I guess I’ll start with the things I liked. First, the relationship between the MC, Cath, and her twin sister, Wren. It’s the twins’ first year of college and Wren is ready to branch out and make some new friends, while anxiety-prone Cath feels left behind. Very realistic dynamic. I also liked Cath’s relationship with her father, who suffered from bipolar disorder (I’m assuming), and with her roommate Reagan.
But while I liked all the relationships, I’m not sure I liked Cath herself. She felt a bit… whiny, I guess. Nothing was ever her fault, she was always the victim, and she didn’t seem to change or grow that much over the course of the book. And while I love love love to see portrayals of mental illness in YA books, I have no sweet clue what Cath is supposed to be portraying. Generalized anxiety disorder? Social anxiety disorder? Avoidant personality disorder? If you know (maybe Rowell has clarified somewhere?) feel free to let me know in the comments.
Honestly, at the end of the day, I think this is just a classic case of It’s Not You, It’s Me. This is a great book, and I can totally understand why so many people love it. It’s just not for me. I found the Simon Snow snippets boring, I couldn’t really relate to Cath, and I think it ran about 10 or 20K too long. But this is just my opinion — if you’ve read it, feel free to sound off in the comments, and if you haven’t, pick up a copy and see what you think 🙂