The Princess and the Fangirl Sounds Like Another Perfect Fandom Fairytale From Ashley Poston
Can there be a midnight release party for this?
Last year at a convention, which was the perfect setting, I picked up a book called Geekerella after being enchanted by the title. I binge read it, then read it again. There were definitely tears. Author Ashley Poston managed to retell Cinderella in the most charming way, with rich and believable characters and stakes that felt so real to me. The drama of a Trek-esque reboot of protagonist Elle’s beloved Starfield, one of the great YA boyfriends in the form of Darien (he’s my Carmindor!), and a cosplay contest being the grand ball all made me squeak with joy, because outside of being a clever writer, Poston tapped into fan culture brilliantly.
The cover reveal and excerpt of tie-in novel The Princess and the Fangirl caused me to, well, fangirl. Centering on a new character as well as a familiar face from the first book, I can already see that Poston isn’t retreading the same ground. Jess and Imogen are not just copies of Darien and Elle; instead, they’re fresh and exciting. Check out the summary as described by Bustle below:
In The Princess and the Fangirl, a fairytale retelling of The Princess and the Pauper, Poston dives back into the Starfield fandom, this time through the eyes of Imogen Lovelace, an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission to save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off in the franchise. The problem? Jessica Stone, the actress who plays Princess Amara, wants nothing more than to leave behind the intense scrutiny of the fandom. A case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, and when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks — and Jess is the main suspect — she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible.
The excerpt, from Jess’s perspective, talks about how an accidental slip from co-star Darien has led to a Twitter campaign to save her character, Princess Amara. That detail brought tears to my eyes as someone who has spent a majority of the past eight years screaming about lady characters getting unjustly killed off. Just as how I saw myself reflected so very much in Elle’s fandom analysis, Imogen already feels like someone has held a mirror up reflecting what women actually go through in fandoms and how they try to use them to enact change.
Jess was a curious character in Geekerella. Ostensibly, she’s just there to be Darien’s pseudo-girlfriend and give him advice about his career. I wanted to know more about her, as Darien talks about how she’s an indie darling and she herself mentions her own ambitions. To borrow Poston’s own Hogwarts tie-in, if Darien is a Hufflepuff, then I assume Jess is a Slytherin in the best way, and I can’t wait to get to know her better.
Plus, having a novel that actually examines a female character in fandom as being something people love, rather than just using dated fandom tropes about female characters getting in the way of your slash ships, thrills me. Amara might seem evil in Geekerella, but I am looking forward to learning more about her and her show-within-a-book.
On a final note, Poston also is wonderful in that she took the time to tell readers that while the titular characters wouldn’t fall in love, there will be a queer romance in the book itself. Geekerella included a pairing between two female supporting characters, and I hope that this novel will feature a queer romance a little more centrally.
You can check out the excerpt here, and feel all these feels. Until the book comes out, I can only say: “Look to the stars. Aim. Ignite.”
(via Bustle; Image: Quirk Books)
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