Cath was not just a Simon Snow fan. She was an über Simon Snow fan who actually had followers of her own. How? Cath wrote fan fiction. More specifically, she wrote Simon/Baz fan fiction. And her story, Carry On, got tens of thousands of hits every time she posted a new chapter. While I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that Cath entered college with the intention to be a fiction writer, I was interested in how she struggled with creating stories all her own even though the fan fiction flowed so easily for her. And even more than that, I was impressed by how wholly I found myself being absorbed into Cath’s everyday life and her struggle to adjust to the new realities of her life as a college freshman.
On the surface, my experiences as a college freshman wasn’t much, if anything, like Cath’s. She and her twin sister, Wren, attended the same college but ended up living in separate dorms. [My sister and I aren’t twins and didn’t attend the same school.] Cath didn’t have any friends and wasn’t really interested in making friends or dating because her social anxiety often left her feeling on edge. [I went away to college with my high school sweetheart and a few other people from my high school, and I managed to make more friends pretty early on by joining the college radio station.] Cath was worried about her dad, who would have to learn to manage his manic tendencies without his girls to keep him in check. She didn’t know her mother because she left when the girls were only 8 years old. [My parents were still married, were both still a part of my life, and weren’t struggling with mental illness.] Much like when I was reading Eleanor & Park, I found that the details of the main character’s life didn’t have to match up for the story to touch me on an almost spiritual level. Maybe it’s because there is just something so fundamentally *real* about Rainbow Rowell’s characters? Maybe they are people I could see myself being friends with? I only wish I could find the right words to make people understand how it is that I find them so relatable even when they seem nothing like me!
The one major complaint I had about this story was that I wanted to know more about Simon Snow. I enjoyed the passages that supposedly came from the Simon Snow books and from Cath’s fan fiction… but I wanted to be able to read all of the Simon Snow books and watch the movies, too! I was absolutely delighted, therefore, when I saw an announcement [last week] about the cover art reveal for the Carry On book from Rainbow Rowell, which is due out in October! (The book was apparently announced back in December, but it probably didn’t register on my radar because Carry On didn’t mean anything to me until I read Fangirl.) You better believe I immediately signed in to my book ordering account and added this title to my pre-order list. I’m just hoping, now, that I will find lots of other stuff to read and keep my mind off Carry On so I don’t go crazy waiting.