“If you can’t trust people with nose rings
to be open-minded, who’s left?”
Title: Wayward Son
Series: Simon Snow, #2
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: young adult, fantasy, adventure, LGBTQ+
My Rating: ★★★★☆
This review has no spoilers.
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.
[ This synopsis is from Goodreads. ]
I like the idea of a story of what happens after the hero fulfills their destiny. Like, it’s nice that everything is over and there’s no more immediate danger, but also how do you deal with the sense of purposelessness? For Simon, poorly. I can’t think of another young adult novel that deals with the aftermath of a prophecy. Most of the time a book covers what happens for a hero to fulfill it but never what comes afterwards. I think that’s one of the main reasons why I liked this story so much. The themes of finding purpose and a sense of self again was hit on majorly in this story and I’ve never read a story like it.
Additionally, I related to Simon quite a bit. I’m in college currently, but I’m very unsure as to what I want to do after graduation. I, too, in a sense, am struggling to find my purpose in a world where it seems like everyone around me already has their stuff together. Because Simon lacked a sense of purpose, self-esteem issues arose, and I often times find myself in his shoes, minus the whole magic prophecy thing.
The chapters in this novel are super short, making the story really easy to read. It never feels like it’s dragging, and the story goes by really quickly. I honestly thought it would take a week for me to read it, but it only took a little over two days.
This has nothing to do with the story or the review, but one memory that I associate with this book is when I bought it from the bookstore. It had recently come out, and I had just gotten through a really rough week. Uni was kicking my butt both academically and emotionally, and I needed a pick me up. I remember taking an hour bus ride to the nearest Barnes and Noble from campus and picking up a copy. The bookseller at the cash register seemed so happy that I was buying Wayward Son and gushed about how he and his wife loved it. Something about his friendly persona and attitude really lifted my spirits that day. So yeah, I digress. This has nothing to do with the review but I thought I’d share that little wholesome story.
Okay. Back to the review.
There was a bit of turmoil between Simon and Baz that I wished Rainbow Rowell addressed more in the story. I think maybe she’ll go more into it in the third book.
Speaking of the third book, I didn’t realize that this series was a trilogy. I genuinely thought that this series was going to be two books, and that Wayward Son was the last one. Color me shocked when I saw the cliffhanger at the very end. I thought to myself, surely this isn’t how the author is going to end the series… right? Turns out, yes (thankfully), Rowell is not ending the series on a cliffhanger. I’d cry if she did. She did, however, end this book in a cliffhanger, and we’re going to have to wait until who knows how long until the third one is released. I just checked Goodreads and there is not release date in sight.
One thing that I love about the characters is that all of them have their own flaws and quirks. It’s what makes them unique and endearing. Except Baz. Baz, as Simon would say, is bloody perfect.
As an American, it was so fun to see the characters’ reactions to the United States. What Baz says about the endless corn fields in the mid-West cracked me up because it’s very true. The road trip adventure not only expanded the trio’s (Penny, Simon, and Baz) knowledge about America, but it expanded the reader’s knowledge about this magical world. Before in Carry On, we only knew the magical world in Great Britain. Now we get to see how the rules of magic and magical creatures differ across the ocean.
In my Carry On review, I made the observation that it had a very similar vibe to Harry Potter. Wayward Son does not, which I appreciated. The similarities in the first book were uncanny to the point that I couldn’t stop thinking about Harry Potter while I was reading it. While I was reading Wayward Son, Harry Potter didn’t cross my mind even once. Like I mentioned before, I really like the direction Rainbow Rowell took the story, delving into what happens after the happily-ever-after.
All in all, I really enjoyed the story and I hope that this review has convinced you to pick up a copy yourself if you were on the fence of whether or not you should read it. Everyone is as sassy as ever and quite hilarious, especially Simon. Maybe even more so than the first book, which I totally approve. The more sassiness the better.
I’m not sure relating the Simon Snow is the best thing in the world, but it was really nice to see a main character struggle with the same things I’m currently struggling with.
He’s goddamn perfect. No arguments needed.
I still consider her the Hermione Granger of the trio because she gets the boys out of trouble more times than I can count.
I still don’t know what to make of him, really.
I give Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell 4 / 5 unicorn horns.
Until next time….