This was my second time reading Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, and I have to say that I enjoyed it even more than the first time I read it a couple of years ago! When I first read this book in 2015, I gave it a 4 teacup rating, however, after reading it again I want to boost the rating a bit to 4.5, perhaps even 5 teacups! I love this book. I love the world, I love the extremely obvious Harry Potter connection, the magic system, the characters, and just everything.
When I saw the paperback edition of this book that had come out, I absolutely fell in love with it because, in my opinion, it is SO much nicer than the original cover. Just look at it! And yes, I did go out and buy this book AGAIN because of this fact. Even though I’d already read it. All right moving on… dare I say let us carry on. Okay, no I’m done. When I picked up this book again, I was in the mood for something quirky, fun, and magical, and Carry On is all that and a bag of chips. It is a fantasy that reads like a contemporary and I love that! I also love the fanfiction aspect of the novel. I could just gush about this for days ❤
*Note: This next section may contain some minor spoilers about the LGBTQIA+ aspects of this book. Major plot points aren’t spoiled, but if you don’t want to know anything going in you can skip this part!*
So if I love it so much, why the umming and ahhing over whether I should give this 4 1/2 or 5 teacups? The reason is so small in the grand scheme of things, that I really don’t know if it’s worth demeriting the book. This hiccup is the way that Rowell approached revealing Simon’s sexuality. This is an incredible LGBTQIA+ book that treats these themes as if they are simply a given and not something abnormal or to make big pronouncements about. I love that Baz’s character is so nonchalant about it and that there’s no confusion or need to make a big deal about his coming out. His family knows and when Simon asks him he’s like “I’m totally gay” without any shame or hesitation. However, I kind of wish that Rowell dealt with Simon’s sexuality in the same way. At the beginning of the novel, Simon has been dating his girlfriend, Agatha for three years. I kind of wish that Simon’s seemingly bisexuality was simply a given and that there wasn’t any confusion about whether he was gay or not. I would have loved it if his sexuality was something that didn’t need to be revealed to the reader and that we could simply work under the assumption that he is bisexual or omnisexual due to the fact that he has expressed interest in Agatha and Baz. I don’t know if that made any sense, but I hope you know what I mean 😛 I guess I just wish there wasn’t that heterosexual assumption. I wish that we could observe the characters’ actions and their relationships and use those observations to learn how they identify and there wouldn’t be a need for the author to explicitly tell us their sexuality. I’ve read so many cutesy romance contemporaries and they never tell us “the characters are heterosexual” because we know who the characters are interested in based on the plot and their relationships. I would have liked to see that in this novel, especially because Baz was so blasé about it, and that’s my only nit-picky issue! But this one definitely hovers around 5 teacups for me!
*END OF SPOILERS*
The last few things I want to talk about are huge reasons why I enjoyed this read so much. I loved the magic system and the fact that common sayings, words, clichés, nursery rhymes, etc. were used as their magic words. It hit my heart as a lover of literature because, in this world, words quite literally have power. And of course, the plot was great with a few mysteries here and there, and the characters had so much dimension to them. I simply can’t recommend this book enough! I will always push this book on people and I definitely see it becoming a staple reread for me over the years. Simon Snow, Baz, and Penelope have certainly earned their places in my heart! ❤
To learn more about Rainbow Rowell and her work you can visit her website here –> http://www.rainbowrowell.com/
Need more convincing to pick up this book? BookTuber, Katytastic is a fan and can tell you all about her love in this video here –> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z43WscaKRf0
Want to read more reviews or a synopsis? Click here to visit the Carry On Goodreads page –> https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32768522-carry-on?ac=1&from_search=true