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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell


 To start this review I have an announcement, Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl is one of my go-to comfort reads. When I feel massively overwhelmed by things I love running to hang out with Cath as she travails her first year of University. 

Describing 'Carry On' in this context is a bit of a twisty tale: in 'Fangirl' Cather is a fan of a series of books about Simon Snow, particularly championing the shipping of Simon with his nemesis, Baz. The Snow series is set in an English boarding school of magic and there are vampires and a mysterious threat that is leaching the world of magic. The idea of the book obviously has some basis on a certain other magic boarding school series but Watford School of Magicks isn't Hogwarts. The twisty bit is that 'Carry On' isn't a Gemma T. Leslie (Rowell's fiction author of the Snow Series) novel, it isn't Cath's fanfic. It's Rainbow Rowell's fanfic of a world she created which makes it quite the fascinating meta-construct!

The book is a fun read even without the context of 'Fangirl'. Simon, a inept saviour and Baz, Mr Dark-and Mysterious, are arch-enemies and have been so for six years. Simon and his best friend, the awesome Penelope, have fought evil each school year but the lurking villain has always been the mysterious 'Insidious Humdrum'. Its power is growing but Simon seems mostly preoccupied by the fact that Baz is missing the start of school. 


There are many things I love about this book but I was initially sceptical about something that sounded so close to The Series of magic in an English boarding *cough Mr Potter*. It may have been the jumping off point for Rowell but it went in a very different way. While Hogwarts was something like the Enid Blyton version of boarding school, Watford was more had more of a Byker Grove feel! 

Penelope was my favourite character; she was bossy, sassy, bold and rather reckless. I also liked the portrayal of Agatha not for the character herself but that the function of her. In 'Fangirl' of Cath's has some impatience for how Agatha written by Gemma T Leslie. She is portrayed the most, beautiful and kind girl and that both boys are in love with her and it made sense that a fanfic writer who has no affection for her would reject the official character and instead indulge the dislike that they feel. The adventure was really fun to read, the relationship between Simon and Baz was funny, sweet and everything I'd hoped.

I would recommend reading Fangirl first, or you know....in general, but the book stands very alone very well. 

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