Let’s Talk Books — Other Broken Things by C. Desir

I’ve got another young adult book to talk about today! And that book is Other Broken Things by C. Desir. I’ve been getting a little sick of YA novels lately (especially the last one I read), but I more or less liked this one. It had a couple of common YA issues that prevented it from being better, but I’ll get to those in a little while. For now, let’s get right into the story.

Other Broken Things is about a recovering alcoholic named Natalie. She’s 17 and after a car accident, she needs to attend AA meetings, do community service, work through her struggle with a sponsor, and, well… recover.

She has a boyfriend, Brent, who keeps trying to talk with her about something but she doesn’t want to deal with him. Brent’s kind of a weird character, because he acts like he’s only interested in Natalie for sex and partying but then does a 180 and gets serious about the two of them when he’s done flirting or joking around. He came off as a douche at first, but I wasn’t really sure what to make of him by the end of the book.

Natalie also only has two other friends, Amy and Amanda. Apparently the three of them were intoxicated at all hours of the day, bringing vodka and orange juice in water bottles to class and partying immediately after school. They’re not really good friends, and keep pressuring Natalie to go back to her old ways.

Her parents hooked up some kind of breathalyzer to her car so it won’t start without her passing the test. Her mom is a housewife who tries to help Natalie as best she can with positivity and support, although naturally Natalie finds her overbearing and obnoxious. Her dad is a rich doctor or some other wealthy profession who’s embarrassed of his daughter and the bad reputation he’s bringing to the family.

So aside from her mother, Natalie doesn’t really have anyone to rely on to help get her through her recovery. Which naturally frustrates the crap out of her and makes everything she’s trying to accomplish even harder. The only two people that really help her are fellow AA members: Kathy, her no-nonsense sponsor who meets with Natalie for weekly “therapy” sessions, and Joe, a 38-year-old man that acts more like a friend than any of the other people her age. Natalie is attracted to Joe, despite being twice her age, and flirts with him but he keeps his wall up and tries to be her supportive friend rather than a fuck buddy.

Most of this book involves Natalie physically and mentally struggling with her recovery while dealing with her relationships with these other characters. We discover more about her as new details are sprinkled throughout the plot. For example, she got into the accident because she was driving Brent home because he was drunk, even though she was too. We learn that she was really into boxing when she was younger, and that it began as a bonding experience with her father, but he forced her to quit when she became too good and that’s why she started drinking. We also learn she has a very addictive personality and is the type of person to either give all or nothing.

Which brings us to Joe. She falls for him and eventually convinces him to sleep with her. Joe had been developing feelings for Natalie too, but had kept his cool about it until she advanced enough. He immediately regrets it because he knows a relationship with her would never work because of the age difference, but Natalie has convinced herself that they belong together. Her parents find out and naturally flip out and ban her from seeing him again. Joe disappears and falls off the wagon for a while. Natalie eventually sees him again, but he tells her he’s going to accept a job overseas. Natalie’s heartbroken, but she’s taken up boxing again and is doing better in general so the book ends on a hopeful note.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Other Broken Things. I really like how the book explored alcoholism, especially with a teenage character. I also liked some of lessons explored in Natalie’s AA sessions, like how you can’t waste energy trying to change things out of your own control. Sometimes they’re really great universal pieces of advice in general, and I like how they’re used in the context of the book. They’re for Natalie in the context of overcoming her addiction, but I think people outside her situation can get something positive from here as well.

There were, however, some noticeable issues that ultimately became a little distracting for me. And they’re all universal YA literature problems. For starters, let’s start with the parents. They’re two extremes of typical YA parents. On one side, the mother is almost blindingly supportive of her daughter on almost every single thing she does. And while I don’t think it’s unrealistic for a parent to be extra supportive of a child going through what Natalie’s going through, I think the way she’s portrayed is still too much on the optimistic side.

To her credit, she shows some character development as she learns to stop acting blind and stand up to her husband, who’s the no-nonsense, only-cares-about-money, “villainous” parent. He treats Natalie like crap and only shows frustration and embarrassment towards his daughter’s struggle. But I don’t really understand why. I mean yeah, some parents are like that but in a work of fiction I need some additional or better reasons for his actions. He honestly just feels like an antagonist plopped into the story in the event Natalie’s alcoholism wasn’t a good enough one.

