Do you read and/or write fanfiction to your favorite book series? Did you ever feel like people outside of the fandom “just don’t understand”? Welcome to Cath Avery’s world. In Rainbow Rowell’s latest young adult novel, Cath is just starting her freshman year of college in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is also a HUGE Simon Snow fan! She and her twin sister Wren were engrossed in the Simon Snow book series as kids. They both started writing a fanfiction story called Carry On, Simon!
But now that they are staring college, Wren thinks it’s time to put aside childish things. She insists that they live in separate dorms and meet new people. But this is the easiest for Cath, who is more introverted and doesn’t deal with new situations very well. She ends up with a surly roommate who has an always-around charming boyfriend. She also has to deal with a fiction writing professor who think fanfiction isn’t real writing and a cute classmate who only wants to talk about writing.
I completely loved this book. It took me back to my freshman year of college with all its difficulty, uncertainty and awkwardness. While I never wrote fanfiction, I read plenty of it. I loved reading about this fangirl and my heart completely goes out to her as she is navigating a brave new world. I love any writer who not only created a great story but creates a story within a story. We get to read Cath’s fanfic and excerpts from the fiction Simon Snow series (a hilarious Harry Potter stand in). There are so many inside jokes and pop culture references that I was LOLing quite a lot.
I liked this book so much that I listened to the audiobook even after I had read it in print. Maxwell Caulfield narrated the Simon Snow excerpts at then end of each chapter. Amazing! As a longtime fangirl of certain books, TV shows and music, I can now add Rainbow Rowell to that list. I am hooked!