Ashley Poston | The Children’s Book Review | April 26, 2018
Fandom Means You Aren’t Alone
I grew up in the age of Twilight and Harry Potter, when fandom leaked onto the internet in Angelfire and Geocities fan-sites and role-playing message boards and fanfiction archives. I had to know where to look—or really, what keywords to put in to Ask Jeeves because Google was still a distant glimmer in our eyes—but I found it, the world of fandom spread before my fingertips like an intricate roadmap of OTPs and shipping wars. Even though I was just a faceless avatar on a now-defunct message board, I felt like I finally belonged somewhere, and found friends online I never would’ve found in my small town. Now as an adult, I realize how instrumental fandom was in finding a space where I could exist wholeheartedly, a space where I could experiment in the different ways to be the best version of myself.
Online, the people in these fandoms didn’t call what I loved silly, and they didn’t mock me, and they didn’t ask, “Why are you so invested? It’s just a silly book.” Or a movie. Or a television show. Or a comic. Or a boyband. Or a pop song. Or an online monster-raising website.
The funny thing is, some of those things are billion-dollar industries. Others have changed music, and movies, and film and literature as we know it. Harry Potter changed the way we celebrated children’s books, and a lot of my friends cut their fanfic teeth in that fandom. Some people still tried to call it silly, but a funny thing happened: the word didn’t stick anymore.
I think that’s where things began to change, at least in my life. Harry Potter, and the culture around it, gave me the permission to be unironically enthusiastic about something. It was something I didn’t know I needed. The success of Harry Potter, and Twilight, and Lord of the Rings, and the Marvel movies, can be attributed to a steady rise to fandom culture as the geeks and nerds and dungeon masters slowly crawled out of their hobbit holes.
And a new narrative began to emerge—one that told us, the geeks and the nerds and the fangirls and the fanboys and the trash-shippers—that we were not alone.
That’s why I love writing geeky, nerdy, fandom-heavy contemporaries. It’s because I fell in love with the unironic enthusiasm that came from unabashedly loving something with all of my heart, and realizing that it’s okay. That I might be weird, but what I love isn’t silly or childish. That we can embrace the stories that tuck themselves into the depths of our hearts, the ones that make us feel happy and buoyant and complete, and we can celebrate them.
It’s important to show the younger generations that growing up doesn’t always mean growing out of things that make you who you are. You can carry what you love with you your entire life, because those stories and tropes and fandoms that built you when you were a teenager are part of the foundation that makes you strong and resilient and compassionate—and that you are not alone.
Below are some of my favorite geek reads that celebrates being that geeky, nerdy, fangirly heroine of your own story. Happy reading!
12 Fanfiction Books for Fangirl Heroines
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell—About a fanfic author navigating first love in her first year at college.
Ship It by Britta Lundin—Queer girls! Comic-Cons! Trying to make your favorite OTP cannon! What more could you want?
All the Feels by Danika Stone—Best friends find love at a comic-con.
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandya Menon—Nerdy girl meets boy! Nerdy girl finds out boy is the one her parents want her to marry. Nerdy girl has something to say about that.
A Blade So Black by LL McKinney—Sailor Moon fangirl gets a sword to fight the forces of darkness in this Alice in Wonderland retelling.
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde—Three girls find love, happiness, and acceptance over a three-day Comic-Con.
The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash—Boy loves girl. Boy makes extravagant plan to woo girl at New York Comic Con. Things do not go well… or do they?
How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis—Two fanboys set off on a cross-country road trip to follow a traveling comic-con. They end up following their hearts instead.
Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner—Cosplaying girl dresses up as twin brother. Infiltrates a group of Dungeons and Dragons nerds. Proves that the only thing fake about this geek girl is her mustache. (Kidding, she doesn’t wear a mustache.)
Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here by Anna Breslaw—Fanfic writer is bereft when her fav show is canceled. Gets new subjects to write about: her classmates. Good idea, y/n?
Don’t Cosplay With My Heart by Cecil Castellucci—Cosplaying girl feels best in her superhero cosplay. When real life intervenes, she must find the strength to be her own hero.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia—Ultra-popular webcomic creator is friendless IRL, until she meets a boy, but when her online persona and her real life collide, things get messy.
About Ashley Poston
Ashley Poston is the author of Princess and the Fangirl (Quirk Books, 2019), Geekerella (Quirk Books, 2017), and Heart of Iron (HarperCollins, 2018). Her fangirl heart has taken her everywhere from the houses of Hollywood screenwriters to the stages of music festivals to geeked-out conventions (in cosplay, of course). When she is not inventing new recipes with peanut butter, having passionate dance-offs with her cat, or geeking out all over the internet, she writes books. She lives in small-town South Carolina, where you can see the stars impossibly well.
Written by Ashley Poston
Publisher’s Synopsis: The Prince and the Pauper gets a Geekerella-style makeover in this witty and heartfelt novel for those who believe in the magic of fandom.
Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: to save her favorite Starfield character, Princess Amara, from being killed off. On the other hand, the actress who plays Amara wouldn’t mind being axed. Jessica Stone doesn’t even like being part of the Starfield franchise—and she’s desperate to leave the intense scrutiny of fandom behind.
Though Imogen and Jess have nothing in common, they do look strangely similar to one another—and a case of mistaken identity at ExcelsiCon sets off a chain of events that will change both of their lives. When the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, with all signs pointing to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. The deal: Imogen will play Jess at her signings and panels, and Jess will help Imogen’s best friend run their booth.
But as these “princesses” race to find the script leaker—in each other’s shoes—they’re up against more than they bargained for. From the darker side of fandom to unexpected crushes, Imogen and Jess must find a way to rescue themselves from their own expectations…and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.
Ages 13+ | Publisher: Quirk Books | April 2, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1683690962
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