The New Cover Art for Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Carry On’ Is Pretty Effing Beautiful

rainbow rowell reveals carry on paperback cover art

Nebraskan and YA hero Rainbow Rowell just gave her fans a special treat this year: an exclusive look at the new paperback edition of her highly acclaimed young adult novel Carry On. And, you guys, we haven’t seen a prettier cover.

Okay, so I’ve never read a single book by Rowell — or anything science fiction related, to be frank — but I was wholly determined to read Carry On once I realized the premise of the book was something like Harry Potter, but with a gay love story involved. (Is that right?) Of course, I know that isn’t all that this book is about but I’m just excited I finally have a reason to read young adult sci-fi (and sci-fi period)! I mean, honestly, this book sounds brilliant.

But wait a minute, you’re here to see the beautiful cover, right? Thanks to BuzzFeed and Rowell’s publisher, St. Martin’s Press, we have another reason to rejoice in reading this book: Carry On is slated for paperback next year! If you haven’t heard already, the paperback edition is pretty effing gorgeous; but I’m just going to stop going on about it and show you what you’ve been waiting for.

Look at how beautiful this new paperback is?! ZOMG, it’s so pretty!!!

St. Martin’s Press

For the latest edition of her book, Rowell tapped first-time book cover artist and comic book illustrator, Kevin Wada, the man behind the magnificent artwork you see above.

On Tuesday, December 14, Rowell gave an exclusive interview with BuzzFeed expressing the creative direction and inspiration behind the book’s new kaleidoscopic cover, and why she decided to put the art in Wada’s hands:

I’m such a fan of Kevin Wada’s work that it’s hard for me to even talk about it in a coherent way: It’s vivid and bright and breathing. Like, it feels real and unreal at the same time. You always feel like his portraits are looking right at you and either seducing you or challenging you to a duel — which is exactly the right tension for Simon and Baz.

Also, his use of color. I need color to live. And Kevin just hits you with it.

I’d commissioned Kevin to do portraits of my characters a few years ago. Then followed his career on Tumblr. He did some breathtaking posters for my friend Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows series. And his She-Hulk is my favorite She-Hulk.

We really wanted to do something different with the Carry On paperback. Different from the hardcover, different from my other books. (“We” is my editor, Sara Goodman, and Olga Grlic, the designer who’s done most of my covers, and me.) We wanted the book to look more like a fantasy — because it is one! — and to really focus on Simon and Baz, the main characters. And we wanted it to be bold.

Kevin was our first choice, and I SANG OUT LOUD when he said yes.

And then he gave us these gorgeous illustrations where Simon and Baz looked more beautiful than I ever imagined them — but also exactly like I’d imagined them.

First published in October 2015, Carry On tells the story of Simon Snow in his final year of magical schooling, where he learns he is the “Chosen One” destined to defeat the Insidious Humdrum, an “evil force that has been wreaking havoc on the World of Mages.” Throughout the novel, which is told through various perspectives, we’re introduced to an array of diverse characters, including Simon’s best friend, Penelope; his girlfriend, Agatha; and his evil roommate Baz who later becomes Simon’s boyfriend?!

This book seems like so much fun, and I am so anxious to get my hands on a copy of it myself. For those of you who have read Carry On already, how did you like it? What should I expect? Are you buying the new edition, too!

You can preorder the paperback edition of Carry On, which will be available for purchase May 9, 2017.

What do you think of the new paperback cover art for Carry On?


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Paris Close
the authorParis Close
Editor-in-chief at Paperback Paris. Saving myself for Andy Cohen. Give me Gillian Flynn, or give me death.