Thank you to Quirk Books and Netgalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I adored Geekerella so when I heard there would be a companion book I was so excited! And this book did not disappoint. In fact I probably loved this even more than Geekerella.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
This book is filled with so much adorable geekiness, I just cannot deal! It’s a feel good book that left me feeling giddy and wanting to go to a con myself. There is so many pop culture references and I loved it! From Harry Potter to Star Wars and so much more. It made the characters, being at the con so real and so relatable! Honestly, I don’t read many contemporaries especially cute fluffy ones but wow did I love this.
This story is essentially a modern prince and the pauper retelling and it was so nice to see a retelling of a different story, as all I seem to see a beauty and the beast retellings. With the added bonus of it being set in a con over four days, it was fun and fast paced and intense. A lot happens in these four days from each of the girls learning more about themselves and each other to how it is on the other side of the fandom.
I really loved the diversity in the book too. Ethan is Asian and there is a f/f romance. I thought it was really well written and not like it was forced in there.
Jessica is the actress who plays Princess Amara on the film Starfield and she receives a lot of hate. People are always commenting all over her social media, sending her hateful messages, which is difficult for her to handle. She feels as though no one wants her there because she wasn’t a Starfield fan and she didn’t want to be in future films. As a result of all of this she is distant and generally looks like she doesn’t want to be there. Although I didn’t particularly Jess at the beginning of the book as her story developed and we get to see all that she has had to go through and how unhappy and lonely she is and I ended up really loving her and totally rooting for her!
“We need those stories, too. Stories that tell us that we can be bold and brash and make mistakes and still come out better on the other side”
Imogen is probably the opposite of Jess. She is reckless and passionate and adores Starfield. So much so that she has spearheaded a campaign and started a petition to save Amara. She has a younger brother Milo who she feels she is constantly in the shadow of. Her mums can be a little over protective and she had her heartbroken at the last excelsicon. So she puts everything into the saving Amara campaign, regardless of whether Jessica Stone wants to continue being Amara or not. Throughout the story we learn why saving Amara is so important to Imogen but she also learns why it isn’t okay to force Jess to play a role that makes her so unhappy.
They both have some great character development even though it is only set over four days and the beginning of a romance. While they switched places they both meet someone who they start to develop feelings for. Imogen’s hate to love was great, I loved how they both misunderstood each other and their own prejudices got in the way of them realising their feelings. And I oved that Jess was able to meet a girl who she could talk openly to without fear of her words being twisted and shared all over the internet. I loved seeing their friendship develop into something more. I liked that neither couple “fell in love” but that it was the beginning of something as they have only known each for a few days.
I loved that the darker side of cons and being part of a fandom was also discussed from how obsessive fans can make the actors feel uncomfortable and unsafe. To how females are portrayed in films, especially sci-fi/fantasy. They tend to be a love interested and there to push the story and character development of the male hero. How actresses are held to higher and stricter standards than their male colleagues, even mentioning real actresses that this has happened to.
“I’m sick and tired of princesses being either damsels in distress or the foil for a male character’s emotional growth.”
I think the only thing I was unsure of was the motives of the person who leaked the script. Why was it leaked? What did this person hope to achieve? I also figured out pretty early on who it was but none of this lessened my enjoyment of this book. It’s honestly so fun and anyone who loves cons and is part of a fandom will love this!
P.S Can we have Starfield made into a real show?
This book releases on April 2nd so you still have time to preorder!
*Any quotes used are from the arc and subject to change in the final copy.