The side characters also aren’t particularly interesting. Amy and Amanda are literally interchangeable; they’re both heavy drinkers and partyers that only want to enable Natalie. I like how the book tries to show how toxic enabling friends are, but they’re not very important. Natalie honestly talks about them more than we actually see them.

Brent’s a little more interesting I guess, but he seems more like a way to talk about Natalie’s other issue. For the first half of the book there were a lot of allusions to some big, stressful event between Natalie and Brent. Usually this kind of thing in YA literature ends up involving a baby or rape. Here it’s an unplanned pregnancy. The accident killed the fetus and Natalie refuses to talk about it with Brent, who really wants to talk about what happened and why she didn’t tell him about it until the night of the accident.

This doesn’t feel like unnecessary drama in a story where Natalie already had enough to work through, but it did feel kind of weak. Since I kind of saw it coming the reveal didn’t have much of an impact on me. But beyond that Natalie honestly doesn’t seem bothered by it. It’s only Brent that cares, and Brent’s such a minor character. So why include this subplot at all? If it was more developed into Natalie’s character this would be a different story, but as it is it seems… meh.

Finally, there’s Joe. Joe brought me a mixed bag of feelings. There’s definitely visible chemistry going on between him and Natalie, but since the book was more or less playing it safe I honestly didn’t think they’d hook up. But they did. I really didn’t think Other Broken Things would make such a risky move like pairing up a 17-year-old girl and 38-year-old guy, but it did and I have to give the book credit for taking it that far. I was really excited to see how everyone in the story was going to respond to this. I thought this was where the most interesting parts of the book would be.

But sadly, it wasn’t. I mean her parents rightfully flip out, but… that’s it. Not only that, Joe sort of disappears from the plot for the rest of the book. I can understand the reasoning — he just slept with a teenager and that’s definitely not good — but he also kind of turns into a jerk. The supportive, older role model part of him just sort of disappeared. Like I get how awkward and guilty he feels, and that’s going to affect how he behaves but… I dunno. Something felt off about him after they had sex.

I didn’t expect them to stay together, but I believed they really did have feelings for each other. A while ago I talked about a book called Lolito, which had an adult woman and teenage boy have sex and become involved in something of a relationship. And despite it being morally wrong, I admitted that I ended up believing their feelings were real and was unsure how wrong it ultimately was since they both wanted what they were doing. I also wondered if it was because the teenager was a boy and questioned how I would feel if the genders were reversed.

But in the case of Natalie and Joe, I can feel the same way as I did with the couple in Lolito. They’re not nearly as well developed or portrayed as the characters in Lolito, but I honestly did believe their feelings and was rooting for them. Like I said though, I didn’t think it would work. Feelings aside, I know the age difference is going to kill the relationship at some point. But since the book took things as far as sleeping with each other, I really wanted Natalie and Joe to at least try dating for a while. Have Natalie see firsthand why they wouldn’t work out, you know? But Joe just disappears, shows up again to say they can’t be together, and leaves again. And it felt really weak.

I know I’ve been bitching about problems more than singing its praises, but I did enjoy Other Broken Things enough. I think it was a good YA novel, but it was one of those books that I really wish did more so it could be greater. I’d give it a read if you come across it. It’s pretty short and reads fast, and there’s enough in it to enjoy. But if you’re not into YA, then I’m not sure if you’d get much from it.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Info for my edition of Other Broken Things:

Published 2016 by Simon Pulse

Hardcover, 256 pages

ISBN 978-1-4814-3739-4

Let’s Talk Books — Don’t Kiss Me by Lindsay Hunter

Warning: spoilers!

A couple months ago, I read Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter and fell in love with it. It was (and still is) easily my favorite book I’ve read this year. It was her first novel, though, so unfortunately I’m going to have to wait a while before I can read another by her.

However, she’s published a couple books containing short stories she’s written. And I’m always up for more short story collections. So today I’m going to talk a little about one of those collections, Don’t Kiss Me.

Unfortunately, it’s always a little difficult to talk about short stories because they’re, well, short. It’s hard to talk about them without giving away the entire plot. They’re like songs: better off just experiencing them first and then listening to someone talk about them. But I’ll try.

Most of the short stories in Don’t Kiss Me are only a few pages. A good deal of them feel like flash fiction, so if you’re interested in reading but don’t have a lot of time, Don’t Kiss Me is good for short, digestible bursts.

