My rating: 4/5
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?
I have heard Rainbow Rowell’s name for the past few years as I’ve attended a number of events like Books by the Banks and BookExpo. However, it wasn’t until a colleague recommended it to me – as we work in a college setting, it gave a different perspective of young adults that we may be unaware of as staff members. All I thought about throughout the fast-paced read was that I am Cath and my Simon Snow, spend all night writing addiction was with blogging and writing in general! I was not as shy and guarded as Cath was when I was a first-year student in college, but I chose to live in a substance-free residence hall because going out and drinking did not seem fun to me. Her drive to write and finding time and attachment to the characters for 5,000-10,000 words/night, is phenomenal!
Thinking about it more, Rowell basically wrote 3 stories – Fangirl; Simon Snow; and Carry on, Simon. That is a lot of intertwining and character development. I do wish there was more closure/resolve with her mom (Laura) and dad. Looking at the short story Cath wrote, initially it was going to be about her mom and it turned into maybe about her and Wren. I wondered what the final product was and if she decides to keep writing fiction or how she wrapped up Carry On, Simon or starts another fanfic?!! So many unanswered questions!
“‘Maybe for this story…you could start with something real. With one day from your life. Something that confused or intrigued you, something you want to explore. Start there and see what happens. You can keep it true, or you can let it turn into something else – you can add magic – but give yourself a starting point'” (Rowell 308)“Sometimes writing is running downhill, your fingers jerking behind you on the keyboard the way your legs do when they can’t quite keep up with gravity” (Rowell 426)