Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: Septemeber 10th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Number of Pages: 445
Summary: Cath is a Simon Snow fan.
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…
But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
“You give away nice like it doesn’t cost you anything.”
I would be fibbing if I blatantly said, the novel wasn’t very cute: exhibit A above. Simple plain Cath, Levi who was the definition of sweet and the story all about fanfiction, the world of fandoms and simply fangirling. I won’t lie and say I’ve never fangirled before in my whole life ( I dabble in the Swiftie fandom on Tumblr…). This book intrigued me immediately. It was cover lovely and everybody talked about it, so I did decided to read it. I’m extremely sad to say I was disappointed. So much so, that I don’t know if I want to read another one of Rainbow Rowell’s novels. I’m sure that they are somebody’s taste, unfortunately just not mine. What I didn’t like in an organized list.Later, you will see some parts that I did enjoy don’t worry.
Quick side summary, the novel follows Cath who is never as “good” as her twin Wren. They’re going to college and Cath writes fan fiction and can’t quite let it go. The story follows her breaking through her shy self and her writing in university.
Parts I didn’t enjoy 😦
- The writing style was bland and bored me
- The characters were too simple and not developed
- The Simon Snow plotline being like Harry Potter
- The actual plotline of the novel, even more uneventful/surprising
The problem with third person writing, is I never want it to be stating facts or events. I don’t need somebody to list out events, I need a story to be alive. I want feelings, opinions, extreme emotions, arguments, anything! Connection with the reader is essential and I have seen third person pulled off well before. Most of the time in a novel with more action, for example any Cassandra Clare novel. I just could not stand it in a contemporary novel where third person lacks in not connecting with me on a personal level. I couldn’t get into Cath’s head at all.
“Cath closed her eyes. She could feel their desks creaking. She could smell their deodorant.”
Not to mention in this quote, everything felt broken up to me. Choppy sentences listing things that I could not use to understand this character better.
Not only could I not understand the supposedly relatable characters, the underdog Cath for example, they were not developed. After reading the entire novel, I still felt like the only characteristic I took from her was, I’m not as good as my twin Wren and I am self conscious. That was it. I wanted complexity, in real life one person is never just one personality. We should never have our personal stories simplified, not should we be stereotyped into the smart girl, the boring girl, the underdog, the fangirl, the outcast, the writer. This is really all we get out of her. It is exaggerated and misrepresents a fangirl who can be social too, unlike Cath who does not get out of her room for the longest time.
“Cath shrugged. She and Wren weren’t even talking much, let alone fighting. ‘Wren just wants more . . . independence.’ ‘Sounds reasonable,’ he said. Of course it does, Cath thought, that’s Wren’s specialty.”
“But Cath could never get that haircut now, even if she could work up the courage to cut off fifteen inches. She couldn’t single white- female her own twin sister.”
Simon Snow and Baz is basically Harry Potter with the names changed. It bothers me because it felt too easy. I wish the story was original instead of taking a popular story and changing the names like that for a novel.
“Simon Snow is a series of seven fantasy books written by English philologist Gemma T. Leslie. The books tell the story of Simon Snow, an 11- year- old orphan from Lancashire who is recruited to attend the Watford School of Magicks to become a magician. As he grows older, Simon joins a group of magicians— the Mages— who are fighting the Insidious Humdrum, an evil being trying to rid the world of magic.”
The real plot of the novel was unoriginal to me. I could guess the whole plot before I read the book and prayed there would be a plot twist. There wasn’t anything I couldn’t see like a love triangle and falling for the nice guy. Not getting along with her twin. It was very typical. If I do read another book by Rainbow Rowell, I hope it has some twists and turns.
Finally, parts I did like 🙂
- The easy read
- The relationships
Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have an easy read. The novel did flow, even if the plot lacked in every way possible. Events flowed like real life in universities and I did think the university campus was represented well. Cath actually went to school. She wrote papers. She talked to her professors. Unlike, other YAs where the school aspect is ignored. Literally, when I went into high school I thought it was all about drama and friends just because of these books and movies where nobody did homework! Hmmm… Clueless, Mean Girls, The D.U.F.F to list a few.
The relationships were perfected at a nice pace. There was not insta-love insta-hate. The roommate situation was realistic. University roommates are not instant besties and very much so, it is about compromising. Rainbow Rowell deserves a round of applause for this.
Overall, the novel was not that good to me. I do think it is overrated, but it is an easy read and by any means, if you’re looking for one of those: go for it! Another review and another tea recommendation. First off…
2.5/5 Cups of Tea or 3/5 (I kind of want to round because even though I didn’t quite like it, I believe in second chances)
I recommend my current favourite tea: The Peach and Ginger Tea. It is not too sweet, but very cool for a hot summer day, very much like this novel. This is the brand that I purchased. Why yes, it is some fancy British tea. I’m just kidding, it’s normal tea, but who says I can’t raise my pinky while I drink some? 🙂