“You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all.”
Rainbow Rowell has the ability to write a seemingly fluffy, humourous teen drama and then floor you with staggering, heart wrenching lines. Her characters start as two-dimensional cut-outs (the brawny lead, the nerdy sidekick, the brooding villain, the blonde love interest) and develop into deeply drawn humans who contradict themselves and their tropes with their own blooming personality.
The novel, Carry On, is described as a “chosen one story”, but of course, it’s really a Harry Potter story. It’s a brilliant (and cheeky) Potter fanfic, with its own unique plot line. As a Potter fanatic, I absolutely adored the parodying of Rowling’s series, but Carry On is not just a parody. It is a story in its own right. While the magical world relies on a lot of worldbuilding from Potter, there are a few key differences. The magical system in Carry On is beautiful – poetic, and inventive, and I adored how creative it was. I now want to read an entire septology of novels with this magical structure. I want to learn every spell in the book, for their idiomatic charm.
At its heart, Carry On is also a love story. And a gay love story. It’s essentially a Harry & Draco fan fiction, given a book deal and a contract and nominations for literary awards. And I adored it. While reading it I said to myself, “I can’t believe I’m reading a published Harry/Draco fanfic.” But the unique conflict and the matter-of-fact homosexuality, diversity and feminism throughout the novel completely won me over.
If you’ve ever wanted to read more Harry Potter (and let’s face it, who hasn’t?) this novel will definitely satisfy your cravings. I haven’t read Fangirl yet (Carry On is in fact a spinoff of Fangirl) but I’ll definitely add it to my TBR. I rated Carry On 5 stars because of how much genuine joy it brought me. And sometimes, you just need a book to bring you joy.