Book Review: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Source: Borrowed (but I also own it)

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…

With Wayward Son, Rainbow Rowell has written a book for everyone who ever wondered what happened to the Chosen One after he saved the day. And a book for everyone who was ever more curious about the second kiss than the first. It’s another helping of sour cherry scones with an absolutely decadent amount of butter.

Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.

I’d like to start off this review by saying that I was skeptical of Wayward Son from the beginning. While I loved Carry On, I felt like it was a complete story and I wasn’t sure what exactly could be done in a sequel. To make matters worse, shortly after I preordered it (which I did so that I could meet Rainbow Rowell, which I do not at all regret) I found out that it was being extended into a trilogy. Turning this one book that didn’t even need a sequel into a trilogy just felt like a huge money grab to me, but I kept an open-ish mind.

me with Rainbow Rowell

Thing about this book is… very little actually happens. I usually love road trip novels, but I just struggled to find the point of this book. Yes, they’re on a road trip. Yes, they’re in America. But why? Everything that made the first book fun and magical was missing here. The characters are all miserable, there’s no resolution of anything, and the book kind of just… ends.

I think my biggest problem with this book was that it felt like fanfiction. Like, sure, the characters are the same, but nothing else is. Their personalities are different. They’re in a different place. They’re doing different things. And the biggest problem with it feeling like fanfiction is that’s it’s already fanfiction. Carry On came about based on fanfiction written by the main character of Fangirl, and I think you could make an argument that Simon Snow is just Harry Potter fanfiction. So worse than feeling like some weird alternate universe fanfiction, it was like some weird alternate universe fanfic of a fanfic of a fanfic. It’s too much.

It says it right there in the synopsis. The story is supposed to be over. So why did we get a sequel, and why is it a trilogy now? I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to read Any Way the Wind Blows. It could go either way right now, but I’m leaning towards no.

Have you read Wayward Son? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Source: Purchased

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

In case you weren’t aware, I am a huge Rainbow Rowell fan. I’ve previously reviewed Fangirl, Carry On, Attachments, Eleanor & Park, and Landline on this blog. Pumpkinheads was one of my more anticipated books of the year. I’ve been a little wrapped up in my move, though, so I didn’t even realize that it had already released until I found my preorder in my mailbox. I read the whole thing that same night.

Here’s the thing. This is definitely a Rainbow book. The characters are cute. The story is cute. The pumpkin patch is cute. The art is cute. Everything about it is cute. I want to go to this pumpkin patch. I want to eat literally everything in this book and go on every ride. But if everything was so great, why am I only giving it three stars?

The biggest reason for my rating is the fact that I predicted the entirety of the plot on about page three. The plot is very simple, which isn’t always a bad thing, but I just wanted a bit more from this book. I feel like I can’t say anything about the plot because one sentence could give it all away.

I might not have adored this book as much as I’d expected to, but it was still a fun read! Now the countdown to Wayward Son begins…

Have you read Pumpkinheads? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

Find me all over the internet: Goodreads | Twitter | Bloglovin’

March 2016


You may remember A Study in Charlotte because it appeared on a previous list of mine regarding most anticipated releases for the first part of 2016.  Well, it’s still on my list, and it’s finally coming out next month!

Kindred Spirits is being released as part of World Book Day UK, but I’m hoping that it will be made available somehow throughout the rest of the world.  I’ve read everything Rainbow Rowell has published, and I don’t want to miss this one!

Book review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Series: Simon Snow #1
Rating: ★★★★★
Links: AmazonGoodreads
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Source: Purchased

Simon Snow is the worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he starts something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around, wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here — it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Fangirl was my first Rainbow Rowell book. I read it, I loved it, I’ve never looked back. Since finishing it, I’ve obsessively read everything that Rowell has ever written. I’ve recommended her books to my friends, to my co-workers, to my boyfriend (but he won’t read them). I love her writing style. I love her characters. I love everything about her books. So, in short: This book is by Rainbow Rowell, so of course I loved it.

And of course this book is connected to Fangirl. In that book, Cath writes Simon Snow fanfiction. But if you haven’t read that book, don’t worry about it. Prior knowledge of Fangirl is not necessary to read, understand, or enjoy this book. They are separate worlds. They are separate entities. So let me first start by saying this: put Fangirl out of your mind. Enjoy Carry On for what it is.

This book is, by far, one of my favorites in recent memory. I read the majority in one sitting, stopping only for my weekly phone call with my mom and a quick lunch break. I’m having trouble finding words to describe it. It’s everything I’d hoped for, and maybe a little more. It’s funny, it’s clever, it’s whimsical, and it’s enthralling. It made me happy to be reading it, even when the plot got sad. I wish I could live in Simon Snow’s universe, because I could be friends with any of these characters.

Simon, the “worst Chosen One who’s ever been chosen.” A kid who’s jumped from foster home to foster home, who absolutely loves coming to school because it’s the one place he feels like he belongs.
Baz, maybe-probably-definitely a vampire. A kid from one of the Old Families (who used to rule the magical world). The biggest jerk with the biggest heart.
Penny, the smartest girl you’ll ever meet. Heart of gold. So clever. And she cares about Simon so much in a 100% platonic way.
Agatha, who’s actually kind of awful, but you can’t help but sympathize with her, at least a little bit. (I take it back, I couldn’t be her friend.)

And all the secondary characters, from the school staff to the family members to the villains. As you would expect from Rainbow Rowell, they’re all developed. They all have histories and motives and feelings.

As the story begins, Simon is entering his eighth (and final) year at Watford. His roommate Baz is missing, and although Baz annoys the living daylights out of him (and has actually tried to kill Simon a few times), Simon knows something must be wrong when he still hasn’t showed up several weeks into the term. He spends his days (and nights) prowling around the Watford campus, asking around about Baz, searching any and everywhere he thinks Baz could be hiding. His need to find Baz borders on obsession.

Eventually, Baz comes back, and the story kicks up a notch (or several). Simon and Baz aren’t at each other’s throats as much as they used to be. In fact, they team up (temporary truce) to achieve a mutual goal. Simon has never been able to control his magic, but amazing things happen when he works with Baz. The two of them are like a dream team. I was completely absorbed by their story.

And, oh… the romance. I wasn’t sure how Rowell was going to pull it off, but she did. She always does. It felt natural, and it wasn’t over-the-top. It was perfect. Much like this whole book.

I can see myself re-reading this one. That’s how much I loved it.

for my 2015 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #2: a romance