Cath has always had her twin, Wren, to rely on. But now that they're starting college, Wren wants some time apart - throwing Cath's life into a loop.
Separated from her sister, Cath holds her fanfiction of Simon Snow close to her heart. But as she goes through the school year, she begins to find that real life might just have as many twists and turns as her stories.
When she meets Levi, she begins to wonder a real-life love story is something worth taking a chance on.
I purposely saved this for my freshman year of college after hearing so many people talk about how much they could relate to Cath. That proved to be true, especially with a particular line about everyone on campus being white. That line made me laugh to myself because I remember thinking that after moving to the US for college. It was nice knowing that even in that little sentence, I could relate to Cath and the book already.
Like a lot of people said, I found this incredibly relatable to my first semester. Being only part of the way through my second semester right now, I'm not sure that it will quite end up the way Cath's did, but I can say that my first semester definitely had its awkward moments too. I may not have been too nervous to go to the cafeteria, but I sat by myself for the first few weeks to a month before finding a group of people whom I sat with regularly. Actually, come to think of it, I think one of my friends adopted me as a friend because I always sat by myself.
It was really easy to get into the story, and I had no trouble with getting in and out of it whenever I had to put it down for some reason or another. Everything flowed very nicely, and despite the book being set over the course of Cath's entire freshman year, I didn't feel like anything was dragged out or rushed.
I have to admit that I cringed a little when the romance first started because Levi wasn't exactly what I expected him to be. People always talked about how great of a guy he is, and though I came to agree with that by the end of the book, I thought that it was a little weird in the beginning. It took about half the book for me to really warm up to him, and after that, I loved him and the romance. I wish there were a little more about the romance, but what I got was satisfactory.
Rainbow Rowell is pretty famous for her open endings, and that was something I didn't really like when I read Eleanor & Park a couple of years ago. This time, however, I liked that it was more open. I still had some questions, but my copy of the book had a section at the end where Rainbow answered a few questions. I would actually not mind seeing an entire series that follows Cath's time at college, continuing with her sophomore year. It would be fun to see where she ends up, though I suppose that the end of the book kind of already hints at that.
I really liked Cath, and while there were a few moments when I wanted to yell at her for a decision she was making, I did find that I was able to relate to her in multiple ways. Her love of reading and writing reminded me very much of myself and the days when I tried my hand at fanfiction and fail epically. I thought that she was a really interesting main character and I would like to get a chance to see more of her life.
I'll readily admit that I didn't really like Levi when he first appeared in the book. I thought that he was kind of weird and nothing like the Levi I had heard so much about. But as time and the book went on, I began to understand why everyone liked him so much. By the time I got to the end of the book, I developed a great appreciate for his character. While I can't say that I love him as much as a lot of other people do, I do think that he has great qualities and there were definitely moments when he made my heart flutter.
5 stars. I highly recommend this book to anyone in their freshman year, or even after. I think that even if you've graduated, there's a level of appreciate you'll have for how Rainbow Rowell captures the trials and awkwardness of freshman year. If you get the chance to pick this up, do it.