I don’t read fanfiction because I don’t have time, but I DO know that it is a weird thing that exists. DON’T BE OFFENDED, ff afficionados. It’s like when people say, The internet is weird, and you’re like, Yes it is. Because even though the internet is full of friendship and creativity and humor, it’s also full of stuff like this:
So to recap: fanfic is a thing. Cath used to co-write it with her twin sister, Wren, but they’ve drifted apart and now Wren doesn’t even want to room with her when they go to college and Cath is like, FEELINGS. Also, Cath is a massive hit in
Harry/Draco Simon/Bas fic (straight up it is Harry Potter, even though this is a universe where the HP series also exists, and at one point Cath is called out by an English teacher for her fanfic being plagiarizing, and I LAUGHED OUT LOUD because literally no one in the series is like, BUT SIMON IS A BLATANT RIP OFF OF HARRY IT’S NOT EVEN SUBTLE).
What was I? Ok, Cath and Wren go to college and Cath is UXXXXTRIMMMMMLY introverted and Wren is a good time girl and they drift still further, and Cath’s roommate is rude in a way that eventually becomes endearing (to both you and Cath) and her boyfriend is charming and always around and there’s this boy in her fiction-writing class…you know. College stuff.
And Cath has to figure out how to navigate between her fanfic world (where she’s comfortable and popular) and the real world, and to balance her priorities (finishing her fanfic before the ‘real’ final book in the series comes out vs. finishing finals and taking care of her occasionally-manic father and dealing with the reappearance of her long-vanished mother and becoming less of a socially hopeless nerd, and also boys. College stuff).
And remember how funny Attachments was? THIS IS THAT FUNNY. Cath is thinking about texting her lame boyfriend back home, first day of college and all, but ‘[i]f you come off all moody and melancholy in a text, it just sits there in your phone, reminding you of what a drag you are.’ Or, when Cath is telling the roommate’s boyfriend about how Simon and Baz are actually obsessed with each other, she tells him, ‘Simon spends the entire fifth book following Baz around and describing his eyes. It’s like a thesaurus entry for “gray.”‘
ORRRR (last one, I swear) when Cath calls her dad and he answers the phone stating who is speaking, and is all, ‘I don’t like hello. It makes me sound like I have dementia, like I’ve never heard a phone ring before and I don’t know what’s supposed to happen next. Hello?‘
And then, of course, while I love a funny book, I love it more if it includes heartbreak and triumph and failure and betrayal and KISSY TIMES. Also, snippets of the ‘real’ Simon books and Cath’s fanfic are interspersed throughout, and not only do the excerpts have their own internal logic (like, they read like they’re bits from another, totally coherent series) but they (each) sound like they’re written by different people WHO ARE NOT RAINBOW ROWELL.
(Did I mention that I picked it up one afternoon and charged through it, stopping only to be like, Ugh, I have to go to bed now, or to a pumpkin festival with my child, and I finished it the next day. It’s, like, 430 pages.)
To sum up: