“You have to pretend that you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all.”
This review contains*spoilers*.
This was my first time rereading the whole book instead of just reading the really cute scenes over and over.
Fangirl was one of the very first books that got me into reading Young Adult and because of that Rainbow Rowell will forever hold a special place in my heart.
So, of course, when Carry On came out back in October it instantly became one of my all-time favorites—not only because of its place in Fangirl but also because of how good it is.
It’s the kind of book (the best kind) that you can’t stop reading and keeps you up all night.
This was everything I wanted to read right now; it was adorable, funny, and just the right amount of heartwarming. I love Rainbow Rowell’s writing. There’s just something so special about it that gets me emotional every single time. She can make me cry and laugh and swoon in a single page. And the humor in this book was so well done that I found myself laughing out loud at several times.
I really really really love her books (even my mom knows how much I adore Rainbow’s writing) .
Rainbow Rowell also has this unique way of making her characters seem so real to me. Whenever I read one of her books, I find myself feeling incredibly attached to them. I would be watching a great movie or reading an amazing book and think, “Wow Cath (Fangirl) or Penelope would definitely love this one.”
I miss Rainbow’s characters every day, even when I tell myself not to.
(What I was telling myself while reading.)
In Carry On we follow Simon Snow -‘The Chosen One’- that’s been destined to save the world from The Insidious Humdrum.
“The Insidious Humdrum is the greatest threat the World of Mages has ever faced. He’s powerful, he’s pervasive. Fighting him is like fighting off sleep when you’re long past the edge of exhaustion.”
And we start this book in Simon’s point of view, freaking out over Baz’s absence (I was honestly smiling every time Snow mentioned him).
I especially loved how Simon was secretly wishing for Baz not to arrive before the start of term (“Nobody wants to miss the welcome-back picnic on the Great Lawn tonight. It’s always a big to-do. Games. Fireworks. Spectacle magic. Maybe Baz will miss the picnic; he’s never missed it before, but it’s a nice thought.”) and when Baz actually didn’t show up, Simon got really sad and worried.
(“I know I should be happy about Baz being gone—it’s what I’ve always said I wanted, to be free of him—but it seems so … wrong. People don’t just disappear like this.
The one scene that definitely had me in tears was when Baz’s mom, Natasha Grimm-Pitch, came from The Veil to tell her son something vital. Reading that part the second time around did not make it any easier.
“Where is he?” she asks. “Where is my son?”
“I don’t know,” I answer.
“Did you hurt him?”
“You can’t lie to the dead.”
“I don’t want to.”
She looks over at his empty bed, and her sadness is so potent that in that moment, I’d do anything to get him back for her. (I’d do anything to bring him back.)”
So I was really anticipating for Baz to finally show up— it’s one of my favorite parts in this book because I adore Simon and Baz together. My cheeks literally hurt from smiling too much.
“When I felt myself slipping too far, I held on to the one thing I’m always sure of—
The fact that Simon Snow is the most powerful magician alive. That nothing can hurt him, not even me.
That Simon Snow is alive.
And I’m hopelessly in love with him.”
I had to take a moment after I read that because it was incredible. I loved that Rainbow Rowell put Baz’s feelings right out there from the start.
I’m rooting for them.
We also got to see more of their relationship during Christmas break. I was honestly smiling and freaking out throughout that whole section.
No words can describe how much I love Rainbow for writing it so well.
I really missed reading about them together.
“I lift up his chin. “Baz.”
“Go away, Snow.”
“You’re not a monster,” I say. His face is cold as a corpse in my hand. “I was wrong. All those years. You’re a bully. And a snob. And a complete arsehole. But you’re not one of them.”
And speaking of freaking out, I almost forgot how sweet Penny and Baz were as friends.
It truly warmed my heart because they’re definitely two of my favorite characters and I have tears in my eyes just thinking about them.
“So…,” she says, following him to the chalkboard. “You got a Visiting. An actual Visiting—Natasha Grimm-Pitch was here.”
Baz glances back over his shoulder. “You sound impressed, Bunce.”
“I am,” Penelope says. “Your mother was a hero. She developed a spell for gnomeatic fever. And she was the youngest headmaster in Watford history.”
Baz is looking at Penny like they’ve never met.”
I love how clever and funny and strong Penny is and I also really appreciated her relationship with her mom. “Penny quotes her mum as much as I quote Penny.”
I really care for close families in books.
That’s why I’m glad that Baz was (somewhat) close with his Aunt Fiona.
Fiona is (of course) vindictive and powerful and honest, and I really enjoyed reading about her.
And I loved the way she loved her sister (Baz’s mom).
“I told Fiona that I’d go up to the Mage’s office and look around, even if it was pointless.
“Take something,” she said, gripping her steering wheel.”
“I’m not a thief,” I said.
“It’s not thieving—that office is hers, it’s yours. Take something for me.”
“All right,” I said.
I almost always go along with Fiona in the end. The way she misses my mother keeps her alive for me.”
Oh, and when Penny’s mom, Mitali, mentioned Lucy —whom I had somehow completely forgotten— all of her history with the Mage came rushing back to me so quickly. It played such an important part in the book for me. I would love it if Rainbow decided to write about their school years. Lucy and Mitali were such intriguing characters in this story.
Also, something that completely slipped my notice the first time reading was that Rainbow put a Fangirl reference (of Levi) in this book.
“I sit in front of Baz now, on the coffee table—which I carried up by myself. He hands me his cup, and I take a sip. “What is this?”
“Pumpkin mocha breve. I created it myself.”
“It’s like drinking a candy bar,” I say.”
Here’s the reference from Fangirl:
“I haven’t paid yet.”
Levi held up his hands. “Please. You insult me.”
“What is this?” She leaned over the cup and took a breath.
“My own concoction—Pumpkin Mocha Breve, light on the mocha. Don’t try to order it from anyone else; it’ll never turn out the same.”
It’s been so good visiting this world and Rainbow’s writing again. I can always count on her books to cheer me up.
ARC from Netgalley (thank you).