The Princess & The Fangirl by Ashley Poston
Published: April 2, 2019
To preface this, Geekerella by Ashley Poston is one of my favorite books of all time. But, I was not a fan of Heart of Iron by her. But, I was eager to get back to ExcelsiCon and see cameos of my faves from Geekerella. This is a gender bent, very loose, retelling of ‘The Prince and the Pauper’.
I was dumb and did not realize that this follows Jessica Stone, a character from the first book. I thought we were going to have two new characters and that it would be more of a spin off rather than a sequel. So once I started the book, it was a bit of a shock to realize that we were following Jessica. If I’m being honest, she was not one of my favorite characters in Geekerella. I did grow to like her in this novel, but it took a bit of time. I also thought this was going to be a f/f romance between the two main characters and it isn’t. There is a f/f romance, but it a lot more subtle.
My main critique of this novel was the timing did not match up. The epilogue of Geekerella left us eight months after the events of ExcelsiCon and Princess starts a month after the epilogue. Meaning that Princess takes place nine months after ExcelsiCon. Which means that this ExcelsiCon is only nine months after the one from Geekerella. Which does not make sense to me. Con are usually exactly a year apart. Unless this was a special edition or a special one it does not make sense for the Con to be nine months after the one in the first one. Maybe I am doing the math wrong or there was something mentioned earlier on, but it does not make sense to me.
I did end up liking Jessica as a character (towards the end) and Imogen was decent character, but I did not connect to them like I did with Elle and Darien. Every time we saw Elle and Darien I sort of wished they were the ones telling us this story. Imogen was a solid character, but I am still not sure why she was so okay with switching places with Jessica, even though a couple chapters before she was SO EXCITED to meet her internet friend Harper. She was so casual about Harper suddenly, it felt odd.
I loved all the fandom references and how they are just interwoven into the character’s vocabulary. What was great about this book was how Poston discusses the dark side of fandom, like the online bullying of women who come into major franchises (I loved how she mentions Daisy Ridley & Kelly Marie Tran by name). This was probably what made me understand Jessica’s character the most. She hates fandom and it is understandable why. But, we also see the good side of fandoms through Imogen, who’s moms have a booth at the Con and who is a major fangirl.
I saw a review that said it was hard sometime to tell the narrators apart since both parts were told in first person and I would agree with that. I saw another review that said Ashley needs a stronger editor and I would also agree with that. There were parts of this book that could have easily been fine tuned to make the overall product stronger.
Overall, I enjoyed my time reading this novel. But, it will not be one of my favorites. I had a decent amount of minor issues with the plot and characters that held me back. My favorite parts were the ones with our faves from Geekerella. Every time the Magic Pumpkin was mentioned I was so excited.
If you liked Geekerella or are interested in a commentary on fandom culture, this is worth picking up.
Thanks y’all for letting me write this review in a different format than usual, I had a few thoughts that needed more explaining than usual.
Goodreads Link: The Princess & The Fangirl