When I finished this book, my thoughts were pretty conflicted. After some careful thought, I finally came to the conclusion that this book was meant to target a certain audience: the nerds and the die-hard fans. Not all teens would be able to understand and relate to this novel, but I believe that that was the author’s intention. I personally enjoyed this story, since I know how it feels like to be obsessed with some fictional world, and that allowed me to relate to the main character, Catherine. However, it is hard to say whether or not you would be able to appreciate this novel, but I still believe that everyone should try it to get a taste of what a masterful author Rainbow Rowell is.
The author managed to make all of her characters so authentic. In most novels, the male romantic interests are always portrayed as these images of perfection and beauty. However, I am sure that everyone knows that no one is truly like that, and I was very impressed when the author acknowledged this and instead kept the necessary realness when describing the main male character, Levi. At some point in the novel, Catherine even stated that she thought Levi was not handsome, and compared her with her previous boyfriend, who was much more attractive. I adored this part, since the author beautifully portrayed love as enjoying someone completely regardless of physical appearance. Teen novels usually put such an emphasis on attractiveness in your love interest, that it almost seems like the most important part of a person. I love how no one in this novel were especially beautiful, but that never stopped them from seeing each other as the most breathtaking people on the planet.
Catherine was just like an ordinary girl, which is why I presume this novel became so popular. She constantly compared herself to her twin, who she felt was much more superior than her. Her insecurities and worried thoughts would definitely ring a bell to adolescents everywhere, since everyone goes through a phase of low self-esteem. Her worries about her new boyfriend and her school life are probably what would go through the heads of any teenage girl in her situation. What made this book so great in my eyes was the fact that Catherine sounded like me, but in words. She is such a relatable character, and I was thoroughly entertained by her understanding and frequent revelations. My only complaint about Catherine was the lack of a solid physical description of her. From the cover, I was able to infer what she looked like, but I believe that having the author explain how she looked would allow the reader to paint a clearer picture in her/his mind of what is happening in the story. Other than that, Catherine is a great protagonist in the fact that she isn’t exactly lovable, but rather her somewhat flawed logic and quirky apprehension make her sound like someone you’ve known your entire life and would enjoy spending time with.
I love the writing style, but the plot is somewhat odd. By the end of the story, I could see the moral and the lesson that the author wanted to be taken away, which is that everything will turn out fine in the end and that there is no need to run away from your fears. However, I was left with a feeling of incompleteness and disorientation. Most books end with a goodbye of sorts, when the characters part ways with the reader. However, although all the loose ends were tied, there was no formal goodbye. The author wrote the book as if it was going to go on forever, and I felt very confused when I came across the last page. If the author made it clearer to the reader that the book was to end, then the reader might be able to prepare themselves to leave the world that the novel has brought them to, instead of being dropped unexpectedly back into the real world.
Other than that complaint, I truly enjoyed this novel and could talk on and on about how many times I reread it and how I fell back in love with it every time. Although everyone can relate to Catherine’s amazingly written personality, not all teens can understand her obsession with the fictional world, which might hinder your levels of enjoyment. I personally think that everyone should try reading this book since it is so wonderfully written, almost as if the author figured out how to put feelings in words. Check this book out to develop an opinion of your own, and you might actually come to adore it like I have.