Book Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

If you like Harry Potter, I have a feeling that you would like this book. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is a fantasy story, love story and a mystery. The book is set in the final year of magickal school for the main character Simon Snow and other leading characters. The book switches between the perspectives of a few other characters with some being Baz, Simon’s roommate/enemy, Penelope or Penny, Simon’s best friend, and Agatha, Simon’s ex-girlfriend. Simon is known as the Chosen One who has to destroy the Humdrum, an evil being destroying the magickal world. That was the one thing Simon had to do, but when a ghost visits his room in the middle of the night, his life gets a bit more complicated. Now he and Penelope group with Baz to help solve the murder of Baz’s mother while still figuring out how to defeat the Insidious Humdrum.

I remember hearing about this book from videos on Harry Potter. They all hyped this book up so much saying how much they enjoyed it which made me excited to borrow it. I was not disappointed. I smiled so much while I was reading this book. There were many different twists in the book and in some of them I could already predict what it would be, but when I got my prediction right, it gave me a kind of satisfaction from getting it right. Whenever I put down this book, I would always want to pick it back up again and continue reading. And when I finished the book, I was filled with a kind of bitter-sweet feeling. I didn’t want the book to end but felt happy finishing it anyways. I loved the enemies-to-lovers trope depicted with the characters and I loved how the story developed. There were so many diverse characters that were fun to read. The main characters had  their own personality that I will never forget. The chemistry between all the characters was wonderful and they worked together. 

This story includes mature language and talks about different types of relationships. This book had everything I was hoping for and more. It had mystery, an angsty past, romance, magick, and even some comedy. The spells they cast were so clever and it had many references to modern things. The story was exciting and addicting. I enjoyed it so much I finished it in only a few days. Though I was sad that this book was over, I am very happy to say that Carry On is only the first book of the Simon Snow trilogy and I already have the second book, Wayward Son, on hold right now. 

-Nicole R.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott

Jo’s Boys: the final book of Louisa May Alcott’s precious series, beginning with the famous Little Women. 

Jo’s Boys is a fast-forward of ten years after the events that take place in Little Men, and is, once again, just as lovely as its previous two installments. It features all of the characters that were at the forefront of Little Men and takes the reader through what everyone’s life looks like ten years later. Jo is now a successful children’s writer, and the children are now all grown up. 

Just like the other books, Jo’s Boys never fails in showing the beautiful relationship between the parents of the story and their children, and showing the differences in wisdom and in youth, and the lessons and beauty that can be derived from each.  I enjoyed Jo’s character in this book more than ever, as she is such a wonderful mother and incredibly loving, wise, and warm as a character. 

Her advice that she gives throughout the book to these young individuals is always one that is heart-warming and insightful as she helps the young men and women of Plumfield navigate the beginning of a new chapter of life. And with the beginning of this new chapter, this gentle entrance into adulthood, the book closes the chapter on childhood and instead focuses on growing up, navigating through life’s difficulties, and staying true to your morals and beliefs. 

Unfortunately, despite this being such a wonderful book and the last of the trilogy, I did not find myself enjoying the last few pages as much as I thought I would have, but, nevertheless, this series now owns a new spot on my list of favorites, due to the beauty in this simplistic series. The wonderfully life-like characters, the writing style, the moral lessons, the descriptions of different aspects of life, and the passing of time all make up this book as well as the other two, and it is for these reasons that I have enjoyed them so much.

One thing I enjoyed quite a bit was how this book made certain references, often in conversation, to events that happened in the first book. This made the books feel like a continuous stream of life, like an inside look at the March family, rather than just a fictional set of stories. I also enjoyed seeing how each of the Plumfield pupils turned out later in life, both in terms of career path and character. All in all, I would recommend Jo’s Boys, and the entire series, for that matter, to anyone from any season of life.

-Aisha E.

Jo’s Boys by Louisa May Alcott is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

Haven by Kristi Cook

The first book in the Winterhaven series, Kristi Cook’s Haven is a mystery romance about a 16 year old girl named Violet Mckenna  and her journey throughout her new life at Winterhaven. Back in Atlanta, at school Violet was known as a freak because she sees visions of her dad’s murder. But, later she goes to New York with her stepmother Patsy and goes to a new boarding school called Winterhaven. Winterhaven was not just an ordinary school, but a school filled with secrets and students having special psychic abilities or “gifts”. Violet meets a small group of friends and she finally finds a place where she seems normal. At school, she meets the most popular guy in school named Aidan Gray and they start developing feeling for each other. While Violet dated Aidan she noticed he’s keeping something away from her. Aidan has been keeping a secret that none of the students know about and later on revealed that he was a vampire. After that there’s a plot twist where there’s a spin on a tragic event that happens to Violet and Aidan relationship.

I would recommend this book if you like mystery, paranormal, romance, and friendship involved. I like the build up towards the middle till the end and it has an interesting plot twist involved. If you like the book Twilight, then this is a spin on that book with a different plot twist that involves vampires and a bit of werewolves. In this book, you can see the journey Violet has taken in her stay at her new school and getting to know her new friends. There is a sequel to this book called Mirage.

Vanessa T.

Haven, and the rest of the Winterhaven novels by Kristi Cook are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library