Book Review

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Genre | YA Fantasy
Page #s | 356
Publishing Date | September 2019

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.


When I first read Carry On, I expected to love it as a self-referential ode to Harry/Draco fanfic. Instead, I found a thoughtful book in its own right. Wayward Son moves even further into its own unique space, taking Simon, Baz, and Penelope on an American road trip to save Agatha and avoid the existential angst of outliving one’s role as the Chosen One.

I adore every single character in this book. Simon is depressed, having lost his magic and his purpose (though he also gained a tail and wings) after the events of the previous book. It is painful and all too real to watch him doubt himself and his relationship with Baz. Speaking of, Baz is going through his own struggles trying to support someone with depression; he also gets a wrench thrown into his vampiric worldview when he meets American vampires who aren’t absolutely monstrous.

Penelope shines in this book, confronted with consequences as a result of her controlling tendencies; I loved that her arc included realizing she is bossy but responding, “Yeah, well, I should be the boss; I’m the smartest.” And then there’s Agatha! My darling Agatha, who just wants to get away from the fantasy world of magic and danger. I’m so glad she has continued to be a part of the story after fleeing England, and I hope she is an even bigger part of the next book.

The third book in this series, Any Way the Wind Blows, comes out today! I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

What Makes This Book Queer?

Simon and Baz are in a gay relationship, though since this is the middle book in a trilogy (?), they are not in the best of places. They are constantly misunderstanding each other and missing opportunities for romance (though that means when they DO connect, it is all the more precious).

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?

Anyone who enjoys loving deconstructions of traditional YA books and storylines.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Check out our Queer Lil Library for more book recommendations and reviews!


2 comments on “Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

  1. Pingback: Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell – Roar Cat Reads

  2. Pingback: I Read 66 Queer Books in 2021! – Roar Cat Reads

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