Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release: September 10th 2013
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
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?
3.5 stars? 3.75? Something close to four, but not quite, anyway.
I was absolutely terrified to read this, to be quite honest. Why, you ask? Well, everyone loves this book, and I mean it — everyone and their grandma loved it. And they loved Eleanor and Park as well, which I really, really did not end up liking at all. And yes, I might have been a bit shallow and been afraid of what people are going to think of me if I ended up hating Rainbow Rowell's work, when everyone else is worshipping her and kissing her feet. I was fearing something along the lines of pitchforks and banishments and eternal damnation.
Surprisingly — and fortunately! — I ended up ... really liking this? I mean, sure, it's not going to be one of my favorites or anything, but I really, truly ended up enjoying it, which is especially noticeable by how fast I got through this. I was genuinely looking forward to being able to pick this one up, and I just read the last 80% in one sitting without stopping. You know I have this hang-up about contemporaries, and I feel like I have to mention that it's probably only that which has kept me from seriously enjoying it to the max.
I loved the romance. I really, really did. It was so effortless, weaving together with the rest of the plot, creeping in at times, subtly, never really being an elephant in the room. And I liked the decency of it, the slow burn. Yes, also because I was so in the mood for a fluffy, cuddly romance like Levi and Cath's was, but also because it was well done. They had chemistry, they clicked together and Rowell managed to convey the bond they share perfectly via awkward smiles and embarrassed laughs.
Which also has to do with how craftily she built her characters. They had a life of their own, had each their own voices and quirks and stood out in some way, so that I'll probably never forget about them in the near future. They were intriguing and complex, every one of them. Such good work, Rowell.
All in all, like I said, I was so in the mood for fluffy and sweet, and it was the perfect pace. Not too much of the normal contemporary randomness for it to get boring, the romance wasn't moving too fast or slow and neither was it too cliché or cringe-y, overall, it was almost perfect. As perfect as a contemporary novel can be for me, anyway.