The Princess and the Fangirl: A Geekerella Fairytale (Once Upon a Con, #2)

by Ashley Poston

4.06 of 5 stars 16 ratings • 7 reviews • 41 shelved
Book cover for The Princess and the Fangirl

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The Princess and the Fangirl: A Geekerella Fairytale (Once Upon a Con, #2)

by Ashley Poston

4.06 of 5 stars 16 ratings • 7 reviews • 41 shelved
Movie star Jessica Stone can t go up onstage at another con and pretend to love Starfield anymore except that she s contractually obligated. She never dreamed she d be playing Princess Amara for life, but people love Princess Amara, and for better or worse, Princess Amara has Jessica Stone s face. But. it turns out, so does someone else. Imogen Weatherby is just another Starfield fan hitting up ExcelsiCon except that she happens to look an awful lot like Jessica Stone (and no, you re not the first one to point it out). When Jess spots Imogen, she has a brilliant idea: swap places. Jessica can live her life out of the spotlight while Imogen pretends to be her on the rest of the con circuit, and Imogen can ditch her crappy barista job and finally get to see something beyond her hometown. But Jess doesn t anticipate actually liking Imogen s life or Imogen s gorgeous best friend, Hana, who might just be the person Jess needs to forget about her ex. And Imogen loves being Jess Stone and might even love this super talented artist, Tamaki, who she keeps bumping into. Except Tamaki thinks she s Jessica Stone. When an obsessive fan finds out the truth and threatens to expose Jess for the fake geek girl she is, it will take both Jess and Imogen to stand up for the truth: That there is no such thing as a fake geek girl. That if you are a fan, then you are accepted. And that even if you aren t a fan, you are worthy. That you are not invisible. That what you love matters. From the acclaimed author of Geekerella, this geeky spin on The Prince and the Pauper is a perfect story for geek girls of every fandom.
  • ISBN10 1683690966
  • ISBN13 9781683690962
  • Publish Date 2 April 2019
  • Publish Status Unknown
  • Publish Country US
  • Imprint Quirk Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 320
  • Language English


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Immediate thoughts after reading:

Hmm, I think I might like this one more than Geekerella so I might have to bump up the rating later. Let me sleep on it. For now, it's somewhere in the 4 - 4.25 star territory. I think the main reason why I like The Princess and the Fangirl better is because the characters spent more time interacting face to face with their love interests which allowed for better relationship development, imo.

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My belief has been so suspended it's practically a chandelier by now. This book was fun and fluffy, but in a super unrealistic way. I think that the side characters were great (give me a whole book about Bran please) and I especially loved Harper, but both of the main characters, Jess and Imogen, felt a little annoying at times. I did really like Jess/Harper though, it was the best ship in the book. With Imogen, however, I felt that Ethan and Vance and Jasper were all a bit too much.

It's supposed to be a retelling of The Prince and the Pauper, but I'm not familiar with the story so I can't attest to the similarities. I feel that some of the weakness on the part of the plot had to do with the transposition of the original plot from a time without cameras and the Internet.

There was a lot of fandom-speak in this book, which was probably a given because of its setting at a convention, but it was a lot more prominent than in other fandom-centric books. There were ship discussions and panels and a lot of references to online fandom, which makes sense considering Starfield is very Star Trek-esque, but I imagine it would get a bit overwhelming to people who aren't in fandom. Also, this is the first time ever I've seen AO3 in print, so that was a shock. However, Princess and the Fangirl also does a great job of showing the dark side of the fandom, and how much harm it can do, as well as how much it can affect the people playing the roles of the characters being discussed.

Overall, it's a good fluffy read, and quite a tribute to fandom, but don't go into it expecting a brilliant plot or a classic masterpiece.

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"Sometimes the best heroes are the ones in your head—but that doesn’t make them any less real."

Things I Liked:

✑ The main characters were very relatable (anxious + worried about never being enough)
✑ So much geeky fun!!!! This book is a love letter to fangirls everywhere and I LIVED for all of the pop culture references
✑ The writing style was distinctive and absolutely hilarious
✑ Presents a powerful message about the dual nature of social media and the internet – it can bring people together, but also tear us apart
✑ Loved the theme of being enough

Things I Liked... Less:

✑ A predictable, cliché plotline

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Source: ARC from publisher

Initial Thoughts: It took me awhile to get into the story, and I did find Imogene annoying, as she's one of those Very Online people who talk like doge dog and other memes and thinks it's cute, but after a few chapters, I got invested, and I do think the book has some important things to say about fandom, online behavior, believing in yourself, etc. (I've also seen a hardcover of the book, and it's beautiful!)

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Austine (NovelKnight) 5 of 5 stars
This book was provided by the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It's been days since I finished The Princess and the Fangirl and I'm still struggling to find the words to describe this book. I rarely read contemporary, especially young adult, but when I find a series or author I like, I go hard. After reading Geekerella, I knew Ashley Poston was going to be one of those authors.

First and foremost, this book made my fandom heart happy. I'd be hard-pressed to find several pages WITHOUT geeky references and it was perfect. I read part of this while waiting for my car to be inspected and it was a struggle not to giggle with delight (and I don't giggle. . . like ever) as I was reading. As it was, I kept getting weird looks for my facial expressions.

Poston has a way of writing a story that grounds you in the world immediately. It helps that it's set in our world, but she brings a made-up sci-fi con to live. I've never been to a convention of any kind but I could feel the energy come off the page.

As she brought this world to life, the story progressed from more than a fangirl attending a con and an actress trying to survive it. I saw the best of fandom life. . . and the worst. How negative people can be when it comes to something they love, but also how supportive. It was all captured in this one book and really made me think about book fandoms and how you get both sides from those interactions too. I couldn't NOT relate to this book.

