Cath would much rather live in the Simon Snow universe than her own. Simon and Baz are the only ones she has in this confusing world of college, especially since her twin sister Wren has decided that she would be better off alone. How is Cath going to survive?
I surprised myself by how much I liked this book. Like, I expected myself to hate it because I have a meh relationship with Rainbow Rowell but I didn’t!
Of course, I still had some quibbles but it didn’t destroy my reading experience.
I get extremely nervous when I talk to other people and in my job, I have to interact with kids and parents on a daily basis. It’s hard for me to maintain eye contact and Cath had the same problem so this made her approachable from my angle.
Cath obviously had some social anxiety and I could relate to that. It was surprisingly painful to see how much I could see myself in her (even though I don’t write fanfiction) so that was very well-written. Throughout the entire book, Cath was awkward and unconfident but she grew to be more comfortable in her skin and her life and in this book, that theme is paramount.
While Cath is likeable enough, I wanted to scream at her at a certain point in the story. And that was her insistence that she did not plagiarize. My mind could not wrap around the fact that she could not accept that she had just stolen (or “borrowed”, in her words) someone else’s work. And it further annoyed me that she did not realize how fortunate she was to have such a generous professor who gave her chance after chance and how willing she was to squander each and every one of them.
Levi was so sweet. Honestly, he’s like the perfect boyfriend. He accepts everything weird and awkward about Cath and who wouldn’t want that sort of person in their life? I wanted to grab him in a big hug.
Nick. Bah. Ugh. I wanted to smack him upside the head everytime I saw him. Kudos to Rowell for writing a very real and very rage-inducing character. My toes are curling up just thinking about him. So let’s move on, shall we?
Wren, the twin sister. Can we take a moment to appreciate the names of the two girls? Cather-Wren. I laughed so hard at that. Anyway, despite Wren being acerbic and unpleasant in the first half, I did emphasize with her. She thought the only way to have her own identity was to cut all ties with Cath. The rounding-off of her arc was done nicely with a good resolution and did justice to her as a character. Although her reunion with Cath was a bit rushed to my taste.
I liked how Reagan was written. She reminded me a lot of my friends where most of their are spitefully good-natured. I just wish that she was more present instead of being handed the role of “the roommate”. She was never really around in the story except to act as Cath’s back-up.
There were times when I disliked Cath and that occurred in her thoughts about Levi. I felt like she looked down on Levi a lot. She ridicules his inability to read books and despite her eventually accepting that he was a different kind of smart, I still felt like she was unconsciously looking down on him even after they were dating.
But still, I found the romance cute. Really, very, wholeheartedly adorable. It was tentative and slow-burning and-and it wasn’t insta-love! Nope. Cath took some time to warm up to Levi and then she fell headfirst in love. Be still, my feverishly-sprinting heart.
Now those excerpts from Carry On. I’ll admit that sometimes I didn’t feel like it added anything to the story. A sort of commercial break. And yes, it screams of Harry Potter but dangit, the writing was really good there. I was completely swept up in the story and the romance between Simon and Baz. There were a few times when I was looking forward to reading them. I felt like one of the thousands of readers on Fanfixx, waiting for the next chapter from Magicath.
However, there was no plot. It was basically a slice of life. There’s nothing wrong with character-driven stories since all of the characters were extremely well-written but then you get to the point where you ask yourself “Now what?”
Overall, I liked this book a great deal. Rowell’s writing is addictive and concise, there is no doubt about that. The romance was unbelievably sweet. This is a book about a girl being strong and independent but that does not mean that she’s alone.