"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees
I read this after Eleanor & Park and liked it more. So much fun! Just like E&P it's sweet and humorous and cute, but one of the novel's main strengths lies in its authenticity. Rowell isn't merely someone observing fandom and fanfiction from the outside like a curious researcher; she's a fangirl herself, and she knows what she's writing about when she drops in-jokes and mentions terms like canon and betaing and slash.
But this book is ultimately not (just) about fanfic. It's about family, friendship and love, about opening yourself up to new experiences and new challenges. It has serious moments which do not detract from all the fun. The main character, Cath, made me roll my eyes sometimes (Earnestly, innocently submitting a fanfic for a fiction writing class assignment? Come on, girl. Subsequently dropping said class because she doesn't want to write anything but fanfic? Eyeroll #2.) and some conflicts do not get resolved (the mom issue) or get resolved too quickly (Cath giving up on finishing her fanfic on time after having one talk with her boyfriend near the book's end), but overall I really enjoyed this feel-good novel.