CARRY ON by Rainbow Rowell

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Watford School of Magic changed Simon’s life. When he was eleven, the Mage plucked him from the orphanage and told him he was the most powerful magician ever to live–the one who was prophesied centuries ago and who is destined to defeat the Insidious Humdrum which has been stealing magic. Of course Simon wishes he were born into a magic family, and that his magical abilities were not quite so unpredictable and destructive, and that the Insidious Humdrum weren’t making his life quite so miserable. Perhaps most of all, he wishes the Humdrum didn’t inexplicably look exactly like him. But when in his final year the Mage suggests that he leave Watford for his own safety, Simon’s answer is an emphatic no. He couldn’t possibly leave his brilliant and brave friend Penny or his girlfriend Agatha. And he couldn’t ever leave Baz, his vampire archnemesis/roommate, unmonitored–especially now when Baz’s parents and the other old magic families are planning a rebellion against the Mage. Unfortunately, Baz doesn’t show up for the start of term. Although he is initially worried the vampire might be planning something evil, when the ghost of Baz’s mother shows up looking for him, Simon begins to worry for his safety. When Baz finally does return, released from an embarrassing kidnapping, Simon feels obligated to help him find his mother’s killer–even if it means trusting the person he knows is destined to kill him.

Carry On, Simon was the hypothetical “Simon Snow” fan fiction novel written by character Cath in Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, a novel inspired by the Harry Potter fan fic world. In actually writing Carry On, Rowell created a vivid and nuanced fantasy world that has many direct parallels to Harry Potter, which makes the differences and twists all the more meaningful. I wish there really were eight books set in this world, but the one is brilliantly crafted, engaging, and poignant. It will be most appreciated by older teen and adult Potter fans. It is not necessary to read Fangirl first, but I recommend it.

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