Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: May 17th 2016
3 OUT OF 5 STARS
Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received through LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for an honest review.
Gena and Finn meet through the internet, bonded by their love for the show Up Below and one of the main characters – Jake. They’re both dealing with a variety of real life issues, from rent to romance, but always find happiness in each other. Their relationship progresses quickly, but other things start to get in the way. Long story short; it’s complicated.
The story starts strong. It’s exactly what it promises to be. It creates an Up Below fandom which feels like it heavily draws from Supernatural, which is absolutely a good thing. The style of the book is strong, any fan will be able to relate to the blogging and chatting and ALL THE FEELS.
Finn is extremely relatable. She’s dealing with relationship troubles, job troubles and just overall lack of satisfaction in her life. Gena is a little more confusing and distant, there are parts of her that some people might identify with but on the whole she’s a very strange character. She’s eclectic, strange and fairly needy. It’s not bad it’s just difficult to feel connected to her.
Do not pick up this book if you’re looking for an LGBT romance. It occasionally teases slightly but this is NOT a love story. The vaguely worded blurb, and even the title (Gena/Finn: in fandom speak we all know what / means) seem to hint at a romance. This is almost entirely baiting.
The third part of this book is confusing. It practically throws out the text/e-mail/blog format in favour of journal writing, which means that a large portion of the third part is just written like a normal first person book. It loses what made it special. The ending is dramatic in a way t didn’t have to be, and in fact it sort of hurts the book. It stops being entirely about fandom and starts dealing with heavy topics. Books SHOULD deal with heavy topics but that’s not really what this book is set up to present.
It was weird. The book devolves into an entirely different genre and while surprises are pleasant on occasion I didn’t pick up this book for this. The fandom plotline is almost entirely dropped – there’s maybe one or two blog posts that are never fully resolved. It was like the book didn’t know where it was going and suddenly decided to force a bunch of awkward plots to make the story more exciting. It quickly knocked itself down from being a five star book exploring fandom to a three star sort of average drama.
This was supposed to be a book about fandom and a relationship between two girls. It ended up being the story of a girl dealing with mental illness and PTSD. The latter is not a bad idea for a book – but advertise it as what it is. Don’t promise a character driven romp through fandom and deliver this. There was a good story before the authors decided it wasn’t dramatic enough and decided to change directions into a different sort of book entirely.
Nevertheless it’s a good read for fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, even if the ending falls short of expectations.