Genre: YA Contemporary
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: 10 September 2013
Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
What I Liked:
I connected with this book more than I think I’ve ever connected with a book before. I really understood Cath, the main character, because we’re so much alike. We’re both fangirls and we spend a lot of time thinking about fanfiction and slash. I’ve read books with geeky protagonists before, but this was a character that I actually saw myself in, 100%. It’s not just the fanfiction thing, I also connected to Cath because (on multiple occasions) I’ve been that girl who ends up in a social situation that I’m not comfortable in and ends up crying in the bathroom
This book was also a lot of fun. The dialogue and characters were quirky, but still felt real. It was the type of cool and quirky that doesn’t feel forced or like it’s trying too hard. I felt that it was coming from a very real place. I have a feeling that Rainbow Rowell herself is a fangirl, and that she is writing from experience, so everything feels genuine where it could have felt fake and forced.
What I Didn’t:
The only part of this book that I really, really didn’t like is when Cath turned in fanfiction as an assignment for her writing class. That was so cringy to me! There is some amazingly written fanfiction out there, but if you really wanted to turn a bit of it in for a class, a fangirl would DEFINITELY know to file the serial numbers off of it. Change the character names, adjust the situation some, and boom! You’ve turned Twilight into Fifty Shades of Grey, and your teacher will never know. (Not the best example, but I couldn’t think of anything else…maybe Harry Potter into The Mortal Instruments is a better example? You get the idea!)
Someone like me and Cath, who have been in fandom since our preteen days, would definitely know not to turn fanfiction in as an assignment (unless the assignment actually was to write fanfiction, which I have heard of, but that’s completely different.)
I loved this book. It was so great to see such a real character who very much reflected my thoughts and feelings, something that I’ve never really seen in a book before. Eapescially since Cath is a Simon Snow fan, which is clearly supposed to be Harry Potter, my first fandom. In fact, I blame my love of reading and general fangirlishness on J.K. Rowling. I connected with this book on so many levels. If you’re a fangirl or love fanfiction (or both!), I highly recommend that you read this book!
My Rating: 5/5