In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can't Google.)
What the book is about
Cath is a a very self conscious, introvert girl...except when she is only, writing fan fiction. While in school, she used to do so with her twin sister, Wren, but now that they are going to college, Wren wants to try to be more of an individual, less of a twin. Forced to meet new people and deal with it alone, Cath will have to deal not only with her own fears but also with Wren's college experience, her father's ups and downs and even confronting her mother, who left years ago.
What I seem to like from Rowell's books (I say seem, since this is only the second book I read from her) is that she writes young characters without them feeling like a caricature of young people and the fact that their biggest problem is not what to wear to prom, if you know what I mean. Her characters deal with bullying (Eleanor & Park) and mental issues (this book) as well as with daily life, classes, crushes, etc. So far her style is very compelling to me and hence I would like to read the rest of her work.
While I didn't love this book as much as I did Eleanor & Park I enjoyed it a lot. I think it was interesting to use twins to show how people can react so differently when exposed to the exact same situation as a child. When they were still living with their dad, they both took the role of adults (pretty much) however, once the "freedom" of college came along, both girls went into a extreme version of reclusion/party mode.
In general I liked the character construction, but I thought there would be a bit more of rounding up for the characters of Laura and Courtney, considering their effect in the story (no spoilers, I promise) and how the later was portrayed from the beginning.
The building of relationships amongst characters was a strong point for me too, maybe because it is hard for me to start new ones, not to the extent portrayed in the book, but still.
I think I could've done with the tiny excerpts of Simon Snow here and there just because for me they didn't add much to the story. I didn't need them to compare with the fanfic Cath wrote. It didn't bother me that it was obviously based in Harry Potter, because I think that was the whole idea, to use something a lot of people would be familiar with, she could've gone for any other series of books that had been so seriously used in fan fiction, but I don't see it as plagiarism as some people have pointed in their reviews.
It as a pleasant read, perfect for a relaxed weekend. Rebecca Lowman was a very nice narrator for this book.