Like Ugly Girls, Don’t Kiss Me shows us many broken people and snippets of their lives we can relate to. Whether or not you’ve hit the same exact experiences her characters have, I think we can all at least see parts of our past (or current) unsuccessful relationships, abandoned dreams, disappointment in others, or disgust with ourselves in these stories.

As much as I loved Ugly Girls, I can understand why some people were disappointed with it as a novel. The setup feels more appropriate for short stories, and I think more people would end up appreciating Lindsay Hunter with her short stories in Don’t Kiss Me than with Ugly Girls. Which is unfortunate, because again, I loved Ugly Girls. But whatever.

Many of the stories in Don’t Kiss Me feature women of varying ages, but most fall either in their teens or what I’m assuming is the late thirties/early forties range. But there are also stories about men (one in particular about an old man mourning the death of his wife kind of got to me), and regardless of gender I don’t feel like these stories specifically cater to men or women, just people that can relate to messes they find themselves in throughout life. Which, of course, I appreciate.

I don’t want to give too much away about the stories, but I do want to mention some of my favorites. “Brenda’s Kid” was about a mother that stops by her son’s house before work to help with some chores that he should be doing on his own. The story does a great job showing when a parent should let go and how lazy and selfish some kids can be if you cater to their every whim. “Three Things You Should Know About Peggy Paula” tells us three events regarding isolation and bad relationships about the titular character that make us empathize with loneliness. “Leta’s Mummy” draws a parallel between the behaviors of the narrator’s friend’s undead mummy that lives under her house and the narrator’s own mother.

“You and Your Cats” is a lonely cat lady story, but it still holds up for me because of small comments throughout the piece that show the narrator’s frustration with loneliness. “My Boyfriend Del” is an interesting piece about a woman of an unspecified age (at the very least old enough to drive) who has fallen in love with a little kid that treats her like shit. “Candles,” despite being written in all caps, read like a collection of entries in a notebook or even in a Twitter feed describing an almost stalker-like obsession a woman has with the manager of a candle shop. And finally, “Me and Gin” shows a possible unrequited love, possible toxic friendship between two kids.

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories and am very glad to add another one to my collection, although I think I still enjoyed Ugly Girls just a tiny bit more. Maybe it’s because I’ve already formed some sort of nostalgia for it by being genuinely surprised at how much I loved a new author, especially during a weak reading year. But there were also some writing-related issues I had with some of the stories in Don’t Kiss Me. Many of the characters would use a lot of slang or slurred talking, which itself isn’t a bad thing. But there were times it was used a bit much or too extensively, and it admittedly became distracting. And while I enjoyed most of the stories, there were a few that just didn’t strike a chord with me. One in particular took up almost thirty pages and was told by multiple POVs, but with each page separated into columns for two characters. It was visually distracting and honestly pretty confusing; I read it three times and still had difficulty taking much away from it. I appreciate the experimental layout, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

But it’s natural for a few stories to not stick out in a short story collection. As a whole, I really enjoyed Don’t Kiss Me and am excited to read more of Lindsay Hunter’s work. I definitely recommend finding yourself a copy to read, especially if you’re into short stories.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Info for my edition of Don’t Kiss Me:

Published 2013 by FSG Originals

Paperback, 175 pages

ISBN 978-0-374-53385-4

New Perler bead art! (Undertale part 2)

Warning: Undertale spoilers

Hey guys! This week I have a few more Perler projects I recently did, and they’re all Undertale-related again. Here we go!

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First up is one of my favorite side characters, Napstablook. He — or she? I don’t think Napstablook was identified as any gender. Anyway, Napstablook appears early on in the game, trying not to be noticed by you. You can visit their house later in the game and lie on the floor with them, getting lost in a relaxing trance while listening to music. Napstablook has extremely poor self-esteem, resulting in one of my favorite lines that goes something like, “after a meal I like to lie on the floor and feel like garbage.” Naturally, a truly relatable character. ๐Ÿ™‚ Given the nature of their character, I felt it appropriate to have them lie down on my music collection.

I was recently at a convention where I met another Perler artist that gave me a great tip about ironing beads. He said instead of putting the beads over the pegs on the pegboard, put them between the pegs instead. I didn’t know if that would make a huge difference or not, but Napstablook was the first project I tried this with and HOLY CRAP it’s so much better! The process of ironing is significantly more smooth, even on my warped pegboards. The beads even fuse more quickly and easily. White’s always been the color that gave me the most trouble when ironing, but Napstablook came out very nicely, very quickly. I’d highly recommend trying it this way if you don’t already!

