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.

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

This novel tells the story of a college student named Lylah. Lylah’s parents died unexpectedly on Valentine’s Day two years ago. Lylah still decided to go to college and had made a great group of friends. One night as Lylah and her friends were getting ready for a party, they hear their doorbell ring. No one was outside but they had left a note. The note said “roses are red, violets are blue, watch your back, I’m coming for you”. They all believe it is a prank and laugh it off. Except the next morning, one of them is missing and a new note arrived saying “your turn”. After discovering their friend dead, Lylah and her friends become terrified that one of them was going to end up dead next.

This novel tells a captivating story and is a quick read. I found myself interested throughout the entire story. You will be frightened for the characters and also just as desperate to figure out who was the killer. The ending is a surprise and is definitely worth reading the entire book. I enjoyed following Lylah’s journey. I definitely suggest reading this novel if you enjoy reading a thriller and would like a book that is not too long.

-Ellie B.

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On, by Rainbow Rowell, tells the story of a not-so-great Chosen One with a tendency to set things of fire – Simon Snow, and his vampire roommate/nemesis – Baz Pitch. As secrets from the past are brought to light once again, Simon and Baz are forced to work together to defeat the evil Humdrum that has been plaguing the magical society in England. Filled with monsters, magic, and romance, Carry On is a thrilling adventure with twists and turns and a fast-paced plot that leaves readers hungry for more.

This book, in a nutshell, is Harry Potter crossed with Twilight, with Star Wars references. And not in a subtle way. Despite it being remarkably similar to these three franchises, Carry On, in my opinion, is one of the best books I have ever read. It’s fast-paced plot caused me to speed through the book in only a few hours. As soon as I finished it, I immediately opened it back to the first page and started all over again.

Carry On contains many well written and lovable characters. While they bear many similarities to characters from Harry Potter (Simon to Harry, Penny to Hermione, Mage to Dumbledore, and Baz to Draco), they are each distinct and unique characters, with fun and likable personalities that set them apart from the characters they are based on.

Another thing that makes this book so great is the LGBT+ representation. Both of the main characters are part of the LGBT+ community as well as some of the side characters, something that is not seen often in this genre.

There were some swear words, just a warning, but I felt that they helped make the dialogue feel more real and authentic. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you love fantasy, if you love romance, if you love YA, then pick up this book immediately – you won’t regret it!

-Lauren R.

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

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Korean-American author Mary H.K. Choi humbly states that her debut novel Emergency Contact is a book in which “high-key nothing happens,” but if one were being honest, the story deals with nuances that transcend the somewhat pedestrian nature of falling in love.

Here is a novel featuring a protagonist of color who has dealt with sexual assault and her counterpart, someone who suffers from anxiety. Because the new wave of literature in light of recent revolutions is becoming increasingly diverse, Choi falls into line by bringing in seldom-talked-about issues into acknowledgment. The novel itself, though, is relatively mundane: college, falling in love, texting, no buildup nor climax, only a couple hundred pages of fluff – but the underlying ideas make up for it.

The premise of the book, however, is sweet: the idea of having someone as your safeguard and home(hence the title Emergency Contact) is something that reinforces the idea of clear communication and healthy relationships, especially in the digital age. Additionally, Penny and Sam, our two starring characters, will become more relatable the further you read. They’re charming, bittersweet, and show a lot of the author’s heart inside each of their personalities.

Ultimately, the coffee-shop cliche and cutesie scenes make for your average YA novel, spanning across pages of sentiment. You’ll laugh, ache, and feel for the characters you’re reading for and the experiences they go through. There will be a tough time spent trying to detach yourself from Penny and Sam, and the essential message is this: if you’re looking for your next sappy(yet barrier-breaking) YA, here it is.

— Esther H.

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

You Will Be Mine by Natasha Preston

This was one of the best books I read. As always I enjoyed Natasha Preston’s book yet again; it was almost better than “The Cellar.” This book started with a scene of pure terror when all of a sudden two dorm mates get a letter signed to Sonny, one of their roommates. Included in the letter is a note that says “Your heart will be mine”, not only is it almost Valentines Day, but the note has no address stating who it came from. Not worrying too much about the note, Layla, Issac, Sienna, Charlotte, Chace, and Sonny go to a party to enjoy their break from college. Following their arrival at the party, they are accompanied with free drinks that were already paid for, but by who? Following the next day, Layla is startled to realize that Sonny never came home from the party, he is one to come home late, but with the startled advancement of the note, her roommates are questioning whether somebody killed him.

This book has the perfect amount of suspense, mystery, and action. This would definitely be a book I would recommend.

-Rylie N.

You WIll Be Mine by Natasha Preston is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library

Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy

Ohmigosh!!! That was such a good book! I loved the first one, but I adored this one.

Okay okay so let’s get started.

As you know, Rose is the baby sister. She is always the one that is undercover and hardly ever in the spotlight. She decides that she wants to get herself out there, at a party she meets a mysterious guy named Caden. She plans to have just a one night stand with him, but she doesn’t even get that far before he runs off, hurt, she goes on with her life. She goes off to London with her sister (if you remember, her sister, Violet got a job there with her fiancee, Ryder). Her sister invites her to a dinner party, which she attends just to please her sister…but mysterious Caden is there.

But thing is, he is with another woman. Rose is surprised, but not totally surprised. She figured he’d be with a a woman if she ever saw him again. But…she wasn’t exactly expecting to see him again, none the less so soon after their last encounter. Eventually she runs off to the bathroom, and Caden follows her there. They talk it out (If I tried to explain it, I wouldn’t do it any justice). But they feel passion for each other. The next day, Rose goes out shopping and finds out that Caden has been following her the entire shopping trip.

But honestly, he doesn’t follow her in a creepy way, I mean, if you want something, you need to pursue it, right? I mean, it eventually get’s the job done, they do get together, but Caden is hiding something from Rose, he has fallen in love though and fears that if her tells her his true background, she won’t want him.

I found Caden’s letter to Rose so sweet
“But I love you. I do. I fell in love with you and I didn’t even know it until today, though really I think I secretly knew It all along. You make me feel like no one else ever has, so all I can say is thank you.
Thank you for teahing me how to love.”

It was such a great book! I would recommend it for anyone, it is that good. But it does have some mature themes, so maybe don’t read it if you are under 16? No, but seriously guys, you need to read this book!

-Skylar N.