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Carry On: A Novel Hardcover – October 6, 2015
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"Rowell imbues her magic with awe and spectacle. It's a powerful, politically minded allegory about sexual, ethnic and class identity - with a heady shot of teenage lust." ―New York Times Book Review
"It’s a brilliantly addictive, genuinely romantic story about teenagers who can’t be neatly sorted into houses, coping with stress and loss and the confusion of just trying to be who they are. It’s as if Rowell turned the Harry Potter books inside out, and is showing us the marvelous, subversive stuffing inside." ―Time Magazine
"Full of heart and humor, this fantastical tale is a worthy addition to the wizarding-school genre." ―People Magazine
"Carry On is the fantasy book I didn’t know I’d been waiting for for years...Rowell’s mystery, magic, and political intrigue is the sexiest love story I’ve read in a long time." ―Julie Beck, for The Atlantic
"The funny, wised-up dialogue, the tumultuous, sweet, and sexy love story― is grade-A Rowell...almost impossible to put down." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Stock up on copies―this one begs to be reread." ―Booklist (starred review)
"With rock-solid worldbuilding, a sweet and believable romance subplot, and satisfying ending, Carry On is a monumentally enjoyable reading experience. Hand this to fans of Rowell, Harry Potter, love stories, and magic." ―School Library Journal (starred review)
"Carry On is a triumph. Thrilling and sexy, funny and shocking, deeply moving and very, very magical. Trust me, you have never, ever seen a wizard school like this." ―Lev Grossman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians trilogy
“Absolutely captivating.” ―Kirkus (starred review) on Fangirl
“Rowell manages to capture both the wildly popular universe of fanfic and the inside of an 18-year-old's head. Consider me a fangirl of this charming coming-of-age tale.” ―Entertainment Weekly on Fangirl
“A deliciously warm-hearted nerd power ballad destined for greatness.” ―New York Journal of Books on Fangirl
“A funny and tender coming-of-age story that's also the story of a writer finding her voice . . . touching and utterly real.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Fangirl
“The magic here is cast not with wands but with Rowell's incredible ability to build complex, vivid, troubling and triumphant relationships.” ―Booklist, starred review on Fangirl
“(A) charming coming-of-age novel . . . filled with complex subjects (such as divorce, abandonment, and mental illness) handled in a realistic manner, and the writing effortlessly and seamlessly weaves these threads together.” ―School Library Journal, starred review; Best Fiction Books of 2013, on Fangirl
“As funny as it is embarrassing, and as charming as it is true-to-geek-life . . . Fangirl is a cute and poignant read for fangirls and fanboys of all ages.” ―Tor.com on Fangirl
About the Author
Rainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (Attachments and Landline). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl and Carry On). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they're screwing up. And people who fall in love.
When she's not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things.
She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.
Top customer reviews
Carry On is a full length Simon Snow novel. Simon Snow is similar to another series with a famous boy wizard, but it is wholly original. Carry On takes place during Simon’s eighth year at Watford, a school for magical children. Simon plays a unique role in the World of Mages; he is seen as the Chosen One, who will deliver them from evil. Namely, the Insidious Humdrum, who takes on the form of Simon as an eleven-year-old boy.
Simon has a best friend- Penelope, and a girlfriend- Agatha. Simon also has an archnemesis/roommate- Baz. When Baz doesn’t return at the beginning of term, Simon is suspicious. Is he planning something? Tensions are running high at Watford, and there is a divide between the Old Families and people who want social and political reforms.
When Baz finally returns at Watford, things are different. Instead of hating Baz, Simon is concerned about his welfare. And instead of wanting to kill Simon, Baz only wants to kiss him. As the World of Mages begins to crumble, Simon and Baz realize that they are stronger as allies than as enemies.
I loved this book. I loved everything about it. I loved Simon, and I loved Baz. I especially loved Penelope; she was smart and confident, and her fierce loyalty to Simon was so poignant. I loved the allusions to previous Simon Snow escapades that took place before Carry On; coming into the middle of the story was fascinating. I loved the way that Rowell developed her own language of magical spells by taking snippets of songs and popular phrases. I loved the multiple narrators; everyone has their own perspective, and the whole story wouldn’t have resonated as well if we only had Simon’s point of view. I loved the way that the tension between Simon and Baz built up slowly, so when they finally did come together, it made sense and it felt right.