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Next up is another one of my favorite characters, Undyne. (Honestly, there’s too many characters from Undertale that qualify has “one of my favorites.” I genuinely enjoy so many of them equally.) She’s the captain of the royal guard that Papyrus desperately wants to join, as well as his good friend. Initially she hunts you down close to the halfway point of the game as a mysterious, armored badass. There are a few scenes where she attacks and you barely escape, but once you reach a certain point she takes her helmet off and vents some steam. She hates humans and is determined to kill you and take your soul, the last one needed to break the barrier keeping the monsters imprisoned underground.

If you choose to save her life after the fight, and if you haven’t killed any monsters, you can join Papyrus later to hang out at Undyne’s house. She’s angry you’re there, still being sour that not only did she lose to a human, but that the human also saved her life, but Papyrus challenges her to be your friend and leaves you two to get to know each other. She’s in casual clothes, which I chose to make her in.

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I also made a huge Undyne from her battle sprite. Well, not exactly her battle sprite, but the one used on the battle screen before the final fight at the end of the Pacifist route. I always liked Undyne’s many expressions. Her huge smile and frustrated faces are probably my favorite, but for this I chose the huge smile. Like the other two projects, I tried the new method of putting beads between the pegs instead of on top, and it continued to amaze me. Normally I’d separate something this big into different sections to fuse, and then fuse those sections together afterwards. But for this I only did the head and the entire body. The entire body was six whole pegboards and I didn’t have one issue fusing them. Maybe it’s because Undyne is incredibly thin, but I was so happy I was able to finish something this big so quickly.

My only real problem is with the sprite itself. This sprite makes it look like Undyne’s not wearing any pants. :X I mean I guess I could have made a belt or something but… ah, I don’t know. Didn’t really want to mess with the original sprite. ๐Ÿ˜›

Anyway, that’s all for today! Hope everyone’s having a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s Talk Books — Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Warning: Spoilers!

I… um…

… huh.

Carry On is a book that, honestly, I was baffled over. Why does it exist? Who asked for it? Lots of people, apparently. For those that aren’t familiar with Rainbow Rowell, she writes young adult novels about nerdy, particularly flawed characters and their romances. Carry On is an expansion on an idea from one of her previous books, Fangirl. In Fangirl, the main character Cath writes fanfiction about Simon Snow, which is more or less the Harry Potter equivalent in that novel. We’d see segments of her fanfiction throughout the book, most of which focused on shipping Simon and Baz, the equivalent of Draco Malfoy. Carry On is Rainbow Rowell’s own take on writing fanfiction of the world she made up and was briefly explored in Fangirl. And if that sounds like a little much to you, then you’re not the only one.

If you read my post about Fangirl, then you might remember that it hit pretty close to home. It came so close to becoming one of my favorite books of all time and spectacularly derailed midway through. But if you haven’t read it, I basically loved how accurately Rainbow Rowell portrayed a college experience that I and many others went through. It was refreshing to read something about a college setting for a change, and the fact that Cath took a creative writing course only hit closer to home for me. But halfway through, all of that dropped for a shallow, boring romance that the book mostly focused on for its remainder. It was a couple hundred pages of basically a honeymoon phase of a relationship and, well… if you don’t like seeing other people go through it, you certainly won’t like reading about it.

So it’s not surprising that the parts with Cath’s fanfiction of Simon Snow were the absolute least of my concerns. When I found out about Carry On, my main thoughts were, “Really? Of all the things to come out of Fangirl, it was the Harry Potter knockoff fanfiction? Was this what readers took away the most out of Fangirl? Not the confusing as fuck time period that is the transition to college, not discovering what you’ve always wanted to do may not be what you’re capable of, not drowning yourself in a romance to the point where anything else interesting in your life is immediately discarded, but the fucking Harry Potter fanfiction?”

I’ve mostly enjoyed what I’ve read by Rainbow Rowell. Some books were definitely better than others, but overall it was a good time. I was going to check out Carry On eventually, despite not having an interest in it at all. Reader reviews are praising the shit out of it, which I was honestly surprised to hear. But now that I’ve finally read it, did it turn out better than I expected? Does it hold up to the praise, justifying the endless screaming fangirls in love with Simon and Baz’s relationship on Goodreads?

