Cath and Wren (Catherine – get it?) 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 be an individual. Speaking as a twin myself, I know how this feels! It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes. Cath and Wren were obsessed with the fictional character of Simon Snow. He a little bit like Harry Potter (goes to a posh boarding school, has magical powers…) but the twist is that he shares a room with a vampire (Baz). Cath (magicath) writes a blog with over 10,000 followers which she updates every day. She used to do this with Wren but now Wren has joined the real world there is pressure on Cath to keep it going.
The blog follows a parallel story where Simon and Baz are secretly in love with each other but show their affection by trying to kill each other!
I really like Rainbow Rowell’s writing. She is funny and honest and fleshes out her characters so that you really get them. The interesting thing about this book is that she has two sets of stories going on, but by using the fictional world of Baz and Simon, Cath and Wren’s world seems more real. Cath’s moody room mate Reagan has a boyfriend called Levi, who is the total opposite of Reagan. It’s not really clear what their relationship is throughout the book but the romance building between Cath and Levi is lovely to read. Interestingly, Cath is marked down in her fiction course for writing fan fiction; the lecturer accusing her of plagiarism. This debates interests me. If you are using the characters and situations of an already published author, is it plagiarism if you are writing new conversations? In Cath’s blog, Simon and Baz are gay but in the original series they are not. Does that count? Something to think about…
I love these books, I love the characters and the story and the way nasty Nick gets his comeuppance – I even love the romance and I’m not a slushy person! She could have explored the girls’ relationship with their parents a bit more but the whole point of the book was that they were going to college so I see why she didn’t. It also opened my eyes to the whole fan fiction thing. I knew it was out there and what it was about but, I didn’t realise how popular it was and how dedicated some people were to it. Unless Cath is an extreme case of course! I found it fascinating that Cath was so obsessed with these fictional characters that that was all she could think about; putting her real life on hold. Great book – go read…

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