Cath and her twin sister Wren have always been close, and they’ve especially bonded over their love of Simon Snow, a Harry Potter-esque series of books with a huge fan base. Cath is even writing a slash fanfiction novel about Simon and Baz (think Malfoy from the HP books), with some help from Wren. But now that they’re starting their freshman year of college, Wren wants to branch out and meet new people — which means she doesn’t want to be Cath’s roommate. Which means Cath is all alone in a strange place, with a painful amount of anxiety and no idea where the dining hall is. Cath’s only solace is hiding out in her dorm room and writing fanfiction, but slowly she begins to make friends and come out of her shell. She even meets a boy and experiences the shock of falling in love for the first time. But can Cath embrace these new experiences and emotions without losing the person she’s always been?
I’ve absolutely loved both of Rainbow Rowell’s previous novels, Attachments and Eleanor & Park, so I had high expectations for this book; happily, I wasn’t disappointed! Cath is a character I can really relate to, as I think most readers and book bloggers can. She knows what it’s like to get lost in a fictional world and really engage with the characters in a book. I also really liked the way fanfiction is portrayed from various perspectives. There’s Cath, who uses it as an outlet for creative expression; her roommate and friends, who think it’s weird; her creative writing professor, who views it as plagiarism; and a devoted fan of Cath’s work who eagerly awaits each new installment of her fanficiton. The romance is very well done, as always, and I loved watching Cath slowly let down her defenses. I wasn’t nuts about all the excerpts from the Simon Snow books and Cath’s story, but other than that, I really enjoyed this book!