Eh. It was okay.

I guess.

There’s a couple of things you should know before reading Carry On. First, you don’t have to read Fangirl before this. Carry On has literally nothing to do with Fangirl. This story isn’t Cath’s fanfiction, it’s Rainbow Rowell’s own take on her own made up characters that weren’t explored too deeply to start with. Second, if you aren’t familiar with the Harry Potter series, Carry On is probably going to feel like a confusing mess. I feel like too much of Carry On relies on the reader already knowing the world of Harry Potter and being able to see which character from this book is the equivalent of another character from Harry Potter.

That being said, here’s what’s happening in Carry On.

Simon Snow (Harry Potter) and his best friend Penelope (Hermione) return to their magical school, Watford (Hogwarts) after the summer. It’s their last year and they want to enjoy it, but the magical world is on the brink of war between the Mage (Dumbledore), the Insidious Humdrum (Voldemort), and the elitist magical families that want to change the world back to what it was before the Mage took over (like the Malfoys).

To make things more awkward, Simon’s arch nemesis and roommate (sitcom, anybody?) hasn’t shown up to school. That’s Baz (Draco), and he’s also a vampire (because I guess Twilight influences will never truly die out). Simon spends too much of his time trying to prove that Baz is a vampire while Baz torments Simon because Harry and Draco hate each other, so why not these two?

And to make things even more awkward, at the end of the previous year Simon caught Baz holding hands with Simon’s girlfriend Agatha and hasn’t talked to either of them for the whole summer about it.

Baz eventually returns to Watford, acting like he’s cool as shit and up to mysterious things, but in reality he was kidnapped by numpties (which I’m just finding out is slang for a stupid person, but I think they were supposed to be some kind of creature in this story) for six weeks. Simon thinks Baz has been up to something sinister, but first he has something important to tell him.

While Baz was away, the ghost of his mother visited their dorm room looking for him. When all she found was Simon, she told him to tell Baz to look for someone named Nicodemus so she can find peace in the afterlife. Baz’s mother is a hot button issue for him, so naturally he gets pissy when Simon tells him of her visit.

Baz tells Simon that he’s going to help him avenge his mother. Simon naturally thinks this is a plot to kill him, but they make a truce to solve this mystery. Baz wants Penelope in on this too since she’s the brains behind their adventures, and the three attempt to solve the mystery.

At some point a dragon arrives at Watford and starts making a scene. Baz tries to fend it off but he doesn’t have enough magic. Simon discovers that since he’s a magical bomb that can go off at any moment, he can transfer some of his magic to another person by touching them. He does so with Baz and they save the day.

Agatha and Simon break up at some point, and since Simon usually spends Christmas break with her family, he’s got nowhere to go (Penelope’s family is pretty hesitant about Simon coming around because of his magical outbursts). Baz invites Simon to stay with his family, and although he initially refuses, he eventually goes.

Baz and Simon decide to go looking for answers at some sort of vampire club, where they hope to find Nicodemus. They do, he doesn’t give much help, and they leave.

Baz flips his shit in a random forest and seems like he’s going to kill himself, but Simon kisses Baz to stop him. Because fanfiction.

And unfortunately, yes, I feel this entire setup is because of fanfiction. To the book’s credit, Baz mentions being gay and struggling with his feelings for Simon during several parts of the book (his chapter narrations, anyway; he doesn’t actually tell other characters this). But for Simon, this comes out of nowhere. At no part in the story up until now do we get any insight towards Simon’s attraction to either other guys or Baz. And love works in different ways for everyone. I get that. But I think from a combination of this entire book seeming like it’s a fanfiction ofย Harry Potter trying to ship Harry and Draco for the sake of shipping and, unfortunately, kind of weak writing on Rainbow Rowell’s part, I don’t think this is a very good scene. It doesn’t make sense and feels incredibly phoned in.

But hey, that’s just my dumb opinion. Apparently I’m in the minority for this one.

Anyway, Simon and Baz have a few more fan service moments over the course of the book but keep it a secret. The Mage eventually reveals himself to be the bad guy. Well, a guy whose good ambitions took a turn for the worse, I guess. The Humdrum is revealed to be a part of Simon. Simon gets rid of the Humdrum by pouring all of his magic into him (it makes more sense after actually reading the book). The Mage is killed in some kind of struggle. Simon and Penelope don’t return to finish school, but Baz does. Then Simon and Penelope get a place together. Simon and Baz are still dating and… that’s it.

