My past entries here have made it clear that I am a Rainbow Rowell person. Eleanor and Park is one of my favorite books ever, and I loved Attachments and Landline. Plus, Rainbow is adorable both on Twitter and in person. (I am not a stalker, I promise.) But I was nervous when she announced that her latest release would be a sort of spin off of Fangirl. Rebecca reviewed Fangirl here on the blog, and while I think I liked that book more than she did I agreed that the pacing was a little odd. And I was pretty indifferent to a major plot point of that book–the Harry Potter-esque book series that the main character wrote epic, popular fanfiction about. Fangirl didn’t actually contain any of this fictional story, but you heard a lot about it over the course of the book. While I liked Fangirl‘s treatment of fanfiction, I wasn’t particularly interested in the wizard-y story itself–it didn’t seem worth my time to think about these characters that felt extra, extra, fictional (books within books!). So when I heard that Carry On would be an entire book those Harry Potter-like wizards fighting evil at a magical boarding school, I was not excited. But then Nicole Cliffe at The Toast (Best Website Ever) started raving about it, and The Toast published a lovely interview with Rowell. And I always knew I was going to read it, so I bought it to take on vacation. And hear me now: it was so good and I was so wrong.
As I said, I read this on vacation and I almost wish I hadn’t because once I started all I wanted to do was keeping reading. On multiple occasions I chose to read this rather than pay attention to what was around me, even though what was around me was France. (I liked the book so much, I actually feel okay about this.) This would be the perfect book for a long plane flight or rainy weekend, when you just want to immerse yourself in a new world and ignore everything around you.
Also, I want to note that you don’t have to have read Fangirl to follow Carry On. This book is completely free standing and independent of Fangirl and (I think) is much better. Although I like Fangirl more now, knowing that it eventually led us to this.
Kinsey’s Three Word Review: Suspenseful, magical romance
You might also like: I’m going to assume that everyone has read Harry Potter and that you’ve all been listening to me and reading Rainbow Rowell’s other books. With that in mind, I’m going to recommend John Green and David Levithan’s YA writing. They both have more famous books, but their collaboration on Will Grayson, Will Grayson is one of my favorites and has a similar feeling to this. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is another solid recommendation featuring a clever magic world, although it’s a bit darker.