Geekerella by Ashley Poston is one of my all-time favorite YA contemporary novels. I love how she seamlessly mashes the love of fandom with an age-old fairy tale plot. So of course, I had to read the sequel/companion novel, The Princess and the Fangirl, and I am thrilled that this book is another amazing blend of fairy tale and fandom.
Imogen Lovelace has one goal during this year’s ExclesiCon: find a way for her favorite character, Princess Amara, to not be killed off. Jessica Stone, who plays Princess Amara in the reboot, wants nothing more than to move on from fandom films. But after the script for the Starfield sequel is leaked, the two find themselves face-to-face with an even harder mission: trade places to achieve their goals. It’s easier said than done.
What I love best about Ashely Poston’s books is that she makes it so easy to fangirl over the characters and plot. Reading Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl is like an invitation to be a part of a fandom. They’re essentially love letters to fangirls and fanboys, reminding us that it’s okay to be excited about what you love—whether that’s a video game franchise or an anime series or retro science-fiction TV show.
But The Princess and the Fangirl goes above and beyond welcoming someone to a fandom. It also points out the negative side of fandom: the harsh Internet comments, the unnecessary comparisons, the judgmental inclusiveness, the backlash when something doesn’t happen as the fans originally envisioned. Right now, the Internet is ripe with such hate and negativity, and the way Ashley Poston balances the positive and negative sides of fandom is an inspiring and necessary platform amid the chaos.
The story also highlights the difficulties of an actress in any mainstream role. From sexual assault to impossible standards, The Princess and the Fangirl gives an unfortunate yet honest depiction of what an actress in a lead role may go through on a daily basis. And it also shows that people can change and first impressions aren’t everything.
At its heart, The Princess and the Fangirl is a story about fandom: the good, the bad, and the super ugly. It doesn’t shy away from the hard topics and it doesn’t sugarcoat the experience as only good memories and fun costumes. But it does make you appreciate fandom as it once again seamlessly combines the fangirl experience with the fairy tale plot. Ashley Poston is already working on a third book for “Once Upon a Con” series, (a Beauty and the Beast retelling) and I am ready for more because she doesn’t just write fandom, she knows fandom.