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Keep Reading and Carry On

November 10, 2015

An original author, creating a fictitious author writing what amounts to fan fiction, that was then borrowed by another fictitious character for more fan fiction, and then back to the original author who took the fictitious author's character and wrote her own fan fiction? What's not to love about that?

My brain hurts. This book made my brain hurt. In 2013, author Rainbow Rowell released Fangirl, which is my favorite of her books (so far). This book followed main character, Cath, to college, where she embarked on a creative writing degree, while still writing her insanely popular fan faction for Simon Snow, created by fictional author, Gemma T Leslie. Snow is instantly recognizable as an homage to that other boy wizard, or as Rowell puts it, Snow's "kind of an amalgam and descendant of a hundred other fictional Chosen Ones" - or know...Harry Potter.

In an author's note to the new book, Rowell explains that the character of Snow wouldn't let her go, and she really wanted to tell his story. But...once you get past all the levels of fan fiction-ness, there's actually a pretty good story underneath.  Simon Snow is, indeed, the Chosen One, but his massive amount of power is so unstable that he can't control it. And his evil doppleganger is destroying what magic is left in the world. Will he and his arch enemy/ roommate/ potential love interest save the day? Or will they just fight with each other?

Now Rowell is no Rowling - her writing doesn't quite have the depth of the master. And sometimes the Britishness of the story comes across as contrived (Rowell lives in Nebraska...just saying). But if you can't get enough Harry Potter adventures, or have some dark fantasy that Harry and Ron hook up instead of Harry and Ginny, then you need to read this book. You can probably read it without reading Fangirl first, since this is it's own story, but your experience will be better if you've read the original before Carrying On. I really like Rowell's voice - no matter how many layers of fan fiction it has to go through to get to the source. And while she is technically writing for teens - anyone will appreciate these stories. If you'll remember, the other boy wizard was initially written for children.

Keep reading and Carry On...

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Amanda is a classically-trained pianist who loves to read. Like any good librarian, she also has two cats named after Italian cities. Amanda spends her free time sitting in Nashville traffic, baking, and running the Interlibrary Loan office at the Nashville Public Library.