Wayward Son Review

Wayward Son Review | Rainbow Rowell

Carry On left me a squealing mess, so I was beyond excited to see there was a sequel to one of my favourite comfort books. I have to admit this wasn’t quite what I was necessarily expecting, but maybe my hopes were too high. Keep reading for my full review on Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell.

Publisher: St Martin’s Press | Date: 2019 | Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy

Plot: The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain.
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…

Book review: Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Wayward Son Review

Fangirl has been a go-to read for years. Carry On is my feel-good read whenever I want to embrace my fandom side and squeal. I’ve been counting down to Wayward Son ever since I heard it was coming.

You know what they say about hopes and height..?

I enjoyed it. I was swept up in the magic, and it was fun. And I wanted to know what happened next; wanted to see how the characters and their relationships would develop. It didn’t give me that in a satisfying manner, though.


I, ultimately, enjoyed it. I love Baz and Simon, and the changing narration means you get to know both of them – and Penny – as the book progresses. There’s more of a focus on Baz this time, and it’s hilarious realising just how much of a love-struck fool he is when Simon Snow is around.

But… it wasn’t as good and felt flat a lot of the time. There was no squealing over Baz and Simon being idiots in love. I wasn’t desperate for more.

Simon doesn’t do much. His passion in the first book has disappeared. He’s in exactly the same place at the end as he is at the beginning. He wasn’t the hero we know and love from the previous book.

Bunce has walked up with our boarding passes. “Plane-engine-preserving?” she repeats.

“You know, in case of critical engine failure.”

“Simon can save me,” she says.

“He’s already saving me.”

“I’m saving the women and children!” Snow says.

“Technically,” I say,” you won’t have wings.”


Carry On is full of development; Wayward Son is not. It starts with problems in their relationship. It ends with problems in their relationship. They spend the entire book knowing communication is an issue, despite loving each other. But there’s no progress; no moving past the problems; no satisfying feeling the book actually resolved any of the issues. Without that, it fell flat.

The best part was the growing relationship between Baz and Penny. Simon is what they have in common. But there are subtle moments (Baz putting his arm around her), and less subtle moments (kissing her on the cheek or using a spell normally restricted to family) that show development. You feel these two have had a year of dealing with each other – and a withdrawing Simon. At least there was some sort of development.


The pace was steady rather than fast. There’s enough dangerous moments scattered throughout it stays engaging. The new characters are intriguing, but not enough to make up for the lack of development. There are supposed twists – allies betraying them etc – but they’re not jaw-dropping moments that make you miss your breath.

Final Thoughts

I don’t want to be negative – this is still an enjoyable and fun book. But it wasn’t as powerful as I was hoping and the open ending makes me wonder if this fell into the trap of a second book in a trilogy, hence the lack of development?

Have you read Wayward Son? What did you think?

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26 thoughts on “Wayward Son Review | Rainbow Rowell

    • To be honest, I recommend it as well – just one of those occasions where I got my hopes up too much and it didn’t quite deliver the way I wanted to. The first two books are a couple of my go-to books so can’t recommend them enough!


  1. This has been on my anticipated list but I’ve been holding off reading it because of the mixed reviews. I think I’ll wait for my expectations to go down further before reading it, based on your review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been wanting to read a Rainbow Rowell book for awhile. So maybe I’ll start with an older one, and if I become a fan this one will end up on my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have yet to read anything by Rainbow Rowell. I do own Fangirl and Landline, however. I’ve heard a lot about Carry On as well and am pretty interested in getting my hands on that one. Thanks for the review on this one, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

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