This book was on my radar for quite a long time. I have heard great things about it, and enjoyed Eleanor and Park by the same author, so I decided since I am on a YA kick it was the perfect time to pick this up.
Cath loves fanfiction. She is a Simon Snow fan, and loves writing fanfiction about the characters, and has a huge online following. It was something she shared with her twin sister Wren, but while Wren has grown away from it, Cath just can’t seem to let it go. Cath and Wren are now in their first year of college, and everything is different. Wren feels college is a time for new experiences, and does not want to room with her. Cath’s new roommate Reagan is a little abrasive, and her maybe boyfriend Levi is always hanging around. Her classes are not going as expected, and the crush she has on one of her classmates just does not seem to be going anywhere. As Cath struggles with everything going on, her sister is partying a little too often and her dad is struggling mentally with work and having an empty nest. Cath throws herself into her fanfiction rather than her homework as a way to cope with everything going on around her.
I really enjoyed Cath’s character. As a socially awkward introvert, I understand her desire to hole up in her room with fictional characters and protein bars. I enjoyed the friendship Cath and Reagan created, and it reminded me a lot of being in university. I liked reading about a teacher who is so invested with the success of her student, and I remembered having a few of those rare and amazing teachers in school. I found Cath’s awkward relationship with Levi lovely, and it made me appreciate my fiancé just a little bit more.
I had a few criticisms. One was the character of Nick. I was as confused as Cath was trying to understand their relationship and what he brought to the story. He seemed so interested in her, but was really just using her (which I understood), but I didn’t understand his reappearance at the end. I appreciated the love the character had for fanfiction, and understood that as her fanfic was blazing towards its ending, so too was Cath’s story, but I really didn’t find the written aspect into the story relevant. I found I skipped the fanfiction parts entirely. I appreciated the story behind what happened to their mother, but found the reappearance of her rather irrelevant as well. I found the only thing that it did was illustrate how good the girl’s boyfriends were, which could have been done in other ways.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed this book. I liked that Simon Snow was a very thinly veiled Harry Potter, mainly because as an HP fan I get how strong the love for it can be. I enjoyed reading about the friendships made during that first tumultuous year of college, and could have read about Cath and Levi forever. I did not feel it was as good as Eleanor and Park, but it was still a nice story and one I would recommend giving a try, especially if you appreciate fanfiction!