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Wayward Son: 10/26/19

Wayward Son

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell is the second of the Simon Snow books or the third of the Fan Girl series, if you consider the Harry Potter fan fiction about going to college and writing fan fiction as the moral start.

Following his transformation and essential dethroning as the Chosen One, Simon has been in a funk. Sure, he's in university and he's living with his boyfriend (and former nemesis) and his best friend, Penelope. Agatha, meanwhile, has gone to the United States for college.

To get Simon out of his funk and to see Agatha, Penelope and Baz plan a road trip across the United States. They use magic to get their tickets and a passport for Simon. Here they use magic to hide Simon's wings, keep the car filled with gas, and for money for motels.

Things, though, almost instantly go pear shaped. First: Penelope's boyfriend breaks up with her. Second, their magic isn't working correctly. Third, Agatha's been kidnapped. Fourth, the country is a lot bigger than they expected ("like driving from London to Moscow"). Fifth, they've gotten the attention of American vampires and other magical creatures.

For all the magic and other paranormal shenanigans, Wayward Son falls at the very bottom, the far extreme of the road narrative spectrum. The existence of magic doesn't automatically make the road narrative fantasy.

As the majority of Simon, Baz, and Penelope's drive across the United States is done on the interstate with infinite gas and fairly easy passage, the three are privileged travelers (00). They further act the part by whinging about how awful everything is, basically reveling in the miserable time they are having.

The route the three take is same one taken in On the Trail to Sunset by Thomas William Wilby and Agnes Anderson Wilby and shares a similar plot. There is the couple taking another person to meet a lover, only then to have to mount a rescue in Las Vegas. Back in the time of the Wilbys' novel, the route ended up being an offroad one, but now in 21st century, it's an interstate route (00).

Finally there is the destination. Ultimately after all the detours, they arrive at their stated goal, the city of San Diego (00). With all the magic and fighting they have managed to pull of the prototypical road trip, going from an Eastern (well, Midwestern) city to a West Coast city via the interstates.

All together Wayward Son is about three privileged travelers driving to the city via the interstates (000000).

There's another book planned in the series, Anyway the Wind Blows. No publication date is available at this time.

Three stars

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