I was so happy with the Prince and the Pauper re-telling, and how the spoiled "princess" Jess was given strengths and flaws that came out over the course of the story. I think a lot of this book played on personal perception. How one character saw another based on a limited experience, and how that view isn't the full picture. It became an even stronger theme when Jess and Imogen swapped places. And Imogran was certainly not perfect either but I felt I could relate to her more from the fan side of things. Her passion for the characters of Starfield was so strong that I wish Starfield existed so I could fangirl alongside her.

In general, this book is just GOOD. Like I can't say anything bad about it. At all. The writing is fantastic. The characters are interesting and diverse and relatable (not always likable, but relatable with their flaws which I think is an important distinction). The story is paced well and fun! You get to go to a sci-fi con for a few hundred pages!

Side note, but I appreciated the cameo from the Geekerella characters and while I wish they had a BIT more page time, part of me is also glad they didn't because this is a true companion novel. You don't need to read Geekerella first (though I totally recommend it too).

I don't even know what else to say about The Princess and the Fangirl. Isn't that always the case, when you love a book SO MUCH you can't put it into words? So it's safe to say that I absolutely recommend this book, and the first in the series, and I cannot wait for more from Ashley Poston!

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Rating: 4.5 Stars

The fangirl was trying to save the princess, but maybe this princess did not want to be saved.

• Pro: Poston did a fantastic job capturing the magic of ExcelsiCon once again, and once again, I was left feeling all the happy feels.

• Pro: I thought employing The Prince and the Pauper switch-a-roo tactic for this story was brilliant. By literally walking in each other's shoes, both Jess and Imogen learned a LOT about the other side of fandoms, while also learning a few things about themselves.

• Pro: I love that this book celebrated fandoms, but I also appreciated that Poston took time to shed light on the negative side of cons, sci-fi, and the fans.

• Pro: This was a twofer. That's right, I got two romances in this book, and both were fun and sweet and adorable. Though they took a back seat to the central plot, I found myself loving the pairings and keeping my fingers crossed that they would happen.

• Pro: This book was packed with fantastic and fun characters to love. Not only did we get to spend time with our friends from Geekerella, we also got to meet Imogen, her brother, his boyfriend, Jess, and her assistant. They all really played a big role in making this a super-fun and nerdtastic experience for me.

• Pro: I was already smiling from the too cute romances and some justice that had been served, but that ending just made me grin even harder. It was surprising and awesome and perfect.

Overall: Poston gave me another amazing trip to ExcelsiCon, which was filled with new and old friends, a little romance, a bit of subterfuge, and lots of nerdy fun. I really hope we get to return to the con again next year.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.


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Kelly 5 of 5 stars
Attending the popular culture event is an institution for Imogen Lovelace, Starfield enthusiast and creator of the online campaign to save Amara, the female heroine of the popular franchise. The online petition amassing thousands of signatures. Attending the convention with her brother Milo and parents Kathy and Minerva, Imogen intends to campaign for the Starfield sequel and intermingle with convention aficionados, including internet friend and artist Harper Hart.

Jessica Stone is an award winning actress reprising the role of Amara, the princess of Starfield. Darien Freeman has portrayed the immortalised Prince Carmindor to acclaim and Jessica, a target of internet abusers dissecting her credentials, her appearance and the comparison to the original Princess Amara. Jessica isn't interested in reprising her character in the Starfield sequel, despite the online campaign gathering momentum and in a moment of resentment, Jessica discards her script at the convention as the narrative is disclosed on social media.

The alternating narrative accompanies Imogen Lovelace and Jessica Stone, two dissimilar young women colliding through happenstance at the Excelsicon event. Aesthetically, Imogen and Jessica are interchangeable, Jessica is suffocating under the expectations of the Starfield fandom and Imogen is the creator of the Save Amara campaign. Imogen is answering questions on a Starfield character panel at the convention, successfully mistaken for Jessica and uses the opportunity to lend voice to her online campaign. Reluctantly, Jessica allows Imogen to covertly assume her convention appearances, chaperoned by manager Ethan Tanaka as Jessica investigates the saboteur who has obtained her script.

Excelsicon is atmospherically exhilarating, in particular the assiduous Artists Alley and African American artist Harper Hart, Starfield merchandise designer. Believing that Jessica is Imogen, Jessica and Harper are developing a gentle friendship and endearment and Imogen in her capacity as Jessica, despite her frustration, is developing an attraction to Ethan, Jessica's confidant and assistant. The Princess and The Fangirl is a celebration of diversity and friendship. Platonic love, attraction, same gender relationships, parental relationships and memorable acquaintances. American Asian, African American, gay and lesbian, vibrant, diverse and inclusive characters.

Popular culture enthusiasts can create a wonderfully inclusive environment as experienced at Excelsicon but also discloses the negative and antagonistic factions that engage in online abuse and harassment. Jessica Stone reprised the character of Amara in the successful Starfield franchise. On social media she is taunted, abused and degraded rather than being exposed to the inclusive environment. It also touches upon creators and unpaid labour, the acknowledgement of the prejudice against black women in film, sexual assault and also challenging the inequality of female actors within the industry as Jessica is harassed and Darien Freeman, celebrated.

The Princess and the Fangirl is categorically enchanting. A whirlwind of effervescent and charismatic characters, diversity and inclusiveness, challenging stereotypes and societal adversity. A gentle romance and tender friendship, creating one of the loveliest contemporaries you're likely to discover this year. Absolutely, positively recommended wholeheartedly.