Despite how unnecessary Simon and Baz’s relationship is, it takes up such a small part of the story that it further adds to my confusion about what so many people are going nuts over. The majority ofย Carry On is devoted to Simon, Baz, and Penelope’s quest to avenge Baz’s mother and defeat the Humdrum. Simon and Baz don’t start their intimacy with each other until at least two-thirds into the book, and we only get a couple of small scenes of them together sprinkled here and there throughout the rest of it. It’s been a year so I don’t exactly remember, but weren’t the Simon Snow sections inย Fangirl mostly about Simon and Baz’s budding relationship? If that’s whatย Carry On is supposed to be about, then why is there so little of it?

It’s especially strange because Rainbow Rowell is really good at writing about relationships. Like, really good. In all her other books, the characters and relationships all felt real. As much as Fangirl disappointed me in how the relationship worked out, the journey there was still incredibly interesting and showed the confusing side of how people interpret things in different ways when it comes to romance.

Carry On, though — man, it’s weak. Simon and Baz aren’t particularly interesting. They’re really riding on the fact that they’re Harry and Draco equivalents. And the characters inย Harry Potter weren’t exactly strong personality-wise, either. But at least that series had a ton of charm and it was more about the adventure and mystery than it was about character development.

I can give credit to Rainbow Rowell for at least trying to do something different by writing a more fantasy-themed story instead of a realistic one primarily focused on relationships. But the plot was average at best. You can’t help but compare it to Harry Potter and the entire time it feels either like Harry Potter fanfiction or something that took an excessive amount of material from Harry Potter. The romance between Simon and Baz is very weak and, quite frankly, unnecessary.

You know what would have been better? If Rainbow Rowell wrote a story about a gay romance in the real world. Have two high schoolers (they can even hate each other!) fall in love and explore their relationship and feelings more deeply. Show the struggles that real gay teens would face. Show how some parents don’t approve. Show how far the rest of the world, especially the younger generation, has come by showing their support for the couple. Write a real story about a real relationship. In other words, Rainbow Rowell should have done what she’s been doing all along, only with a homosexual couple instead of a heterosexual one. I love how her characters are nerdy, but in my opinion she’s much more effective writing about nerdy characters than the things nerdy characters are into.

As much as I’ve complained, Carry On was still an okay book. It was entertaining enough in its own way, it held an adventurous plot fairly well (even if most of it was too influenced by another series), and while some parts really annoyed me (mostly the weak romance that seemed to exist solely as fanservice and the average writing that seemed a step below Rainbow Rowell’s usual caliber), I never really hated any of it. One of the minor characters, Agatha, even became legitimately interesting for me. While she’s boring at first, there’s an interesting development where she doesn’t want to be involved in magic or the dangerous adventures that surround Simon. In a way, it’s a kind of funny jab at Harry Potter. It left me thinking, “Yeah, I’m sure one of those nameless students is pretty tired of the shitstorm that follows Harry wherever he goes. I’ll bet there are some students that would like a more normal life.” It even ends with her running away from the world of magic and living a nice, normal life she’s totally content with. And I liked that. It was a nice break from… well, everything else.

But that’s all Carry On ended up being for me. Okay. Not good. Not bad. Just okay. I’ve got a feeling that this book really wasn’t meant for me in the first place. But seeing as how much I’ve generally enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s work, I really can’t help but feel disappointed. And it’s not like I was expecting anything from this to start with. But even the writing wasn’t nearly as good as her other books, and it’s that that I’m the most surprised by.

If you haven’t read anything by Rainbow Rowell, I’d strongly recommend starting anywhere else. Carry On, in my dumb, obviously minority opinion, is her weakest book. The idea of parodying Harry Potter worked in Fangirl because it was in short segments throughout the book, wasn’t the main focus, and reinforced the ideas of a fandom. But as an entire book, it just feels like a joke that’s gone on for far too long. I’m desperately hoping her next book will go back to the realistic portrayal of relationships she’s successfully written about. And I’m hoping she’ll make it about a gay couple that’s more developed than Simon and Baz.

Oh well. At least there wasn’t a Ron Weasley in Carry On.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re all having a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Info for my edition of Carry On:

Published 2015 by Saint Martin’s Griffin

Hardcover, 522 pages

ISBN 978-1-250-04955-1