I enjoyed the story of Cath and her sister Wren, two young women in their freshman year of college who are trying to come to terms with growing into adulthood. Wren is launching herself into her idea of adulthood, with wild parties and brutal separation from her family. The unsociable Cath is warding off adulthood by clinging to the tokens of her childhood and responsibilities to her family, but is
finally dragged into the bewildering world of adulthood by the friends and boyfriend she tried not to make and her father’s insistence that growing up means creating a life beyond the safety of immediate family.
I liked that both characters grew over the course of the book, but still retained their essential selves. I liked that the consequences for recklessness didn’t have to include sexual assault as a plot device, as so commonly found in other books. I thought the “Simon Snow”/Harry Potter knockoff was funny, and having been a reader of HP fanfiction myself, I enjoyed the whole fanfic subplot as well, although I found it a little incredible that a popular author of fanfic would be naïve enough to turn in her fanfic in a college-level creative writing class, and to be hurt and surprised when her professor called it unoriginal and plagiarism.
Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Rebecca Lowman provides a terrific performance, with Maxwell Caulfield reading all the “Simon Snow” excerpts.
I read this for the 2017 Romance Bingo, for the New Adult square. I think it could fit these other squares:
Young Adult: I genuinely think this belongs in New Adult, but because the main characters are still in their teens, the “voice” is that of teens, and there’s no explicit sex, you could argue that it fits YA too.
Key to My Heart: She falls in love, almost against her will, and through this new relationship learns to open her heart to others.
Twins: Cath and her sister are identical twins, and there’s even a few scenes with college douche-bros doing the whole, “whoa, twins, my sexual fantasy” thing, and even better, some decent guys calling them on it.
Fairy Tale Retelling: A bit of a stretch, but I’d argue that the “Simon Snow” tale is a retelling of and AU Harry Potter, and Cath’s fanfic is a retelling of an AU Simon Snow.
Guy/Girl Next Door: Cath’s new boyfriend
is literally her roommate’s friend and a constant visitor in her room, and he definitely has that boy-next-door persona