Monday, November 23, 2015
According to GoodReads...
"Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters."
According to us...
The Reading Date: First of all, did we all read Fangirl? Were you interested in reading more of Simon and Baz's story?
We Heart YA: HAHA great question. I LOVED Fangirl, but I found the fanfic interlude chapters to be a bit of a distraction. Fun! But not necessary. So no, I wasn't all that interested in Simon & Baz as part of Fangirl. But I kind of trust Rainbow Rowell with anything, lol.
The Reading Date: For me, the fanfic parts of Fangirl weren't my favorite parts. But I was surprised how much I really enjoyed these characters in Carry On.
The Reading Date: Carry On kind of makes me want to re-read Fangirl now for more of their story.
We Heart YA: oohhhh GOOD IDEA. I think those sections would mean more to me now -- or mean something different, anyway
The Reading Date: I'm sure you've both read Harry Potter. Did you compare the two "worlds" as you were reading Carry On?
We Heart YA: Not intentionally, but it's impossible not to see some parallels. To me, Carry On felt like if someone took Harry Potter, Twilight, and Rainbow Rowell's voice and then shoved it all into a blender. I mean that in a good way! The story is very much in dialogue with other stories -- but it's also very much Rainbow's own.
The Reading Date: Oh I love that!!! And yeah, even though this is new territory for Rainbow, being a work of fantasy, it still very much had her contemporary touch on it if that makes sense. It was accessible for me - someone not that crazy about fantasy.
The Reading Date: What has your experience been with fanfic? Ever read or written any?
Teen Lit Rocks: I have read a lot of fanfic but all Harry Potter
We Heart YA: I've read lots of fanfic, and written some, but it was all well before YA's heydey, so it was mostly TV shows I liked (such as Star Trek and Sailor Moon)
We Heart YA: I think Carry On is distinct from fanfic, even if it has some roots there, or similarities.
The Reading Date: Right? This book concept is crazy like fanfic of a fanfic- and it sounds like it wouldn't work but it does!
We Heart YA: lol Rainbow is magic that way. She makes all sorts of things that shouldn't work, work
The Reading Date: Hee yes! I saw Rainbow speak at Comic-Con this summer and she was saying how writing Carry On was so difficult for her. Writing Fantasy vs. Contemporary was so new and different. But yup she makes it work!
The Reading Date: It's a long book but it reads quickly, doesn't it?
We Heart YA: omg yes. Rainbow's prose is so simple and honest, I zip right through it
The Reading Date: What's your favorite Rainbow book?
We Heart YA: Fangirl, actually. I identified strongly with Cath, and even though I've never been to Nebraska, the story transported me right back to my college days, which are among the best and most formative of my life
The Reading Date: That totally makes sense about Fangirl. Cath is so relatable,
Teen Lit Rocks: I think Eleanor and Park is still my favorite but I love them all
The Reading Date: I'm cheating because I don't know that I have a favorite! But Fangirl is a good one- I like them all for different reasons. I really didn't expect to like Carry On so much though.
We Heart YA: I like them all for different reasons too, hehe, and I also did not expect to like Carry On so much
The Reading Date: So, was this a book you were drawn into right away because you were familiar with the characters from Fangirl? How did it compare to Rainbow's other books for you?
Teen Lit Rocks: To be honest I would sometimes skim the story within a story in fangirl so I wasn't sure how it would work for me. I needed assurances from a close friend and book blogger that it wasn't going to be just a rainbow-fied spoof of HP
We Heart YA: Mm, I didn't remember too much about the characters from Fangirl, so that wasn't the draw for me. I just adore Rainbow's storytelling and narrative voice -- which were strong as ever in this, even though it was a very different kind of book for her
The Reading Date: Were you satisfied with the book in the end?
Teen Lit Rocks: Yes! In some ways Simon has to sacrifice more of himself than Harry did and I wondered if she was the sort of HP fan who felt like Harry got off a bit too easy
We Heart YA: I finished the book pretty recently, so I'm still parsing out my feelings... but overall I would say yes, I am satisfied. I especially appreciated the commentary represented by Agatha and by the Mage
Teen Lit Rocks: And I was worried about the romance because m:m written by het women can be seen as slash instead of genuinely romantic
We Heart YA: While I'm not sure how I felt about the romance from Simon's side, I got chills from Baz's perspective
The Reading Date: I definitely shipped those two. The book really came alive for me when Baz came on the scene.
Teen Lit Rocks: Yes!
We Heart YA: YES!
Teen Lit Rocks: And you have to read like a third of it until he makes an appearance
We Heart YA: OMG I KNOW IT WAS TORTURE (I mean, not really torture, lol... But I was definitely anxious to meet him, and to find out why he was missing. (Numpties! Lol)
Teen Lit Rocks: Basically her romances ALWAYS work for me. She's the YA goddess of tension and anticipation
The Reading Date: Yes! I was super impressed with the story, the magic, the friendships and romance. And I was so skeptical but won over at the end. But I still want Rainbow to write more contemporary ☺
Teen Lit Rocks: Yes! I felt the same way
We Heart YA: In terms of diversity, there is the very obvious same sex coupling. But there was also subtle racial diversity (with Penelope and her family being Indian -- which wasn't an Issue at all, just a sidebar fact). And then there was what I thought was some interesting socioeconomic/class diversity, which was actually part of the plot.
We Heart YA: LOL so true. Although grumpier?
Teen Lit Rocks: I thought of Penelope as a mashup of Ron and Hermione. One True Friend, no romantic tension, large wizarding family, boyfriend she met on wizarding exchange.
Teen Lit Rocks: Lauren and I also noticed several Twilight references with the vampire romance
We Heart YA: Oh for sure! There were some good jokes/jabs in Carry On too, in reference to Twilight, Harry Potter, and a few other pop culture things I forget now. (Good natured jabs, I should clarify)
The Reading Date: I love that Rainbow is a Twilight fan!
We Heart YA: ME TOO. I hate how much hate Twilight gets. (There's a diff between criticism and hate)
The Reading Date: YES def.
The Reading Date: It was nice to see a gay romance at the center of the book. That's rare in fantasy, no?
Teen Lit Rocks: As the central story line yes. Although they exist… I just haven't read them! I did love Alex London's sci-fi/dystopian duology
The Reading Date: Oh right- Proxy was really good.
The Reading Date: Would you want to read more stories about Simon/Baz or should Rainbow move on to something new?
Teen Lit Rocks: I feel like she should go back to contemporary
We Heart YA: Hm. I feel like Simon/Baz is fairly complete at this point... She took them through their big journey
We Heart YA: I know that when we love stories, it's tempting to want more, but sometimes when authors give us more, they just muck things up... :P
The Reading Date: Agreed!
Teen Lit Rocks: Yes! I also think that sometimes publishers want bestselling authors to stay with their beloved universe/characters too long. It's like the equivalent of jumping the shark
We Heart YA: Exactly
Teen Lit Rocks: Like there are a few authors I want to read more from -- but not if it's yet another series about the same fairies/demonhunters/vampire lovers
We Heart YA: I love how Rainbow keeps moving on, giving us great standalones, but creating this body of work that is distinct but still satisfies fans hungering for more
* * * *
• "Keep Calm and Listen On: The Carry On Audiobook Experience" at The Reading Date
• "5 Things to Know About Rainbow Rowell" at Teen Lit Rocks
The entire YA Diversity Book Club archives can now be found on Tumblr, along with information about our upcoming book selections.
If you would like to join us in reading diversely next month, pick up a copy of DELICATE MONSTERS by Stephanie Kuehn.
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