Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Released: September 10, 2013
Page #: 435
Source: Finished copy from the publisher
"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 fanfiction, 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 Cat 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 fanfiction 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?"
"There was a boy in her room.
Cath looked up at the number painted on the door, then down at the room assignment in her hand.
Pound Hall, 913."
This is probably one of my favorite books I've read this year. I mean, that's not hard as I haven't read much. But it's definitely ranking and I think it will for a long time.
Cath and Wren are heading to college... separately. They've always done everything together and Cath isn't sure how life is going to be without her twin sister. She has a weird roommate who definitely hates her... and a new writing partner who seems content to let her do the heavy lifting. Not to mention that she doesn't have time to write her fanfiction like normal. It's all so different and Cath isn't sure she's cut out for it.
This one is a little outside my norm. College vs. High School. The age difference isn't big, but there are a lot of elements that I'm not used to seeing. Everything is a first. Life in general is a little more frightening. You have to fend for yourself and not expect anyone else to care about you. This book really took me back to my college years and reliving those fears and triumphs.
While I think it really speaks to people who are either dealing with college or are through it, I think there is something that teens could really get out of this book. It's a very realistic view of the non-social side of college - which is totally where I was. And I know a lot of teens that will be there, too. So, it's sort of sweet in that way that it shows Cath's growth and how she learns to be an individual without her sister.
The whole fanfiction thing was awesome. I mean, how many people get sucked into reading fanfiction of extremely popular books?! I know I have. And it's cool to think that the author of one might be some college freshman who is just trying to make it through life. It also showed how stressful it could be to feel the need to stay on schedule with the story. As a Librarian, the whole copyright/plagiarism thing was very interesting. I've never really thought about fanfiction as being plagiarized. Not really. They aren't trying to sell their work, right? It would definitely make for an interesting conversation with a reading group or class.
There is, of course, a first real love. A least expected person. A friend. Someone who would do anything for Cath. I really found the whole relationship super sweet. They don't rush into anything. They are honest with each other. It's sort of how you hope relationships will go - even with all of the insecurities. I was just really impressed with that and it felt real.
This is just a really honest story. The girl's father certainly isn't perfect. The girls have their own issues to work out. Friends are made and lost. It feels like you're living right alongside of Cath. It's a well-crafted story and I'm officially a fan of Rainbow Rowell.
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