I’ve always been a fan of Rainbow Rowell’s books. I picked up Eleanor & Park as well as Attachments about two years ago, and I quite liked them. Not well enough to grant them a spot on my “favorites” list, but well enough that when I saw Fangirl sitting on my library’s shelf, I picked it up. However, when I saw that there were excerpts from Carry On included as part of the story line, I decided to read Carry On first.
Now let me be clear about this: Carry On is actually not really attached to Fangirl. It is meant to be read separately, and some of the parts are not the same. Carry On was inspired by parts of Fangirl, but is its own story. I didn’t know this at the time, and went full steam ahead with Carry On. I do not regret this decision. Not one bit.
The novel follows a young magician named Simon Snow through his last year at the Watford School of Magicks. Simon is attempting to enjoy this year, but nothing is going right; his girlfriend has broken up with him, his best friend is annoying, his mentor keeps trying to move him to the mountains, and he is super busy worrying about where his evil roommate, Baz, is. Sound complicated? As the year goes on, these quickly become the least of Simon’s problems, since a mysterious force is attempting to steal magic. And as the most powerful magician ever, the task to stop this evil falls to Simon.
It’s actually really hard for me to figure out why I love this book so much. I’ve always loved fantasy, and this book is pure fantasy. Watford is highly reminiscent of Hogwarts. Yet at the core of all the magic and paranormal happenings is a human story. One of romance and love and friendship. I think this is what draws to Ms. Rowell’s books over and over again. She keeps all her stories of love real, yet there is always a touch of magic to them. She is one of the best writers I know at writing relationships, and the relationship between Snow and his eventual partner is beautiful. Not only that but I also love Simon’s and Penny’s best friend dynamic because it is a universally common phenomenon.
All in all, if you like relatively light-hearted fantasy and paranormal books with a lot of romance and friendship, you’ve got a winner right here!
P.S. Shout out to Y’allwest and Griffin Teen for this super cool color in cover! I haven’t colored it in yet because it’s too pretty for me to mess up…