Review: Princess and the Fangirl
Princess and the Fangirl is the second in the Geekarella series, by Ashley Poston, but you do not need to have read the first to enjoy this one as it is a standalone story. Like the story before, it's a modern day version of a fairy tale, in this case The Princess and the Pauper.
If you have ever been to a comic con, science fiction convention or other similar geek/ fan event, then parts of this novel will be eerily familiar. The story is set at a comic con and follows the experiences of a fan girl, Imogen Lovelace, and the princess, sorry I mean popular film franchise actress, Jessica Stone.
The book very much focuses on themes of fandom, when a film, series or other focus of fandom becomes so beloved then who really owns the characters? Is it the studio, the fans, the actors who play them, the writers of fan fic...? The studio may have the legal rights, but without viewers and fans the series ceases to exist. Ultimately the availability and desires of an actor or actress might influence whether a character stays or goes. So if a studio wants to axe a character and the actress wants to do something new, what does that mean for the fans, that only watch it as they love the character? Can you campaign to keep it even when the odd are stacked against you? The exploration of the different relationships that the parties involved have with the fictional character is heartwarming and feels very real.
Imogen and Jessica end up swapping places, which gives rise to accusations of being "fake" from other fans, which need them both to team together to defend their actions. Through this storyline Poston address the issue of gatekeeping in fandom, the idea of the "fake geek girl" which is used to invalidate fan of a particular area, but tends to disproportionately affect girls and women.
The entire story takes place in the four days of the fictional convention ExcelsiCon, which is a lot to fit it, but I dare to say we have all had weekends that seem an emotional marathon compressed into a couple of days, so it's not completely unrealistic.
Although the question is, even in a series that is based on a fairly tale, is four days long enough to fall in love? Well, I will let you decide that for yourself, but it's certainly long enough to find a spark that might lead to love. The romantic relationships in the story are, of course, enchanting. Everyone gets to live happily ever after, well most of them. I hope that is not a spoiler, this is a fairy tale after all. The same sex relationships feel very natural and not forced or simply there to make a point.
The action of the plot drives along at a fairly quick pace, the script has been leaked and Imogen has to find out who and how before Jessica gets the blame, while also trying to live each other's lives without ruining everything for the other.
This is a delightful story and for anyone who loves fairy tales or fandom it should be on your must read pile.
If you have already read this, let us know in the comments below.
Here is an affiliate link to buy the book on Amazon.