I finished this book earlier today, and have been dying to sit down and get this review done!
The first book I read by Rainbow Rowell was Eleanor & Park, but I have to say that I loved this so much more! It’s still a romance, but less so – as in, it isn’t too romantic, and love isn’t the only storyline.
Basically, twins Cath and Wren have just started college, staying in separate rooms for the first time. Instead, Cath shares her dorm with Reagan – a chronically angry-looking girl with about five boyfriends – and Wren with Courtney, her new party buddy.
For years, Cath has been writing Simon Snow fanfiction with her sister, and has become internet-famous. She signs up for Fiction-Writing class, and continues to work on her main fic – Carry On, Simon. But when Professor Piper accuses her of plagiarism when she turns in a piece of fanfic, Cath isn’t sure she’s cut out for the class. Not to mention the fact that the final Simon Snow book is soon to be released.
As if these problems aren’t enough, the girls’ father ends up back in a mental hospital after they leave home, and their mother – who left when they were just eight years old – is trying to get in touch again. Oh, and Cath’s close friend and writing partner uses a joint piece of work for an assignment, without giving Cath any credit.
Throughout all this, Cath breaks up and makes up with her sister, and her relationship with Reagan’s ex-boyfriend is a crazy ride. Levi and Cath are clearly becoming an item, until Cath turns up at Levi’s party and finds him kissing some other girl. So much for that.
I can’t say I know what college is like, but Cath really reminds me of me and my friends. For one, I’m a total introvert and would never leave my room, let alone ask someone where the cafeteria is… And two, my friends are all the internet type, many of which also love to read a bit of fanfiction every now and then. Some of her insecurities and worries are incredibly similar to my own, which kind of gave me a sense of relief. (Phew, it is normal to worry about that!)
I love the relationship between Wren and Cath, and how it addresses the issues that siblings face. And the situation with their parents, which I’m sure lots of people can relate to. Basically, I love how this isn’t just a simple college book, where guy-meets-girl and everything’s great. It’s far more realistic than that, with an appropriate hint of humour.
The characters themselves are also all imperfect in some way. Cath compares Levi to her ex-boyfriend and admits that he may not be quite as attractive, yet she still likes him more. Not to mention how she comments on the little things she notices, but not in a negative way.
I sped through this book, which I wasn’t expecting with a book this length. It’s funny, it’s realistic, and it’s a great read. Not to mention, it’s now on my favourites list. Five stars!