AUTHOR: Rainbow Rowell
PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillan
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
RATING: 4.5/5 Stars
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 would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there's 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...
What I Liked:
- Rainbow Rowell has completely proven to me that she understands how to write teens and young adults. In fact, she does so in such a natural, easy way that this book completely sucked me in and wouldn't let me go until the very end. I also adored that she handled particular topics: first-time at college and away from home (a topic I rarely see covered by authors) and first-time foreplay/sex (a topic I see covered BADLY too often). She impressed me with the latter particularly because the awkwardness, humour and fear were there (unlike other books where it's painted as this amazing thing filled with fireworks and rose petals) but it was still hot. I loved it.
- The characters were frustrating to read, and yet I loved that about them. I saw a lot of myself in Cath: anxious, unwilling to try in fear of getting it wrong, a hater of change, and misunderstood by most people. Her frustration with people who think drinking is fun and 'living' is also my own and it was so refreshing to find someone who felt the same way. The characters she surrounded herself with were flawed but likeable: Levi's tendency to say the wrong thing, Wren's constant selfish, bitch actions and words, Nick's arrogance, and even Reagan's jealousy and brashness. These characteristics I hated but I also liked that Cath didn't know perfect people because that's how the world is! I could see elements of these people in other people that I actually know and it was very comforting.
What I Disliked:
- This book is extremely slow in it's pace. It took me a long time to exactly understand where the plot was actually going and though Rowell's writing was great from beginning to end, it lacked direction from the start. That being said, this was pretty minor for me in the end because a slow build meant real relationships. None of this 'Oh I've met a boy, he's hot, I'm in love with him forever now'. Cath and Levi remained good friends throughout a large portion of the book and even that took time before they finally moved onto something more serious.
Yes, the book was slow and I normally hate books that take a while to get to the point. But, I must have been in an especially good mood while reading this because I actually appreciated the slow build in this case. Realistic characters, relationships, plot and settings are all things that Rowell seems to have pretty much mastered and I'm just sad that I didn't jump on the hype train sooner because my sister has been telling me to read Rainbow Rowell since forever. It might be a while before I revisit her books, but I definitely will!