My first thought reading this book was that it welcomed me with open arms. What I mean to say is that the characters within this book and the world they live in – this super fan oriented convention world – felt like home to me. I’ve been at those conventions, I’ve lived these moments, I’ve fangirled like that, and I’ve wanted these characters to surround me.
Charlie likes to stand out. She’s a vlogger and actress promoting her first movie at SupaCon, and this is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star Reese Ryan. When internet-famous cool-girl actress Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.
Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with her best guy friend Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about a fan contest for her favorite fandom, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.
When re-reading the Goodreads listing, I come across this tagline, this first sentence, and I knew it was for me: “Three friends, two love stories, one convention: this fun, feminist love letter to geek culture is all about fandom, friendship, and finding the courage to be yourself”. This is the absolute best tag line I have ever read. It is entirely spot on and if you even think this will interest you, then you owe it to your future self to go out and read this.
The diversity within this book is amazing, not only because of how representative it is, but how it is seamlessly incorporated into their characters. It’s a sad thing to think that a lot of characters are used for their tokenization or their diversity as their only thing, but it’s not uncommon, sadly. So seeing characters who are living and breathing, with personality traits, and diversity is refreshing on so many levels. I also cannot comment on the accuracy of the representation (lesbian, underrepresented bodies, panic attacks, social anxiety, bisexuality, biracial).
Why I love it!
I can say that this whole book is just feel good on so many levels. There are swoon worthy romance scenes, cathartic takedowns, and supportive friendships. This is one of the reasons why I love the book: the friendships. I rarely read such positive portrayals of friendships, but Wilde gets it right here. Taylor, Jamie, and Charlie are there for each other, over drama, over romance, over bullshit. There are no petty squabbles, instead we find open communication and space. It is so affirming to see these healthy relationships portrayed.
At the same time, there is so much amazing social commentary taking place. We have the whole aspect of putting celebrities we love on a pedestal and refusing to see their humanity. There were also amazing conversations about pronouns, bisexuality, and understanding anxiety. Ultimately this book is fantastic because of its absolutely charming characters, its handling of real issues, and its message about having the courage to move on, to say what’s in our hearts, and to take a risk.
You cannot help but want to be friends with these characters in real life. I want a Jamie who is into fandom, a Taylor to talk to about books, and a Charlie to watch funny videos with. I devoured this book in almost one setting, because I became so invested in the characters. These characters made me afraid for them, I was rooting for them, and I wanted so desperately for love to conquer all. This is one of those positive role model books I wish I had read growing up to convince me of the necessity of positive friendships, the elimination of toxic people, and the importance of following your heart. It tugs your heart strings in all the right places by presenting a book about fandom, drama, and redemption.
You need to give a copy of this book to everyone. Find it on Goodreads.