Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genres: YA, Teen, Romance, Drama
Release Date: September 10th 2013
Where Acquired: Waterstones (Yes, somewhere different for once!)
Buy at Amazon Here
– Best Book Price: £3.85 Kindle Price: £3.66 (as of when posted)
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 realising that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.
This is going to be the most honest and personal review I have ever written on the Reading Rose. That is because I found that I related to Cath like I have never related to a character in a book ever before.
It could be partly down to the fact that Rowell has written Cath in such a way that makes it seem that she can just leap off the page mostly because Cath is so realistic.
It could also be down to the fact that the book is so true to life, an unusual style for me to encounter as even in the most seemingly down to earth teen, Ya, romance novels etc you still can’t always believe that what your reading could actually happen, Fangirl was a completely different case, it was believable. Very believable.
I think I related to Cath mostly though because of her personality and experiences. I saw myself in Cath on so many levels it just made this books so much more enjoyable for me, giving me hope that I could find a life and love like hers and Levi’s too.
The first thing I could relate to was her University experience. I too have just finished my first year and I could relate to the ups and downs that, that first year can bring. I wasn’t as brave as Cath to move out completely but I understood her fear at making friends and her fear of the social life of university, I am much the same. I would rather be at home typing on my computer than out getting drunk and partying like Wren. Rainbow captured the essence of university life perfectly, the fear of going to a new place and leaving your childhood behind, The first attempts at finals which can make you feel as if you are drowning. But she especially captured the way everyone always grows up after being at University, whether you live on campus or not.
I need to thank Rainbow Rowell for one thing in particular that is very personal to me. She described my social anxiety that I have been fighting for about three years exactly how I experience it. To see Cath going through it as well and slowly coming out of her shell just gives me hope for the future and made the book even more realistic for me than I could ever have imagined when I picked it up. I never imagined to go through such an emotional journey when I first read the synopsis and decided to buy this book. Regan is the perfect friend for anyone with social anxiety and it lead me to wish I had a Friend like that as well. Regan was understanding and never pushed Cath to do anything she didn’t want to do, but when Cath did want to try something new Regan was there to guide her through without leaving her side. Levi is also the perfect boyfriend and I fell in love with him instantly, as I am guessing, do most readers. He is gentle and never pressures Cath to do anything before she is ready. That is another thing that lead me to see myself in Cath; The smallest touches meant the world to her and she valued the small things rather than just jumping into bed with Levi as Wren did with her boyfriends. It made me feel happier that i wasn’t the only one to feel like this, even if Cath is a fictional character, Rowell must have gotten that idea or experience from somewhere.
Reading about Cath and Wren’s relationship even struck a nerve in my heart. Although my brother and I are not twins, we are incredibly close. When we argue it does feel like I am missing a part of me and like Wren, he is sociable and popular but always doesn’t mind coming home to enjoy watching a movie or hanging out with our family. For me it is like I can relate to nearly every detail in this book, and that is one of the reasons this book will most probably stay in my heart forever.
The biggest thing I related to though is being a Fangirl! Hurrah! A book for us ‘nerds’ who love to immerse ourselves in a world of fiction whether that be TV, Movies or books, it is all amazing! I mean my personal twitter username is even @Fangirl_of_lots. Finally a book that points out that us fandom obsessed human beings are not mad, or boring but are instead (in Cath’s case anyway) Awesome, intelligent and we can enjoy some form of a social life! It also helps that Rowell seems to be such a fangirl herself *High Five to the Fangirls Out there*
I enjoyed reading Cath’s Writing and the snippets from the Simon Snow books and fanfiction. I am a lover of fanfiction myself and can’t wait to actually read Carry On Simon because it actually exists! It did remind me a little of Harry Potter, and as that is one of my favourite things in the word, I loved it. I wish I could write as well as Rainbow but it has only been recently that I have been inspired to try and write my own stuff, so we shall see how that goes. Cath has amazing talent and dedication though so I will aim to be like her if I ever do manage to finish writing a whole book instead of the odd chapter.
Ultimately, I never expected to relate to a character this much and love a book so much for the emotional journey it took me through. The book was real. I never expected how realistic and relatable it was going to be when I picked it from the shelf based on reviews from other bloggers who’s opinions I value. It is an absolutely incredible book and I can’t describe how much I respect and love Rowell for creating something that I could see myself experiencing in real life if I was lucky.
Quotes (Sorry for all the Quotes, there are so many fantastic one liners, inspiration sentences and amusing strings of words in this book):
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”
“Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.”
“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”
“But you’re so helpless sometimes. It’s like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box.”
“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.”
“It’s okay if you’re crazy,” he said softly. “You don’t even know-” “I don’t have to know,” he said. “I’m rooting for you.”
“I don’t just kiss people. Kisses aren’t… just with me.”
“Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow”
“There are other people on the Internet. It’s awesome. You get all the benefits of ‘other people’ without the body odor and the eye contact.”
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-The Reading Rose