helms Shipwrecked productions with Sinead and Sean Persaud. We’re also big fans of the Shipwrecked transmedia series, “Kissing in the Rain” again starring Mary Kate Wiles (their take on an Edgar Allen Poe vlog series isn’t bad either), so go check it out!