by Rainbow Rowell
This is one of my book club’s picks for January. To be honest, initially I wasn’t too excited about it. A story centering around a girl who writes fan fiction? Meh. I’m not huge on fan fiction in general, mostly because so much of it is badly written but also because it strikes me as a bit obsessive. So I was already inclined to not really like the main character. I’m happy to say that, while my view of fan fiction remains unchanged, I did end up really liking this book. The main character, Cath, is awkward and this wry kind of funny. The under commentary you get from her narration in social situations is just spot-on and relatable. She’s just started college, and her twin sister (whom she’s always been close with) has decided she wants to strike out on her own, leaving Cath floundering with a seemingly hostile roommate and, you know, a world with boys in it. There’s family drama and school drama and boy drama, but with a good balance of humor and heart. It doesn’t come off as your cliched coming-of-age/growth story. It’s interspersed with snippets from the ‘real’ fantasy series Cath is a fan of (a Harry Potter-esque world) as well as her fan fiction snippets – neither of which particularly impressed or interested me. But they are incidental to the real story, so that’s ok. Overall, I did really enjoy this read, and will probably be picking up another of this author’s books.