Book Reviews

WAYWARD SON BY RAINBOW ROWELL // book talk: did my most anticipated release live up? ft. road trips & even more wacky spells

Huh. I feel like I’m in a fever dream rn.

The very first book I read this year was Carry On. It’d been sitting on my shelf FAR too long and I was literally speechless. The book took over my entire life, I non-stop talked about it everywhere, forced it on anybody who hadn’t read the book. I reread my favourite parts multiple times and I just,,, it was a lot.

So to say the least, I was HIGHLY anticipating this book for like nine months. I probably thought about it every day. What do you mean it wasn’t a healthy obsession? I-

Anyways, we have A LOT to talk about so let’s just get started!

Title: Wayward Son
Series: Simon Snow book #2
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Page count: 356
Date published: 24 September 2019
Genre: Young Adult urban fantasy


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…

Come on, Simon Snow. Your hero’s journey might be over – but your life has just begun.

STAR RATING (4 out 5 stars):

A massive thanks to Pan Macmillan South Africa for sending an early finished copy my way! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Yeah, you heard that right: EARLY COPY!! I died that day. You currently reading a post written by a ghost.

I don’t know how the people over at Pan Macmillan are so amazing but they really made my entire year. Like I don’t even have any words.

Why I will admit that it kind of torture reading the book before literally anyone else and being drowned by her own thoughts, I’m just so grateful that they did that for me. LITERALLY SOMEBODY PINCH ME. A DREAM COME TRUE.

ALSO um my emotions?? did not survive THIS FREAKING BOOK. I can’t believe I actually died twice in one day.

I read the entire book in one sitting. Yes, my anxiety DID go through the roof. I just,,, need to gather myself for a second. THIS BOOK HURT OKAY! MY CHILDREN WERE HURTING THEREFORE I WAS HURTING.

Hmm okay, breathe Ruby breathe.

Let’s first chat about Rainbow’s glorious writing. I just love it so much!! Her writing is my favourite kind, easy to devour but gives you all the feelings. It flows seamlessly and IT’S JUST SO GOOD!

The world in itself is just also a genius. I’ve said this countless times but I’m just gobsmacked at how she came up with this. It makes absolutely no sense but is just so well-crafted. The world is so whacky and crazy. The spells are literal nursery rhymes. And I just!!! How??? How is she so smart?? Beats me.

She’s created this fascinating world, based on Harry Potter, but so unique and creative. I just!! I can’t help loving this world. It has a whimsical and upbeat feel to it that just gets me every time.

But really it’s the characters that make these books. They manage to bury themselves under your skin and refuse to leave. I love them with my entire heart. I cry with Simon Snow and Baz Pitch. I just,, it’s really a lot.

  • Agatha: she was not my favourite in the first book and still isn’t, because she’s quite annoying. I’m just more connected to the trio and I’m not as invested in her storyline. Although interesting, I just don’t like all her all that much.
  • Shepard: he was such a great addition to the cast of characters, a real element of surprise. I didn’t really know what his intentions were at the beginning but I really did like him by the end.
  • Penelope Bunce: I really love Penny, I think she’s such a great character. She has so many layers and we definitely see more sides of her in this book. I loved learning more about her.
  • Simon Snow: my little idiot child, oh how I adore you. I just,,, have no words. My heart aches whenever I think about him, he’s just so lost and has no idea what to do with himself. The boy thinks he has no family, he’s lost his magic and ahsjahsgahjaj I CANNOT COPE. My heart can’t handle this. I just want to hug him.
  • Tyrannus Basilton Grimm-Pitch: my absolute favourite, floral-suit wearing, baby. I just,,, again want to actually cry. I still sob into my pillow whenever I think about that iconic line in book one. How do I even describe how much I adore him. I can’t. It’s too much. He’s just trying to help Simon but,,, they’re both just two hot messes and *screams into oblivion* SOMEBODY CALL AN AMBULANCE RUBY JUST FAINTED.

Back to the world, I really loved exploring America and the magic system. I really loved learning how it was different and I loved seeing how the characters had to use other spells. SO FUNNY! I love that Rainbow is expanding the world and that it becomes easier to understand.

The road trip element was also SO SO SO great. I loved seeing the three experiencing America. Twas a marvellous adventure.

Ultimately, and I’ll take about this more in the spoiler section, is that the ending didn’t sit well with me. Poor me read this alone and had basically no-one to talk to (trust me I looked) and there was no book three announcement. So I sat there wondering what on earth I’d just read and it was A TIME. And not a fun one.


me reading wayward son tbh

What I didn’t like:

I also just didn’t feel that there was enough character development, which I know is a common criticism. There was a little bit but not enough for me to content.

But what really bugged me was the MISCOMMUNICATION. I never like this in books but Simon and Baz didn’t talk about their problems basically AT ALL. AND THERE WAS SO MUCH TO BE SAID. Which I think is why my enjoyment lowered a bit. It was just SO FRUSTRATING. Like ahhhh!!! JUST!! USE!! YOUR!! WORDS!! *pulls hair from scalp*

It was still great and I can’t wait for more of the world. I also just really need to reread the book. I might feel a bit differently. I read the whole book in a sitting and wow what an experience. I was so anxious so that could also have affected my enjoyment.

