Rating: 5/5 Stars
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?
I adored this book. I fell in love with Cath and her passion for writing fan fiction, teen angst, and her coping with all life has to throw at her. She has a twin sister, Wren, who she has always been close with. They have lived with their father after their mother left them at a young age. This has scarred Cath and she fell in love with the world of Simon Snow, a series of books about a boy who is very much like Harry Potter. She immerses heself in his world and is one of the most popular authors of its online fan fiction.
As Cath and Wren enter college Wren feels it is best if they don’t room together. Wren wants to meet other people and Cath feels quite the opposite. She has a tough time adjusting to life apart from Wren. She also has a tough time being apart from their mentally fragile father who she fears will not take care of himself while they are away at school. Cath winds up rooming with Reagan, an upper classman, whose ex-boyfriend Levi is always hanging around their room.
I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing style. I felt Cath’s pain when she feels her sister has abandoned her for new friends. I felt Cath’s worry when she is away from her father and is constantly texting or phoning to check up on him. I felt her anger at her mother for leaving. It made me think of the documentary “Tom Felton Meets the Superfans” where Tom Felton (Harry Potter’s Draco) travels to meet and interview 3 Harry Potter superfans. One of these fans was a young woman who connected with Harry Potter at a time in her life where she was going through the throes of depression as a teenager. She compared her depression to the Dementors sapping the life out someone and she was able to immerse herself into the world of Harry Potter to find escape from her problems and it eventually motivated her to get help. Cath immerses herself into the world of fan fiction and the world of Simon Snow to escape from her real world problems and feelings of abandonment. She is a wonderful writer and is studying writing in college.
I couldn’t put this book down. I enjoyed following Cath on her college journey where she finds her way and her strengths and overcomes school, family and relationship struggles. I had read Carry On first, which is a sort of sequel to this book. It is the story of Simon Snow that Cath writes in her fan fiction. Rainbow Rowell does a wonderful job of getting into the head of a young woman and conveying her thoughts and emotions to the reader.