I never know to say in these things. I guess that says something about me. I read a lot, write stories, and like books. I like a good debate. Nothing else is to say. :-)
I have to admit, I don't read a lot of contemporary YA novels...or adult novels for that matter. I feel like I get enough real life...in real life....so I tend to stick to magic and dragons and the heaving bosoms of the Ton. Escape. But after 4 straight books of that, I needed a break. This book was highly recommended, and a couple months ago, was on sale in eBook format...two things I can't resist. And I am glad for it, because this was quite a lovely change of pace.
What I loved.
1. Baz and Simon aka Harry and Draco. Yeah, I caught that. I loved the not so subtle nod to the Harry Potter books and fandom. The writer is so well versed on the ins and outs and nooks and crazies of the fandom and fan fiction world, that I am suspicious of her. I wonder what her pen name was....*winks*. And I know that fandom and ships a little too well. Pull up a chair kids and I will tell you a story about back in my day. :-D. The minutes, hours and days I spent reading Harry Potter fan fiction, and fangirling with others about the stories and authors, and having long discussions about the development of the character...or lack of it. Typing long rants about the tiniest details of everything. I think I spent a good five years like this:
*accurate representation of me
That world was so easy to fall into, and so easy to find acceptance and a place to belong, that it was easy for me to relate to Cath and to why she felt more comfortable in that world. To her, that was home, and not the real world where she was full of anxiety and fear almost every minute. Where she saw herself as a failure at life. In fandom, she was everything she wasn't in real life: brave and outgoing, and pretty--a star. It is easy to understand her and her attachment to these book, and her stories, which are the two things that are reliable in her life. They would never leave her or disappoint her. Her stories and Simon became her reality. I loved how the book was formatted with the mixture of snippets from the Simon Snow books, and with pieces of Cath's stories, giving both of them equal weight and standing. Because to Cath, they were the same, even within the fantasy world of Simon Snow, she created her own reality, and it was all one and the same in her head. Right until the end...when she finally merged them all together with her real life. It was very nicely done.
2. I loved that not everything had a happy ending. Cath is not magically healed, she still has her hang-ups and setbacks...but she has learned to cope better. Her mother and her did not magically come together. Because, Cath, rightfully so, is angry and hurt and her mother's actions is not something that can easily be forgiven or fixed with a few words and gift. I liked that her father and his issue were not glossed over. He is cool and loves them and tries his best, but he is not always capable of taking care of them, much less himself. And he would always be that way. So I liked that the characters were able to keep their imperfections and still written as lovable. If that made sense.
3. Witty dialogue and cute romance. Not much to say about that. I like a good chat and turn of phrase. lol. This had plenty of laughs. I also like getting the giggles and being able to coo at cute romances. The slow build up of Cath's relationships was just right. For a while there, there was a tease of a love triangle...which I AM TIRED OF.....but thank god it was just a tease. There was only one from the beginning to the end, and that was just the way I liked it.
1. Levi was a bit too good to be true. Just too perfect, don't know...that left me slightly unsatisfied. But, I'm the type of person that reads Harry Potter...and their favorite character to Draco. I like characters that are grey, gold, with just a bit of tarnish. The issue with Levi was not bad enough to make him cookie cutter.....the balance was good. But he was almost there.
2. Reagan. I loved what I saw of her, but I wanted...more. I thought she could have been fleshed out more. You know, given a bit more insight into her character, maybe a bit more conflict. She also felt, more so than Levi, a bit too close to cardboard cutout. I need conflict I guess, or just greedy.
But all in all excellent book. Near perfect.