Also, something amazing happened. I tweeted at Rainbow, who’s the best, I literally asked if my book was missing pages AHHH WHY RUBY?!?!. I thought my copy was rigged or something. So I spoke to RAINBOW ROWELL OVER DM!!!! OMG STILL DYING!!! She told I was the first reader she spoke to and just WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK!!

These idiots really thought they could just go on a quick holiday to America? HA!

A smol list of favourite scenes that I loved:

  • BAZ’S SCARF? ICONIC. Baz is just an icon in his entirety.
  • OMG BAZ HATES KANSAS OMGGGG. Bless you, Rainbow!! I GET YOU!!
  • The Cheesecake Factory bit? Hilarious at first, but then disturbing.


And the scene in the back of the truck. I’m EMO!!

The introduction of the new vampires was… a lot. I didn’t know what to think the entire time. I was so afraid that Baz was going to abandon Simon. Literally screaming.


I really did burst into tears reading this book, didn’t I?



Just HOW COULD YOU TWO NOT SAY MORE TO EACH OTHER?? I literally can’t. Do you two SERIOUSLY think neither loves you anymore?? And how did the conversation at the end last ONE PAGE??? I FEEL BETRAYED!! GOSHHH!!!

For those who have read the book, here are some of my favourite lines to make you cry. You’re welcome!

“Simon Snow, it hurts to look at you when you’re this happy.
And it hurts to look at you when you’re
There’s no safe time for me to see you, nothing about you that doesn’t tear my heart from my chest and leave it breakable outside my body.”

“Can I?” he asks.
Can you what, Simon? Kiss me? Kill me? Break my heart?
I touch him like he’s made of butterfly wings.
“You don’t have to ask.” I say it loud enough that he’ll hear me, over everything.”

“I’d give him all that I am.
I’d give him all that I was.
I’d open up a vein.

I’d tie our hearts together, chamber by chamber.”

“The wind is blowing Simon’s hair straight, and he’s squinting—from the sun and from all the smiling. “What!” he shouts at me again.
“You’re so beautiful!” I shout back.
He turns the radio down, so now there’s just the wind and the engine noise to shout over. “What’d you say?!”

“Sometimes Simon kisses me like it’s the end of the world, and I worry he might believe that it is.”

“Simon is on the ground. His wing is bent the wrong way. His blood is red and abundant. It smells like brown butter. His hair is a mess, his face is in the sand. He doesn’t know how much I love him. He’s never really heard it.
I’d wake up every morning and tell myself . . .
“Simon . . . love . . . get up. We still have to save Agatha.”
Simon is on the ground.
This will end in flames.”

“How have I lived through so many happy endings without ever learning how to save the day?”
“He’s lovely. A bit of a sad mess. Dull and pale and rough around the edges. But still so lovely.”
“I know that Simon and Penny must be watching me. I hope they notice that I’m holding my hand in the thumbs-up position at my side. (That’s their idiot sign for “all’s well.”)”
“Surviving monsters doesn’t make you monster-proof.”
“I’ve loved him through worse. I’ve loved him hopelessly…So what’s a little less hope?”
See I’m crying again. And I want to reread it and increase the rating. I’m predicatable.

I really did burst into tears reading this book, didn’t I?

SOMEBODY HELP ME! I’m genuinely not okay.









  • theorangutanlibrarian

    Lovely review!!! I am just in love with Baz as a character!! And this was definitely one of my most anticipated books for the last year as well. Those quotes are *everything*! and I want to reread it already!! 😀

  • Lais @ The Bookish Skies

    wayward son was also one of my most anticipated releases of the year. it’s really exciting you got an early copy, btw! i spent a lot of money on mine (lol) and unfortunately, ended up being quite disappointed at this one.
    i still love baz and he was by far my favorite part of this book. his remarks about america and everything were so funny and interesting. i also really enjoyed seeing him find out more about vampires, because he was truly sheltered from any contact and therefore, doesn’t even know much about what does it mean to be a vampire and how does everything work. even though i was disappointed by their portrayal (i feel like vampires are not much in this universe and being one is too “easy” and “convenient”), i was happy that baz was slowly learning more about it and also feeling better about himself.
    as you said, the miscommunication was probably the worst part. i feel like baz and simon had around two conversations without being interrupted and ended the book with the same problems they started out with. it was so frustrating!
    this ended up being really bittersweet, but simon/baz made it worth it. and i do have hope i’ll like the third book better!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      I’m still in shock about my early copy 😅

      I def agree about the vampire world being too easy. And GAHHH THE MISCOMMUNICATION!!! Let’s just… not talk about it.

      Yes I have HOPE TOO!! Maybe this one just suggested second book syndrome??

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