Two devoted members of an emotional cop drama’s fandom meet online and feel an instant bond.
Gena is a high-achieving senior at a ritzy boarding school, restless and yearning both socially and intellectually for college. Finn is 22, receiving a steady stream of job rejections and ambivalent about living with her boyfriend, Charlie. Finn writes Gena a note about a recent fic, Gena admires Finn’s fan art, and soon they’re in the throes of an intense friendship, emailing constantly, confiding details about their lives, and making plans to attend a fan convention together. At the convention, Gena is outed as a former child actor who starred in a popular sitcom with one of the leads of Up Below, and when Finn visits Gena at college, they both acknowledge their mutual attraction. Naturally, this intensity isn’t sustainable. The narrative is made up entirely of Gena’s fanfics, Finn’s art, emails, and text-message transcripts. Through it, readers learn that Gena’s parents fund a series of globe-trotting adventures using her sitcom earnings and that as she enters college, she’s no longer able to get treatment for the dangerous hallucinations that ended her acting career. Events come to a head after a tragic incident on the set of Up Below, and this concluding section is the novel’s one weak spot, vaguely petering out after a propulsive, assured beginning.
Overall, though, it’s very satisfying to see this moment in fandom and Internet-originating relationships so capably represented. (Fiction. 14-17)