Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Wayward Son is a great sequel to Carry On; the first book of the Simon Snow series. The events of this book happen at a time very close to when the events of Carry On happened and will most likely only make sense if you have read Carry On first. Just like Carry On, Rowell has once again, done an excellent job. I definitely enjoyed this book, but didn’t enjoy it as much as Carry On. I did feel like this book progressed a lot slower than Carry On. Carry On gave us the back story and explained everything going on quickly. The plot moved forward faster than Wayward Son

Wayward Son continues to follow the four characters, Simon, who was formerly known as, ‘The Chosen One’, Baz, who is now Simons’ boyfriend, Penelope, Simons’ best friend, and Agatha, Simon’s ex-girlfriend who is making her life now in the states. Simon and Baz are having a tough time. Simon was the hero of the story and was supposed to live his happy-ever-after, but instead, he’s dealing with some of his trauma. Baz wants to be there for him and has a hard time figuring out how. Their relationship is slowly tearing apart so to help them all heal, Penelope brings them on a vacation to America with her. They plan to visit Agatha in California but this road trip across America turns into a rescue mission to save Agatha from vampires. 

We meet some new characters such as Shepard. Shepard was an interesting and unique character who became pretty significant in the story. He interacted with our characters and moved the plot. We also got to see a lot more of Agatha. She was no longer just the “main characters’ ex”, she instead became a real character and became very important to the rest of the story. 

Although Wayward Son was a bit slow and not as great as Carry On, it was still fun to read. It was mostly about their road trip and fixing their relationships in the beginning, but nearing the end, the characters get more external problems they have to solve and get rid of. But throughout the book, they all have many internal problems, like their romantic relationships, familial relationships, and how to start fixing things. All the characters are going through their own list of problems both internal and external.

Wayward Son was an excellent book.  The characters found and healed themselves throughout the book and went through many new experiences. I found out more about characters and met some new and interesting ones in the process. I enjoyed this book a lot even though it ended in a cliffhanger. But thankfully I won’t have to wait a long time since the third and final installment of the Simon Snow trilogy just came out this July ninth and I can’t wait to get the whole series to completely finish it and then re-read it later.

-Nicole R.

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

Diverse Books by POC and LGBTQ Authors

As much as I love the representation presented in Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Lunar Chronicles, and Six of Crows, I have learned while reading these books that they are written by white, heterosexual women. There is nothing wrong with this and should be a common occurrence among white writers but sometimes, these authors tend to overshadow queer authors and authors of color. Their stories are less likely to be heard, though these stories relate to their personal struggles and identities. So here are some that I would like to recommend some books by authors in the POC and LGBTQ communities.

  1. Casey McQuiston: This author has been known for writing Red, White, and Royal Blue and One Last Stop, two stories with both LGBTQ and POC representation. In Red, White, and Royal Blue, the main character is biracial and bisexual while his love interest is gay. In One Last Stop, the main character is a lesbian as well as her Chinese American love interest. Casey McQuiston themself is bisexual and nonbinary, using all pronouns. They are publishing a book in 2022 called I kissed Shara Wheeler, another book you could check out!
  2. Adiba Jaigirdar: This author has written 2 books called The Henna Wars and Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating. These books are sapphic and show representation in the Muslim, Afro-Brazilian, Bengali, and Korean community. The author herself is Bangladeshi and lives in Ireland. She identifies as queer. Go check her books out!
  3. Hafsah Faizal: This author is known for writing We Hunt the Flame and We Free the Stars. Hafsah Faizal grew up in a household where Islam was an important practice in their life. She is of Arabian and Sri Lankan descent. The books stated above portray Arabian terminology that is normal in Arabia. We love to see it!
  4. Angie Thomas: This author has written many books but the ones people mostly recognize her for is The Hate U Give and On the Come Up. These two books are about how racism hinders and traumatizes young black people and how they live in a society that is constantly against them. But, nonetheless, they fight against them with all of the strength they have. Angie Thomas is also one of six authors who wrote Blackout, a collection of love stories between black people during a power outage in their city. Definitely check it out!
  5. Tomi Adeyemi: This author has written the Legacy of Orïsha trilogy: Children of Blood and Bone, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, and another untitled book she is working on. These books are inspired West African elements with Yoruba mythology. Though it is a fantasy book, it show many ideologies in our world (like racism) discreetly.

If you would like to expand the types of authors you read, please check these ones out!

-Saanvi V.

Book Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Everyone’s heard the old saying “Live every day like it’s your last,” but how would you live knowing it was your last day? This is the position Rufus Emeterio and Mateo Torrez find themselves in when they receive the dreaded phone calls from Death-Cast, a service that calls people to let them know they’ll be dying at some point that day. Mateo and Rufus connect through the Last Friend app, one designed to help Deckers (people who have received the Death-Cast call) find friends in their final hours. Their bond strengthens not only as they work through the hardships of premature goodbyes and impending doom, but also as they live their day to the fullest and make the most of each moment, whether that be playing on childhood playgrounds, engaging in deep conversations, or facing fears and past trauma through exciting new experiences. 

I really enjoyed this book and I found it to be very well-written. The characters had distinct personalities that felt authentic and realistic. It’s especially notable how Mateo and Rufus complemented each other well and helped each other along in their character development by pushing each other out of their comfort zones and healing pain from the past. I also loved how the author included perspectives from multiple characters; it was fascinating hearing each of their opinions and thoughts on death even if they hadn’t received a Death-Cast call that day. This book also had great casual LGBTQ+ representation and some very sweet romance. 

The one issue I had was how long it took for me to become fully invested in the book. It had a bit of a slow start so it took me a while to really get into it, but I was hooked when the momentum started to pick up. I found this book very thought-provoking in regards to how it discussed the value of savoring every moment in life when death always lurks just around the corner. Overall, this is a great read and I highly recommend giving it a try!

-Kaitlyn S.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera is available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.