What I am built for is to fall in love slowly, page by page, like reading a favorite book.
In the most perfect manner, I received an offer for an advance copy of this book while at NYCC for the first time. I proudly took a #SaveAmara pin that I STILL HAVE. Thank you Quirk Books and Netgalley for the chance to read and review this book. And I’ll be honest, while I loved Geekerella, I absolutely adored The Princess and the Fangirl!
The Princess and the Fangirl
Publish Date: April 2019
Read Date: February/March 2019
Format: ebook ARC
Genre: Fairy Tale Retellings, YA, YA Romance
Rating: 5/5 Moose
One year after the events of Geekerella, it is time for another ExcelsiCon! And hopefully for Jessica Stone, it is her last one ever. At the same con is lifelong fan Imogen Lovelace, the starter of the #SaveAmara campaign. What they don’t realize is how much they look alike, and how much switching places might be to their benefits!
Jessica Stone: the Oscar-nominated starlet who played the doomed Amara in the Starfield remake. She is ready to move on to more meaningful films and get away from people who geek out and go to conventions.
Imogen Lovelace: The daughter of a couple who have a longstanding booth at conventions, especially ExcelsiCon. She is in her mind a nobody who is dead set on saving Amara from the popular fridging trope women in Sci-fi seem to face.
Rants, Raves, and Thoughts
I don’t want to spend this review comparing this book to Geekerella, because in the end I think the books accomplish different goals. Perhaps it is because of when I read both books or my mind state….who knows. That being said, I loved Geekerella, and view it as an absolutely adorable YA romance retelling. And while it does have the undercurrent theme of “hey, celebrities are humans too and you need to remember it,” The Princess and the Fangirl takes this idea and builds on it exponentially. And honestly, it is a large part of why I love this book so much.
Trolls are a massive problem with the internet today, and I cannot imagine why anyone wants to be famous and have to put up with that kind of spotlight. You have to have tough skin, or be off social media entirely (which can be career damaging too) or be willing to fight. Thinking about it is absolutely exhausting. And in part, this book shows that those who may look the toughest (Jessica Stone is known for being solid and stoic and almost emotionless) can be the ones who have the most anxiety about what is being said. And what’s even more outrageous is that the women in popular films – comic book, science fiction, fantasy – take the absolute brunt of this toxic feedback on social media. And what about women who held these roles back in the 60s or 70s or 80s?
What my agent should have said was that Starfield would make me a household name like Kelly Marie Tran, or Daisy Ridley, or Leslie Jones, actresses whose bigger stories are not about their performances but about the trolls who chased them off the internet.
I have made this book sound a bit depressing, haven’t I? That’s what Poston does SO WELL: this book isn’t depressing at all! She delivers this heavy reminder in a light sugar coating of nerdy commentary and geeky fandom moments that show that Poston loves culture in spite of all of this. That part of the reason why we should be so intent on changing it is because it IS such a part of who we are (at least my generation? I don’t know. BE NERDY AND HAPPY.) We are reminded that it is perfectly fine to fangirl or geek out over anything, that pop culture has substance and importance in this world. I mean, part of my overall enjoyment of this book is the giddiness of how many references I understood, and finally working up the nerve to ask if I was misunderstanding references to a podcast I love. There is nothing wrong with wanting to read or watch “higher quality” literature or movies, to be “cultured,” but at the end of the day, I am surviving in NYC because I found a peer group based on a love of a podcast network that happened to have an active Facebook group.
And while I may be making deep mountains out of what could easily be viewed as a simple YA romance book (don’t belittle YA like this, SEE THE LAYERS), don’t worry – both romance stories are adorable and worth it. There is queer representation throughout the book, which seems to be a question on several Goodread members’ minds. The book hits on two romance tropes I absolutely love: enemies turned lovers and celebrities dating normies.
AND there are characters from and nods to Geekerella.
At the end of the day, this book was light, fluffy, and yet incredibly meaningful. I swooned and cheered for romance to persevere, I laughed at all the fandom references, I genuinely missed being at a convention. I only go to two in a year – BookCon and NYCC – and while they can be anxiety inducing, stressful, germ filled events, they’re also moments you can spend with people who genuinely seem to get being excited to cheer for fictional characters and where you can be you. In a cosplay or out of it. I look forward to (hopefully) reading more books in this series.
PS: Ashley, if you ever just need someone to geek out over a tv show or something, I’m so there. Just give me a Ravi Chakrabarti cosplay next book!
And it is perfect. And I am happy. And I am enough.