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for Learning Curve

7/25 c1 8Kaguya 2.0
Hello, rebecca-in-blue, I’m here from WA’s shorter review game. I’m mostly fandom-blind, but that didn’t prevent me from being able to understand and enjoy this sweet little story.

I like the basic idea behind this fic quite a bit: a freshman guy far from home gets taken under the wing of an older student, with whom he shares a lot of things in common. Because of his growing friendship with Simon, who is as far away from home as he is and has already faced similar struggles, Ryan has the opportunity to learn that he can get through the disorientation and homesickness of the beginning of college life. And by learning about Simon’s estrangement from his sister, he becomes ever more determined to keep in touch with his own sister even though they are far away. It’s a wholesome, feel-good message.

Your SPAG was perfect as far as I could see. I don’t have anything to nitpick about there. :)

Ryan and Simon come off as somewhat well-differentiated characters to me. They seem to have similar laid-back, artistic and deep-feeling personalities, but the difference between them in age and experience sets them off. Simon is clearly comfortable with being a leader, and you show this in the way that he casually runs around on the first day helping all the confused freshmen he can, and breaks up the fight in Ryan’s dorm. Ryan, justifiably, is a lot less sure of himself, and yet I got the feeling that his future self could be similar to Simon. Perhaps that’s why you chose to have these two characters meet?

I did think that this story could be expanded on quite a bit. I would have liked to see a deeper exploration of Ryan’s homesickness and his relationship with Sharpay, as well as Simon’s feelings about being estranged from Ruthie. I feel you’ve only scratched the surface with this fic. On the other hand it seems that you intended this to be a light fluff piece, so YMMV.

I found myself wondering a lot about Ryan’s fear that Simon won’t like him if he finds out he’s gay. Does that fear ever materialize? I understand that you want to keep the focus on these two young men and their relationships with their sisters. But since you mentioned it as a potential conflict for Ryan, I feel that it should have been addressed within this story, even if only in passing.

Finally, I thought this fic was quite heavy on “telling” rather than “showing.” I’d especially recommend more “showing” in the opening paragraph in which Ryan first arrives at his college. Some suggestions: how exactly is he struggling with his luggage when Simon kindly steps up to help him? Is he trying to lug his suitcase up a flight of stairs? Is he chasing after it as it rolls down a hill? Does it burst open because he packed too much, and he’s trying to cram everything back in? I think more details like that would have helped me better to get immersed into this world. The dinner at which Ryan overheard that Simon was a minister’s son is another example. I felt that more details there would have helped me to feel closer to the action, to Ryan’s fears of not being accepted by Simon.

All in all, I enjoyed this fic. Ryan’s and Simon’s bond, and their yearning for their families, was sweet and brought a smile to my face. Thank you for sharing it, and good luck with your future writing!

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