A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Romantic fantasy meant to entertain.
Love and friendship are about trying to get close to people, and trying to hold on to that closeness. They're about staying with someone through the good and despite the bad, and about just trying to make it work. People change, things change, so it's really hard. But just stay, just keep trying.
Positive Role Models
Teens and young adults just out of college are loyal, brave, and work together to solve problems. None of them are sure what comes next, but they never hesitate to jump in and help because it's the right thing to do, and they don't stop trying to solve the problems that come up. Simon and Baz are positive models of an intense romantic bond, and learn how satisfying it is to make their partner happy. There are two positive models of same-sex romance, and one opposite-sex romance. One of the group is Black, another is biracial (White and South Asian), and the rest are White.
Violence & Scariness
A vampire drinks the blood of small animals, mostly rats, with a couple of mentions of wringing their necks, cutting their throats, or "dispatching" them. Blood is briefly tied to sex by mentioning rat blood on mouths after kissing. A fight with a magical creature using a knife; no blood, gore, or injuries are described. A kidnap victim is tied up and another is locked in a fairly comfortable room. Magicians threaten each other with wands. Cuts from breaking glass are not described in detail. A group attacks with magic spells that don't work on their intended victim.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual activity includes some crude language describing rubbing the penis into the partner's hip, both through clothing and naked, kissing, biting, caressing, having orgasms against each other, and being covered in "spunk." There's a crude reference to giving and receiving oral sex, and a few mentions of masturbation. There's a brief tie to violence when rat's blood is mentioned on their mouths, and excessive biting during foreplay. Both partners model asking for consent. They model good communication of sexual needs and fears, and explore other mature themes like how satisfying it is to satisfy your partner. Other couples kiss a few times.
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"D--k," "c--k," "f--k," "dogs--t," "bastard," and British words like "bollocks" and "arse."
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Products & Purchases
A few food, drink, social media, and entertainment brands, most mainly available in the UK, mentioned in passing or to establish character and location.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An adult mentions having Madeira. An adult vapes and a narrator mentions ashtrays and cigarette butts around her apartment. A lamp made from a bong and a bong made from a lamp are mentioned.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Any Way the Wind Blows is the final installment in the fantasy Simon Snow Trilogy by popular YA author Rainbow Rowell. Reading the trilogy in order is highly recommended for a thorough understanding of the characters and events. Sexy stuff is more intense in this installment, with a couple of descriptions of sex using crude language like "c--k" and powerful emotions described. There are descriptions of rubbing a penis on the partner's hip through clothing and naked, having orgasms against each other, kissing, and biting. Masturbating and oral sex in the past are mentioned with crude language but not narrated. Sex is briefly paired with violence by mentioning excessive biting and by mentioning blood on and in mouths after kissing. The violence is fairly mild and in the fantasy realm, with a couple of magical attacks, kidnapping, and a vampire drinking the blood of small animals. The only injury is some minor cuts from broken glass. Strong language includes "d--k," "c--k," and "f--k." Adults drink alcohol a few times but not to excess. Teens go to pubs for meals without mentioning what they drink. An adult vapes and has ashtrays full of cigarette butts and a bong. The six main characters are half White, two identify as biracial (White/South Asian and Egyptian/Italian), and another is Black. Two romantic couples are same-sex and one is opposite sex. They're all positive role models but racial, cultural, or ethnic identity isn't really talked about.
Is It Any Good?
Fans of the series will find everything they love and could hope for in this funny, intense, final installment. Except maybe the fact that Any Way the Wind Blows is indeed the final installment. Secrets are revealed and circles are closed in an ending that's both satisfying and not satisfying at the same time. New questions arise and new circles are formed, too, that readers will have to imagine possibilities for themselves.
Just like in Wayward Son, the well-established characters banter wittily and experience emotions intensely. Intriguing new characters, discoveries, mysteries, and deepening romance keep the pages turning. As the characters mature, the romance and sex becomes more intense and explores more mature themes. That and the strong language make it best for older teens and up.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.