Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads Summary:Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.
Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.
I feel like Rainbow Rowell is just not my thing. Sorry friends!
This is the second Rainbow Rowell book I've read, and I picked this up because I thought magical boarding schools would be more up my alley than Eleanor & Park. It also helped that a lot of people I knew were raving about this book, and I've been pleasantly surprised by giving an author a second chance. In the end, I had lukewarm feelings about it.
I did like how this book subverted the usual "Chosen one" trope. Simon is prophecied to save the world, and he has more power than he knows what to do with, but he's an awful wizard and can't really control his powers at all. And for a chosen one, he sure doesn't have a lot of things going his way: an antagonistic roommate and an ex-girlfriend who is infatuated with said antagonistic roommate. I liked that things weren't easy for Simon, and that things didn't neatly fall into place for him (hoo boy, do things get messy with his love life!).
Another thing I really liked was the inclusion and representation of people of color and queer characters. No one is defined by their skin color or sexual orientation, but these characters are prominently featured and it just makes me so happy to see more minorities being featured in fiction.
So why the lukewarm 3-star rating? For one thing, I thought this book was a lot longer than it needed to be. It just took me such a long time to plod through this, and while some of that was important for character development, a lot of the plot was unnecessarily drawn out. The entire plot about the humdrum and destroying the world started to seem secondary to the budding romance, which I found annoying. I also just stopped caring about the characters about halfway through the book.
I probably won't be reading any more Rainbow Rowell books, but I'm glad I at least gave another one of her books a shot. It was a sweet book, just not the greatest book for me.