Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell is the highly anticipated sequel to fan-fic favourite Carry On. Continuing on, presumably a few months after the previous novel, Wayward Son addresses some of the repercussions from the previous book as the characters go international to save the day. All the favourites return as well as some equally awesome new characters who pack a punch.
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 happily ever after, right? So why can’t Simon get off the couch? What he needs is a change of scenery. That’s how Simon and his two best friends end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.
That’s how they end up in trouble.
This book drew me in, again, through the wonderful characters that are immersed within the pages. I really love sequels as you get to see the characters who you got to know so well again and watch their development over the course of the book. While the first book is so focused upon Simon, this book gave more attention to the other main characters and their personal struggles after finishing school. The inclusion of the new characters was great too: I really like Shepard and how energetic and enthusiastic he was about helping the gang. The vampires in Las Vegas were a welcome addition as well, who doesn’t love reading about vampires living in the casino capital of the world? Baz’s interactions with them were great as well, while he was originally hesitant, he knew that he was going to be the only one successful enough to get their support. The multiple perspectives were a welcome inclusion as well. By providing multiple narrators in a book, the reader is able to gain a better insight into how they think and the actions that they take. They are all written so differently and I admire the author’s ability to do this.
One element of the book I was a little confused about was the relationship between Baz and Simon. At the conclusion of Carry On, Simon and Baz had become an item and their relationship had blossomed. In Wayward Son, they are barely talking and I found this really interesting as it was never disclosed as to what the issue was that caused this. Whilst I enjoyed the banter which the two always find, I was hopeful that their relationship would develop further in this book.
A highlight of the book for me was he road trip element. Following the characters through their travels in a new country adds uncertainty and adventure and it kept me guessing as to what was going to happen next! Being to the United States myself before, I liked being able to follow along on the places that they visited and the experiences that they had. I also wish I had powers to fill my car up with fuel without needing to pay for it! The inclusion of the different types of slang in the two different countries was interesting as well and I applaud Rowell for doing this as no two countries have the same slang and it was nice to see it included within a book.
One issue I found within the book was the focus on trying to find Agatha. The characters spent the entire book focused on trying to find Agatha while they did not seem to address the other underlying issues which were impacting them. Agatha treated them pretty poorly and it surprised me that they would be so willing to travel across the Atlantic to go and see her despite her ignoring them. Her storyline within the book was intriguing and I spent most of the book assuming what was going to happen and was blindsided with what did occur.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of reading Wayward Son and feel that any true Rainbow Rowell fan will adore it as well. It has the well developed characters, an interesting plot and the banter between the characters that everyone loves.
I rated it: 3.5 Stars
Thank you to Pan MacMillan for providing me with a copy of Wayward Son for review.
It is now available for purchase in Australia where books are sold.