Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Look, I will try to make this review coherent, and I will try not to flail about like a fish that has accidentally left the ocean, but I can’t make any promises. The thing is, I did not expect to feel this way about this book (or any book ever again if I’m honest). I enjoy books (hence why I blog about the things) but I don’t feel the same way about them that I did when I was younger. It’s neither a good nor a bad thing, but it is different. I’m sure you can all understand that feeling.

Reading Carry On made me feel like I was fifteen again and it was glorious.

Carry On is a novel-length version of the fan fiction that Cath was writing in Fangirl. If you haven’t read Fangirl, skip down to the little and things will make more sense. If you have read Fangirl you will know all about Baz and Simon and all that angsty goodness. Carry On doesn’t include any scenes from the snippets in Fangirl but it is just as cute and snarky and sweet. Who doesn’t want an entire book dedicated to Simon and Baz?

Okay, if you haven’t read Fangirl, here’s a little explanation. Basically the protagonist in Fangirl (Cath) loves to write Simon Snow Fanfiction, and in this world Simon Snow is clearly a Harry Potter rip-off thing (but not in a bad way). Carry On is an extension of the snippets that feature in Fangirl and works as a standalone novel. It follows Simon and Baz (clearly based on Harry and Draco) in a world that is like a ‘extra’ version of the Harry Potter world. I’m explaining this terribly but it’s so well done, and I absolutely adored it. Simon and Baz are sassy and sweet and ridiculous and I had so much fun reading their story. Simon’s best from Penelope is also an excellent character and her friendship with Simon, and to some extent Baz, was another favourite element of mine. The three of them, alongside a scattering of other characters, are such fun to read about.

Even though you can’t really read the book without seeing the Harry Potter aspects, it still stands as a solid story by itself. Rainbow Rowell has taken J.K. Rowlings’ world and made it her own, and smothered it in icing and chocolate bits and sparkles. This world breathes on it’s own and these characters are some of my absolute favourites. I was completely consumed by this book and my love for Simon and Baz is a little embarrassing. I haven’t felt this way about a ship in ages. They are delicious.

I can see how this book wouldn’t be for everyone and perhaps my current situation (busy & stressed) meant that it was just what I needed in that moment. Perhaps if I’d read this under different circumstances, with a more critical eye I wouldn’t feel the same, but I doubt it. This book is just so cosy and generous and wonderful. It is a cake with an extra layer of chocolate and your favourite sweets stuffed into the middle of it. It does read a bit like a fan fiction, but hey, I love a good fan fiction and I reckon you’d be lying if you said you didn’t love to read it at some point in your life.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this if you’ve read it!

Cas xx

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