Written by: Rainbow Rowell
Number of pages: 435
Average Rating: 4.16/5 stars
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Published September 10, 2013
Read in May 2016
Summary according to Goodreads
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 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 that 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? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I am so happy to say that I have finally read this novel since I purchased it weeks after its release when I was visiting Virginia and D.C with some of my booktube friends. I could not let three years pass before I picked up this novel, since almost everyone I know has read it. The biggest reason that I hesitated picking up this novel was because of my issues while reading Eleanor and Park. If you missed my review of that, just know that I related to that novel in a very negative way, and it brought a lot of things to surface that I had been trying to overcome.
This was an incredible read, and although it had a bit of a slow start for me it definitely picked up through its characters and realistic events. It amazes me how Rainbow Rowell has such an incredible skill for writing realistic characters. Between the two novels of hers that I have read, I have been able to connect to the protagonist on a level that I have never experienced before. If there is one character to describe who I am in life, it would be Cath (except a little bit of Wren when I was at university).
There was nothing too shocking throughout this novel, many plot changes that I could have anticipated based on character's behaviours. This did not take anything away from the novel, and instead felt like I was reading the real life of a freshman college student. It definitely was not an overly exciting read, but I did have a hard time putting it down!
The only reason that I could not give this novel a full five stars was because of the Simon Snow fanfiction and excerpts thrown in. I have no problems with fanfiction or authors of it, I just did not enjoy the Simon Snow world. I felt the characters were cheap, and by the time I was 300-pages into the novel, I had just started skipping the included chapters and passages.
College is hard. This novel did not try to make it fluffy and easy at all, which was something I really appreciated. Being on your own for the first time is terrifying but exciting, and I was rooting for Cath to get herself out there socially. Family drifts, but that bond will always be there and was something I was happy to see as a continuing theme throughout the novel.
Overall I thought this was a really nice read, that's wasn't too light, with a fairly adorable romance thrown in. I was rooting for our love interest from the very beginning, and was happy to see that it was not an "insta-love" situation, and that Cath was not afraid to set her boundaries and take her time through the relationship. I think that this is a good read for a lot of people, as there are many different aspects that people can relate to.