5 out of 5 stars
I feel like I'm the last person in the world to read this book, even though it just came out this past September. There has been so much hype in the blogosphere (rivaling TFIOS mania) and I was a bit leery at first about it. But then my library hold came in and I started reading it Saturday afternoon (at the library!) and I stopped briefly to drive home and eat dinner and then I read...and read and read until I finished it around 11pm. And now I am a Rainbow Rowell convert and I must have ALL THE BOOKS!! :)
I didn't know a whole lot about this book going into it, in fact I thought Simon Snow was a rockstar not a book. Oops. But then when I figured out that he was actually a Harry Potter-esque boy in a huge book series, that just made it all that much better. This book really feels like the ultimate thank you to JK Rowling for all her hard work on Harry Potter. And that is awesome. But then it goes so much deeper than that and you start having feelings and then you cry and laugh and it's just ugh. I'm trying not to fangirl too much here, but it's hard!
Cather and her twin sister Wren (another confession: I didn't get their names until Levi did) are starting their freshman year of college and for the first time ever, they are going to be living separate lives. For Cath, it was not by choice. She is perfectly happy being a twin, a matching pair, but her sister is ready to be an individual so she requests different dorms and totally different class schedules. Cath is pretty upset by this, understandably, but she is devastated when Wren doesn't want to do their fanfiction for Simon Snow anymore either. Cath has developed a huge following with her stories and Wren doesn't care anymore. The mixture of the real story and the Simon Snow story by made-up author Gemma T Leslie and the fanfiction by Cath is a little confusing at first, but you get into the rhythm pretty quickly. I loved loved loved Cath's twist on Simon and Baz's relationship. Like seriously, I would read all kinds of stories about that.
Cath and Wren's relationship is strained to say the least. Both girls were pretty damaged when their mother left them as children. The girls and their father were broken for a long time and all 3 still show signs of not being totally okay. The discussion of mental health and getting the help you need was refreshing to see in a young adult book. Cath is probably, in most people's minds, a typical fangirl/blogger...a little bit nerdy, quiet on the verge of being mute, unable to make real relationships or see when people actually want to be her friend. Her upperclass(wo)man roommate, Reagan, is pretty anti-social herself but even she tries to bring Cath out of her shell. And then there's Reagan's male friend, Levi. Oh yes, Levi. Slightly weird looking, always smiling, and always trying to get Cath to react/interact. You see where that's going, right? I don't have to spell it out for you? I knew y'all were some smarty pants!
This may just be the perfect book for me. And maybe for you? I think so. :)
It's got it all...book talk within a book (and within a book?), romance, humor, sister relationships, father/daughter relationships, mother/daughter relationships, Harry Potter fanfic, school, snow, sweaters...
"Look at you. All sweatered up. What are those, leg sweaters?" [Levi]
"They're leg warmers." [Cath]
"You're wearing at least four different kinds of sweater."
"This is a scarf."
"You look tarred and sweatered."
This review written with the help of Fangirl mixes on 8Tracks. Check them out! :)