This novel is the second book by New York Best Selling Author Rainbow Rowell. Her first novel (Eleanor and Park) is a bestseller worldwide and after reading that, I was expecting great things from this young adult contemporary. I wasn’t disappointed. This is one of the most relatable books I’ve read in quite a long time and I really, really enjoyed it.
The story is centred around Cath who is a shy, closed-off characters who is going to college with her twin sister Wren. Cath and Wren used to be inseparable but lately, they seem to be slowly falling apart. Cath would much rather have her own company; Wren is out partying and meeting new people. Cath is much more interested in the romances that she writes in her fan fiction; Wren has had more boyfriends than Cath has fingers. But, she can’t stay inside her shell forever and her new unlikely friends will make sure of that. Can she break out of her shell and put everything right with Wren? Can she steer her father back onto the right path in life and get out of college alive?
Firstly, Cath was a really great character. She stuck to her beliefs all the way through the book and she didn’t let anyone change them for her. She was very relatable to me, although I’m a little bit more outgoing than Cath. I’d ask where the dining hall is, if I didn’t know. I wouldn’t hide in my room snacking on peanut butter and protein bars. She was very family-orientated too and cared a great deal about her father and sister. I think she is also a very realistic character because I do know people like Cath who prefer their own company to others.
The rest of the characters were awesome too and I loved each and every one of them. Reagan was a really strong, female character and I felt I could relate to her a little too. She was passionate and strong-willed but then also cares about her friends and knows what she wants in life. Levi was a really nice guy and he cared a hell of a lot about his friends and family and was also a really strong character. He was such a nice guy but I don’t think I know anyone that nice in real life. Wren was a very real character too. She was embracing her new situation and taking control of it and I think she was very brave, if a little stupid at times.
Rainbow Rowell’s writing style is very addicting and engaging and I think it gives a really interesting and realistic outlook on situations. The dialogue in this book is great and really, really hilarious at times – especially in the scenes with Cath and Reagan. I also really liked the scenes with Cath’s dad because he felt like a very real single dad trying to raise two teenage girls on his own. I don’t think my dad would go quite as off the tracks but I know that he would struggle. All the extracts from the Simon Snow books (the books that Cath bases her fan fiction on) where really interesting too, especially when they mirrored what was going on in Cath’s life. I also liked reading the extracts that Cath wrote herself because I got a real insight into Cath’s head.
Overall, this is one of the most relatable and realistic books that I’ve ever read and I loved reading from Cath’s perspective – considering that she’s not the typical strong, feisty female lead. I’d give this book five out of five stars and I really recommend this one to you if you enjoy realistic, funny contemporaries.