I would absolutely recommend Carry On. I loved the Simon Snow excerpts in Fangirl, and I was so thrilled when Rainbow Rowell announced that she was going to write a Simon Snow novel. I devoured Carry On, and I know that this is a book that I am going to read multiple times. I have an Audible credit in my account, and I am going to use it to buy Carry On- probably as soon as I post this review! My only regret is that this is probably the end of Simon Snow- is receiving the rest of the series too much to ask for?
I liked that this story was told from multiple viewpoints. Seeing how each of their views of each other changed through the course of this book was fascinating. Simon's struggles with his magic and Baz's struggles with his new life and with his growing attraction to his enemy Simon were perfectly clear when viewed through their own eyes and in their own voices.
Everyone's belief that Simon was the answer to a long-held prophecy put great pressure on him. Especially when his own magic was immense but not at all in his control. His hero - the Mage - was a person of mystery. Seeing him through the eyes of those who knew him when he was young and the eyes of someone who loved him helped paint the picture of a man in the grip of an obsession that could destroy the whole magical world.
I liked the romance between Baz and Simon too. It grew steadily throughout the story and came to a satisfying conclusion. I also liked Simon's relationship with his friend Penny.
I might recommend reading FANGIRL before reading this one because I'm sure there were nuances that I missed. But it was a great epic fantasy and romance with achingly real characters and stands quite well on its own.
Baz's POVs captivated me the most, though. It doesn’t mean that Simon didn’t have his moments (because he most certainly did!), but I’ve always imagined Baz to be a snobbish, condescending prick when I’d get to finally hear his voice. Well, he was most of the time but I wasn’t expecting the endless pining and the secret crushing over Simon Snow.
But then again, who wouldn’t fall in love with Simon? He’s just this ray of light – naïve but brave and bold and selfless. Most of the time, he’s reckless but you wouldn’t be able to hold it against him because he wears his heart on his sleeve. It makes you want to protect him even though he’s doing all the actual saving.
Yet to Simon, Baz is this immaculate, flawless, and well-mannered guy who is everything he isn’t. Handsome, smart, and cool, Simon thinks Baz always gets what he wants. For so long, he hated the guy because he symbolizes everything that he won’t ever be, and well, Baz has been taunting and scheming against him time and again. But in actuality for Baz, it’s a defense mechanism for a love that will never be his.
Factor in that they both represent opposite sides in the war of the mages – Simon as The Mage’s heir calling for reforms and equality, and Baz as the last living heir of the Pitches, the most influential name in the Old Families, who believe in tradition and power being given to the few elites. They’ve been doing this exhausting keep-your-enemies-closer dance for so long. For the good first part of the book, it’s messy and intriguing. Suspenseful. Rowell keeping you on your toes and building the story up towards something.
And when you finally think you’re at your wits' end, the dam breaks with that scorching first kiss. Then everything just explodes. Revelation after countless revelation. Rowell was relentless. And it was exhilarating and beautiful. Simon and Baz’s relationship turning to something more. Rowell bombarding you with all these new twists to the plot. And it just works well with the entire story. It’s like when a talented opera singer works with the best orchestra – creating this hair raising symphony of melody that is pleasing to your ears. Everything is in perfect harmony. And it’s exactly like that with how Rainbow Rowell gave direction to this book. The micro and macro side of things in the story working together towards one solid goal.
And that is to provide us readers with an epic adventure full of love and magic that leaves you feeling like an oxymoron – utterly exhausted but pleasantly contented.
I am contented! I mean, I was. And well, I know the everyone keeps saying, "Keep Calm and Carry On." But God, I wish there were more. Not only of the story but more books such as this. As an LGBT reviewer, I am more than happy that Rowell was able to penetrate the mainstream community with gay characters like Simon and Baz. I know that there have been successful attempts by several authors, but not to this extent. And I’m hoping this helps in paving the way for more LGBT books being accepted in the mainstream, so that in the near future, there won’t ever be adjectives placed before the word ‘book’ or ‘novel’.
Well-done! And very highly recommended.
Read the full review at https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1346656497