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Month in review

Reviews
The Amazing World of Gumball Vol. 1: Fairy Tale Trouble by Ben Bocquelet
The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Curse of the Arctic Star by Carolyn Keene
Demon Book 1 by Jason Shiga
The Dragon That Lived Under Manhattan by E.W. Hildick
The Drowning Spool by Monica Ferris
Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
Ghostbusters International by Erik Burnham
Graveyard Slot by Michelle Schusterman
Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 by Ed Piskor
How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora
Imagine a World by Rob Gonsalves
It's a Tiger by David La Rochelle
Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown
The Lost Compass by Joel N. Ross
The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long
The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell
Pouncing on Murder by Laurie Cass
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
The Soprano's Last Song by Irene Adler
Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
The Underdogs by Sara Hammel

Miscellaneous
November reading and looking towards the last month
Reading goals for 2017

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Carry On: 11/07/16

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell is the companion piece to Fangirl which is an homage to the Harry Potter fandom and fan fiction.

Cath's abortive first year of college is filled in with lengthy passages of her fan fiction, Carry On, Simon, based on the promised final book in an eight book series. While I didn't like Cath's melodramatic fan fiction I was curious to see how the Simon and Bass story played out without Cath self destructing in college.

This is Simon and Baz's final year at the boarding school. Baz is missing and the ghost of Baz's mother has asked Simon to bring her murderer to justice. Baz's disappearance though is a convenient plot device to get Simon thinking about his roommate and nemesis as a person rather than the super villain he's destined to be.

Carry On takes a long time to get into gear. The first third of the book is divided up between multiple points of view beyond the two obvious ones: Simon and Baz. As with most multiple POV books, these extra first person points of view are unnecessary. They're filler. They're there just to build up dramatic tension.

Here's the thing. Everyone knows going into this book that Simon and Baz are going to end up together. There's no need draw things out. The stuttering at the beginning — the numerous short chapters from different points of view — all the worrying about what is yet to come is there to forestall the inevitable. This lurching first act feels like a tug of war between three personas: the original (but fictional) author, Gemma T. Leslie, the fictional fan-fiction author Cath, and finally, the real-world author, Rainbow Rowell.

In the Gemma T. Leslie series, the last book would have been titled Simon Snow and the Eighth Dance. Cath's epic long fan-fiction ending was titled Carry On, Simon. This book feels like a compromise between those two extremes, or a stalemate reached after a lengthy tug of war. By the end, the last hundred pages, give or take, though, reads like Rainbow Rowell getting out of both her characters' heads and just writing it the way she knows we all know it's going to turn out. Those are the best parts of the book.

Four stars

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