Rainbow Rowell‘s foray into fan-fiction-obsessed teenagers is a delightful romp sparkled with elements of realistic edge. This book hit a bit of a nostalgic note for me as I was in college four years before the protagonist and had many friends who wrote fan-fiction and was plenty obsessed with quite a few fandoms at the time: Doctor Who and Sherlock being the largest. I have a thing for men with wonderful British accents and intelligence.
It reminded me what it was like to enter into a fandom without much thought – being able to easily float into the realms that were created that I felt were so real I could almost touch them. I read fan-fiction that was written (quite well, I might add) on ff.net and talked excitedly with equally geeky friends about our theories. We poured over the smallest minutiae – details that seem quite innocuous but were most decidedly put in the shows in order for superfans to delight and squeal over.
A part of me is still this way, but not in the squealing way, at least not as emphatically. I still enjoy both of those shows but not nearly with the same enthusiasm. I enjoy pouring over minutiae in any medium, be it text of a written nature or text of a film/television nature.
Rowell writes protagonists of this modern age rather well – these characters are often female with a predilection for fantasy and escapism and find the real world far more scary than inviting. Cather Avery is one of a set of twins who is obsessed with Simon Snow, a Harry Potter clone that Rowell develops for the purposes of this text. There are quite a few parallels to the Harry Potter world and, as a former Harry Potter nerd, this pleases me.
Cather develops a relationship with one Levi who is completely adorable and she is not sure how to proceed with said guy. She can write romance scenes between the two male leads in the Simon Snow books (Simon Snow and Baz, the vampire who is the antagonist – think of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, for context) without much thought but when it comes to romance in her own life, she is woefully under-prepared and finds real relationships frightening and nerve-wracking.
Her mother leaves her and her sister when they are eight, leading to a life that is wary of relationships. Her sister, Wren, goes in the opposite direction – which leads her to a series of boyfriends and eventually extreme drunken escapades. Their mother makes a reappearance but for a fantastically disappointing display. She really does not want any responsibility.
I found this novel to be quite enjoyable and an easy read between the two novels that I have undertaken recently. I liked the characters a lot and cheered when things were great and almost cried when things were uncomfortable. It reminded me of my youth and the people that were in it. Worth a read, for sure.