Monday, February 29, 2016

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (2015) is the not-quite-a-sequel follow-up to Rowell's Fangirl (which I loved and have been recommending to so many people!). This spin-off was such an interesting concept: in Fangirl, the main character spent the entire book writing fanfiction for her favorite fantasy series. This is that story she was writing, her version of the last book in a very Harry Potter-esq fantasy series.

I was very impressed by how Rowell managed to write a story that was clearly the final book in the series, but still made sense to read as a stand-alone. I liked that in Fangirl, you saw the writing process and what Cath was going through when she was writing her story, and then we actually get to read the story that we got such tantalizing snippets of before.

Once again, Rowell has written great characters that are flawed but very likeable. You really root for them. This was of course incredibly similar to Harry Potter in basics, but she had plenty of specific details that really set it apart from that series. I especially liked the way she dealt with the rules of the magic in her world. I loved the connection to literature, cliché phrases, and nursery rhymes, and the message that not only do words have power but common phrases have more; the more ingrained in popular culture a phrase is, the more power it has.

Overall, this was an interesting, funny, and magical story for fans and non-fans of fantasy alike! Highly recommended with Fangirl (which is really worth reading first but not totally necessary).
“Sometimes when I’m walking through the dining hall, just saying hello to people, she’ll drag me by my sleeve to hurry me up.
“You have too many friends,” she’ll say.
“I’m pretty sure that’s not possible. And, anyway, I wouldn’t call them all ‘friends.’”
“There are only so many hours in the day, Simon. Two, three people — that’s all any of us have time for.”
“There are more people than that in your immediate family, Penny.”
“I know. It’s a struggle.” 
Keep reading! Beth

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