Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell

28356582Simon 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. (from Goodreads)

I’m not sure I could pinpoint  what I enjoyed from it. It took me a bit to get into it, reading it in little pieces, through a couple of weeks, but after the first quarter of the book I seriously commit to it and finished it in a couple of days. I guess I just needed to let myself immerse in it.

Considering I was constantly comparing it with the Harry Potter series and all the fanfiction I’ve been reading within that world, I guess one of the things that I liked the most was that the narrator changed from chapter to chapter, so even though Simon is obviously the main character, all the other relevant ones get a say in this and that was quite refreshing. I mean, there are many of us HP fans who love the series but consider that Harry gets a bit annoying, and how much more interesting it would be if we’d got some chapters written from the point of view of any other? The chosen ones can be a bit insufferable.

I also liked the way things turned out in the end. I could predict some of the things that were happening, but I didn’t expect at all how it would end for Simon. I wouldn’t said I’m versed in this genre, but for my little experience, the ending sort of broke the mold.

Even though Carry on stands alone and doesn’t require having read Fangirl in advance(*), I did reread it so I’d refresh my memories of Simon and friends, because when I first read the book I honestly didn’t pay much attention to those parts, as I was more interested in Cat’s storyline. This second time, I read Fangirl with a completely different “agenda”, sort to speak, due to my recent interest in fanfiction and my intention to get into Carry On.

I think I’ll most likely keep reading the series. The second book is expeted to be released later this year. 

 

(*) I think, in fact, reading Fangirl in advance was detrimental for me. Some of the problems I had at the beginning of the book were because I was trying to read it as if it actually were Cat’s work of fanfiction. So when Simon, more or less, explains to the reader things that happened in his previous years of school, I couldn’t help but thinking “Wouldn’t Simon Snow’s readers already know all of this? Why would a fanfic author repeat and remind the readers all these things they already know?”. Then I thought maybe this wasn’t Cat’s fanfic, maybe this was Gemma Leslie’s work. That wouldn’t explain either why the original author would remind constantly all these episodes that occurred in previous books. In the end, I decided to stop questioning every flashback and about that time was when I began to enjoy the book xD

Fortunately, the answers were awaiting me in the Author’s Note at the end of the book 🙂

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Attachments, by Rainbow Rowell

8909152“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . “

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say . . . ? (from Goodreads)

I believe this is Rowell’s first novel and, just like the other works I read from her, is beautifully written and hard to put down. If I’d started earlier in the day, I would have read it in one sitting.

What I liked about it:

  • I love epistolary novels, and although this is not exactly one, it’s almost like that. Instead of letters, we read Jenn and Beth’s emails, which are actually more like a chat, and remind me of the long chat conversations I used to have (who am I kidding, I still have) with my best friends, talking all kinds of crazy things + real life and serious talking. The novel, however, it’s not entirely told by emails, because when we read about Lincoln, is just regular writing.
  • There are no bad guys. Only some annoying characters, just like in real life, but that at the end there are not even that annoying.
  • Characters felt believable and like real people.

What I didn’t love about it:

  • I can’t help but wonder how would I react if something like this would happen to me. Some guy at work falls in love with me while reading personal and private emails I wrote to a friend. And he lures around my cubicle when I’m not there. Lincoln doesn’t feel good about it and all that, and really tries to stop the creep in him, but still… Nowadays, social media allows all kind of stalkery behaviour, but maybe it was different in the 90s, when the story is setted? Doesn’t the fact that I love epistolary novels means that I like to read other people’s mail too? Is this something we all like to do, despite knowing is wrong? Is that why epistolary novels exist?

Anyway, the novel is really enjoyable and recommendable.

Fangirl, by Rainbow Rowell

22839547I consider myself a newbie towards the Young Adult genre, so last year I decided to seriously try some of the books that I saw almost daily in tumblr’s book blogs. I read Eleanor & Park and I totally loved it, because I thought it was a very interesting and original way of depicting adolescence romance, not cliché at all. After that, I wanted to read ALL THE BOOKS (exaggerating, maybe?) from the author. Luckily, the same company that published here E&P  published also Fangirl, so I was pretty excited about getting the book.

It seems to be a tradition to me to start reading this kind of books when I’m near a due date or I have to study for my finals. I neglected my study time for this book; I was so caught into it! I don’t think it’s as original as the previous was, but it’s definitely equally or even more addictive.

One of the things I liked most from Rowell’s books it’s that sure, we know the girl it’s going to be with the boy at the end, but that’s not the point of the story. It’s usually more about family, how it molded the characters’ life and ways, how they try to deal with it, and how their new-found partners help them through the process. The tale doesn’t end when they finally kiss or they declare their love for each other, that’s just the beginning of a whole new story.