Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: January 30th, 2014
Cath and Wren are identical twins and have spent their lives doing everything together. Then, when they start university, Wren decides that they should start being independent people. Wren wants to party and meet boys but Cath is happy to continue writing her popular fanfiction and keep herself to herself. Cath is shy and suffers from social anxiety but during her first year of university she learns to be more open, trust other people and that there's nothing wrong with being yourself even when you don't fit in with the "norm".
Cath is a fan of the Simon Snow series of books (it's like Harry Potter) and writes fanfiction online. Her fanfiction is extremely popular and she has loads of hits and followers online but in real life she doesn't have many friends at all. I think a lot of people can relate to that. It was also fun, as a reader who gets excited about books, to read about the fangirling world. Whilst I haven't read any fanfiction, I could still relate to the obsession with a book series and the not wanting it to end.
I found Cath to be an extremely relateable character. Her experiences of first year university with anxiety reminded me of my own experiences. I understood her feelings and thoughts perfectly because I have experienced them myself. From loving a fictional world that nobody really gets to being anxious about things that some people wouldn't give a second thought. Being in new situations and not knowing what you're supposed to do can be quite daunting.
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)”The writing flows perfectly and it's the kind of book that you start and the next thing you know you're half way through with no knowledge of where the time went. Despite the fast pace, the side characters still had distinct personalities and I felt like I got to know them too. Levi is one of the sweetest characters and I absolutely loved his relationship with Cath. I was totally rooting for him.
I'm glad that Cath didn't change who she was in order to fit in. She didn't grow out of her hobbies or her interests. Cath developed and matured as a person a great deal throughout the book, and made new relationships, but she still loves to write her fanfiction. I loved that.
The only element that I didn't love was the snippets from the Simon Snow series (including the fanfiction). I think it was just difficult to appreciate because obviously the series isn't real and so we don't know the full story. I didn't like it in the same way that I don't like reading random excerpts from real-life books, because I feel like I don't know enough background information/plot to know what's really happening in the excerpt.
I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who suffers from anxiety, anyone who loves to fangirl or anyone who just loves a great story. I'm adding this straight to my all time favourite list.