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Simon Snow and More Fun YA Series

Plus, Author Rainbow Rowell's Favorite Books

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 04, 2021

The Rainbow Process

Rainbow, it's Baz, come on! You got a whole world figured out here, come write it.

The seeds for Rainbow Rowell's Simon Snow series were planted when she wrote her third novel, Fangirl. The central character is a college freshman named Cath who writes popular fan fiction about her favorite books, featuring Simon, a Harry Potter-esque figure, and his wizarding-school roommate (and rival) Baz.

As Rowell wrote about Cath's fandom, the characters began to take on lives of their own. She finished Fangirl, thinking that closed the door on the storyline. But in an interview for Vox, she said, "the back of my brain never leaves Baz Pitch."

Carry On, the first book in the series, came out in 2015; Wayward Son in 2019. And the final book in the trilogy, Any Way the Wind Blows comes out tomorrow! Music lovers may notice a theme running through these titles. Rowell has spoken about how much music informs and inspires her work.

Rowell has also written bestselling novels Eleanor & Park, Attachments, and Landline, as well as several graphic novels including: Pumpkinheads, Runaways, and a manga adaptation of Fangirl.

More Rainbow-esque YA Titles

To really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.

Warning: Rowell's tantalizing blend of romantic realness and whimsical fantasy is habit-forming and you may quickly run out of her books to read (like we have!). So here are some other titles to help fill the void.

  • I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios: Seventeen-year-old Skylar longs to get out of her dead-end town and escape her dead-end job for art school.
  • Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett: Zorie's boring life takes a wild turn when she finds herself stranded in the wilderness with the boy who broke her heart. Awkward!
  • Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi: After a cringe-worthy first meeting, Sam and Penny strike up a text exchange that quickly becomes a deeply intimate lifeline.
  • Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman: Kiko is a half-Japanese teen grappling with social anxiety, a narcissistic mother, and a crushing rejection from art school.
  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson: When a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, she takes an unexpected detour.
  • Winger by Andrew Smith: Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at an elite boarding school grappling with life, love, and rugby.
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon: Over the course of a single day, a Jamaican girl who is about to be deported meets, and falls for, a Korean-American boy.

Rainbow's Favorite Books

"I always get lost in the library," he said, "no matter how many times I go. In fact, I think I get lost there more, the more that I go. Like it's getting to know me and revealing new passages."

As a writer, Rowell certainly doesn't restrict herself to any one genre and the books she loves reflect this same kind of variety. Here are some of the books that she's found inspiring.

Obviously, we think Rainbow Rowell is simply wonderful! And we're excited to get our hands on Any Way the Wind Blows to learn what happens with Simon and Baz. Let us know if you have any predictions to share.

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Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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