Rainbow Rowell's Carry On
OK, so, like, even if I /didn't/ know the background to this book, I couldn't help but keep mentally comparing it to Harry Potter--at least until about a third of the way through, when I got so caught up in things that I briefly forgot Harry Potter existed. There is a lot of good stuff going on in Rowell's fantasy debut--pretty interesting world-building, great characters, whatever, BUT then there is a murder mystery!! And some other mysteries. And it's all really satisfying (EXCEPT for poor Lucy, oh Lucy, you did make me cry)! The love story could maaaaybe have been built up a bit more, but I liked how it all went down, and I definitely liked how things wrapped up. Rowell really has a knack for writing characters you just root for, and I loved her sly little take on chosen one/magic school stories. I was worried this couldn't possibly live up to my high expectations, but it DID, and I want to read it again immediately. A/A-.