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Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible …

A tale of fanfiction, family, and first love

I loved reading this book for a number of reasons, but mainly because I could completely and utterly relate to the main character Cath. Her social anxiety, her ability to deal with people, the fanfiction, even the fact that she’s a twin (I am too). My anxiety isn’t as bad as hers, but it’s there, it exists.

I don’t usually go for books like this. I’m usually into the fantasy and sci-fi so it was actually quite refreshing to read something like this, with completely relatable events. One of my best friends and I would sit in class together, Maths or the form group typically, and write our fan fiction together. We would spend a lot of time on fanfiction.net. This book made me want to write my own fan fiction again.

The plot is fairly simple: Cath and her twin go to university. Wren is outgoing, confident and able to deal with social situations. Cath is much more reserved, hard to make friends with, hard to come out of her shell. She is writing a popular fan fiction for her favourite book/movie series called Simon Snow – which can only be an allegory to Harry Potter, and the Harry Potter fandom, even though Harry Potter is mentioned once or twice at the beginning of the book. Cath has spent a few years working on this one fic, and it’s nearing the end, and is feeling the pressure of ending the fic alongside all her school work.

Through the book we see how vastly differently the two twins deal with university life. Whether it’s Wren’s partying and the consequences she suffers later on, Cath making what she thought was a friend, Levi, Reagan, their father. I thought that it was all very well written and thought out, to the point that I could even suggest that this could be one of the best books that I have read this year. In fact, it’s embarrassing that it’s taken me so long to get to it (it was a birthday present back in March).

If there is one thing to mention though, it would be the fan fiction itself. In terms of Cath’s writing/community I felt that there was something missing. I was in that world, I’ve made lifelong friends from it, but where were Cath’s? She mentions several times about having friends in the internet, about not being alone, but there’s no interaction with them. I feel like some sort of communication with them would have helped seal this more effectively. I just didn’t feel as though Cath was connected to these people.

What did you think of this one? I definitely enjoyed, although probably wouldn’t consider reading “Carry On, Simon,” Cath’s fan fiction… I found the whole idea of Simon Snow really…. boring? Not sure if that’s the right word, but Rainbow Rowell is releasing the fan fiction as an original story in December, I believe…

Let me know what you think!