Genre: contemporary young adult, lgbt characters
Angel Rahimi does not know what she wants to do with her life, but she knows she loves The Ark, a famous pop-rock trio boyband. She’s very involved with the fandom, which is seen to have its positive and negative sides as we also experience Jimmy Kaga-Ricci’s opinions about it. He’s one of the members of the trio boyband, playing with his childhood friends. The music is what makes him like it, being on stage and performing. But he can’t go out on the street alone without being assaulted by fangirls, he barely have any free-time with their busy schedule and his anxities are getting worse as he feels his privacy is invaded. When they started to get popular he was accidentally outed as trans, so he knows a couple things about privacy concerns. His dream has turned into the beginning of a nightmare, caging him in. Angel and Jimmy is forced to figure out the balance together, as one helps the other.
There’s two narrators for the two different main characters, Angel and Jimmy. I really liked both of them, the accents were lovely, but sometimes they got on my nerves as well which was strange. Jimmy’s narrator voices all the guys though, and the voice he gave Mac (a minor character) is the most douchy and annoying voice, which made me laugh and grin my teeth together at the same time. Didn’t surprise me when he was starting to act a bit douchy as well, it fit well.
Rating out of five: four
“Most adults see teenagers as confused kids who don’t understand much, while they’re the pillars of knowledge and experience and know exactly what is right at all times.
I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.”
Writing books about internet and fan-culture seem to be a difficult thing based on the books I’ve read that has gotten it wrong. There’s many reasons for that, most of all how fast it’s changing, making it difficult to capture even one particular moment in time. Alice Oseman does it so well, describing it as well as dvelving deeper into the pros and cons of idolizing groups and celebrities and how much space and influence to give them in our own personal lives. And she does all this in anentertaining way! Alice has some really on-point thoughts on it, with different sides conveyed through Jimmy and his other bandmates Rowan and Lister, along with their “biggest” fans Angel and Juliet.
I’ve always had a difficult time idolizing people, like I’ve always known that on some general level all those people have flaws as well. Also I’m very scared about meeting people I look up to, in case I have to experience those flaws first-hand. I’ve not been a big fan of artists, even though I wished I was at times. The community I saw friends building, bonding over their favourites, going out and promoting their records, waiting in line for their concert. All this is things Angel would do, and during this book she goes out of her way to help the guys of her favourite band. To an almost comical degree, because she finds herself in weird situations with them. But it wasn’t unrealistic enough to break the fun it was to see these characters interact and the questions, prejudices and reactions they all had to each other. Angel and Jimmy especially had some hilarious and cringy scenarios together, where the characters goes a bit meta and describes how much it’s seeming to turn into a fanfic, but it’s always done cleverly and tastefully.
characters & plot
Through this light and fun story Alice serves, there’s also greater themes pointing to internet and fandom culture, as well as indentity and how we might use things we enjoy both to escape and to connect with others. There’s always lines between interests being healthy and unhealthy, losing yourself in it. Still, I did not appreciate Jimmy’s grandpa telling Alice how things were and that she needed to focus more on herself and stop thinking she was in love with the guys from the band. Okay, some of it made sense, but when he started his speech I realized how much Alice grew on me through the book. I didn’t like Jimmy very much, I thought he should’ve reached more out to his friends, but I also wanted to defend his anxiety and the need of a good support system, which none of them had. So there’s proof that he had his place in this story as well. They all did. I thought I knew where this book was headed for a while, but the ending was a (kind of) pleasant surprise.
Feelings I had reading this book: enjoyed it, clapping my hands at the well-written characters and their personal struggles coming to terms with their popularity or identity, want to read more Alice Oseman books right away