By Author / Illustrator
Paperback / softback
Based on the characters Simon and Baz who featured in Rainbow Rowell's bestselling Fangirl, 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.
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour 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 room-mate 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 savour anything.
'Come for the make-outs and stay for the magic' - The Atlantic
Carry On is the first book in the Simon Snow series. Simon is a magician; not just any magician, he's the Chosen One! However, things are not that simple as Simon is not a confident magician and he's not very good with words, which is a bit of a problem when casting a spell. His sword appears when he needs it, and that's about all. He's more likely to set fire to someone or something when he needs his magic - not very helpful for the magician who's going to save the world of mages!
Simon is, of course, the main character in this series, all the drama, mishaps etc happen around him. He has, however, a great cast of sidekicks in his best friend Penny, Agatha, girlfriend (or not) and his vampire roommate, Baz whom he dislikes very much - or does he?
The story starts with our characters returning back to the Watford School of Magic for their final year, except for Baz, who seems to have disappeared. Agatha is avoiding him, and Penny - after the traumatic events at the end of their previous school year - just wants to work out what happened when the insidious Humdrum (a being that hates Simon, but no one knows why!) transported them to another part of the country.
I've got to say I was very confused at the start of the book as I felt I had missed some pages, it felt like I'd been dropped in the middle of the plot. If like me this happens to you, please stick with it as all gets explained further into the story. Believe me it's all worth waiting for! If however, you have read the Fangirl series by this author you will fully understand what's going on straight away, unlike me. The reader will also not fail to see similarities to the Harry Potter books. But, that's ok, we all have to get our inspiration from somewhere and the author has made these characters her own. They are funny, relatable and thrilling in their own right. One thing I did enjoy was the spells, they came from popular saying and songs.
Carry On is told from different perspectives making it a pacey read. Due to the use of bad language throughout the book and other topics, it is suitable for 14+ readers. However, it would make a great read for book clubs and intervention groups as its themes will keep most readers engaged. Overall, With all the mystery surrounding the death of Baz's mom, an unexpected blossoming relationship between two of the characters, a dash of jealousy and trust issues. Oh, and of course loads and loads of magic, often with hilarious consequences, I can easily see this book being very popular.
I must mention the closing chapters... such a twist! Did not see that coming! All making me looking forward to the second book in this series to see how Simon Snow and his crew continue their adventures.
517 pages / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 14+