Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.
When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.
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*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book from Quirk Books. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on April 2, 2019.*
Prior to receiving this ARC, I hadn’t read Geekerella though I’d heard loads of good things about it. Thanks to my library, I was able to get the audiobook and got through it pretty quickly and then dived right into The Princess and the Fangirl. Thus, you’ll have to forgive me if I can’t help but to compare the two novels.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Princess and the Fangirl. Full disclosure, I somehow got it in my head that this was a Princess and the Frog retelling and not a Prince and the Pauper retelling. Thankfully, that was cleared up pretty quickly once I started reading. Once I got past the idea that the romance wouldn’t happen between the two main characters, I was able to settle more into the book and I was pretty into it.
The novel follows Jessica “Jess” Stone who we met in Geekerella. Jess was the actress who played Princess Amara and while Darien, who played Federation Prince Carmindor, was a fanboy through and through who wanted nothing more than to play the character, Jess wanted nothing less. She didn’t get the hype of fandom and mostly only saw the dark side of it, which consisted of people harassing her online and in public. Unfortunately, this is something most women, especially women of color, face in the sci-fi/fantasy world and I was happy to see Ashley Poston address that in this book.
On the flip side, the other main character with a POV was Imogen “Monster” Lovelace who lived for fandom. The spear header of the “Save Amara” campaign, Imogen was thrilled when she got the opportunity to impersonate Jess on a panel and speak her mind about why Amara should be saved in the next Starfield movie. Though Jess was naturally furious, an unexpected situation led Jess to suggest they switch places again and Imogen jumped at the opportunity, hoping that as Jess she could get Amara in the sequel film, even if it wasn’t what Jess wanted.
The Princess and the Fangirl was filled with the same kind of fandom love that I absolutely adored in Geekerella, and it was great to see my favorite characters from the first book again as well as to meet new characters who I found to be hilarious. That said, I definitely didn’t love this book as much as Geekerella and I think that mainly boils down to the fact that in this book there were two different romances instead of just the one and I think because of that split time with each ship, I didn’t particularly care for either one of them.
The hate-to-love kind of romance that blossomed between Imogen and Jess’ assistant, Ethan, confused me quite a bit because the “hate” that started the relationship felt pretty forced to me. I just didn’t really understand where Ethan’s animosity towards Imogen came from, especially since he seemed to think Jess was a little mean to Imogen in the beginning. Still, I couldn’t help but swoon over some of their moments together and eventually I got over my issues about how it started and just focused on what it became.
I can’t say the same for Jess’ romance. While they had a number of cute scenes together, even the climatic moment at the end didn’t have me screaming, “Ugh yes finally!” It was more just like, “That was cute,” which honestly isn’t bad. It’s just when I think about Darien and Ella I immediately want to read Geekerella all over again because I love them and their journey so much, and I just didn’t make that same connection to either of the ships in The Princess and the Fangirl.
Even so, I really did enjoy this novel. Along with the awesome critiques Poston made about how fandom treats women, I also loved that she touched on how artists are often mistreated as well, with people not wanting to pay them for their art. Poston made a lot of strong points with this novel that weren’t at all heavy handed and still kept the fun times rolling until the very end.
In sum, I highly recommend picking up The Princess and the Fangirl when it hit shelves. If you loved Geekerella I think you owe it to yourself to see what happens next.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. It’s cute, but I probably wouldn’t reread.
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