Have you seen more references to Harry Potter, Twilight, or other fandoms in YA books this decade? I think it’s a good trend when it’s done right. I enjoy it more when the book celebrates fandom, and it’s usually about a fictional fan culture. These are cool to read because it speaks to the fan in you and draws you into that book’s fan culture.
This week, I want to list some of YA books that celebrate fandom. For most of these books in the list, I wish the source material the characters adore and take to the next level were real. Here is the list of YA novels that celebrate fandom.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I had to start with the novel that had “fangirl” in the name. Fangirl was the first book that I read that celebrated fandom in a fictional setting. It’s also the oldest book in this list.
What I liked about Fangirl, besides that it featured something akin to Drarry fanfic, is that the book included sections that explained fanfic and the fictional fandom of the book. It worked to teach you about fanfiction in case you didn’t know what it was or didn’t respect it. Then we had Cath, who is a fanfic author, constantly defending it to her college professors and her friends. This is also part of her developing relationship with her love interest.
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Geekerella is a Cinderella retelling about a girl whose late dad created a convention for his favorite space sci-fi show, Starfield. Geekerella’s ball is the convention, and her prince charming is the actor playing leading male in the movie remake. What I love is seeing the changing tide of the fan culture around Starfield, including how it plays into a family legacy. As with many cult followings, there will be clashes among fans and creators about how they feel about the way the source material is changed, adapted, or expanded. I like that Darian, the actor, is a fan who has to deal with how he feels about the part and adaptation, especially because he is not known for being a fan. Then there is Geekerella who has the same love for the show as her dad and makes every attempt to go. I also love that one of her stepsisters and the majority of fans at the Con help her improve her cosplay at the last minute because of what the Con has meant to them. It’s a beautiful fairy tale about a fan culture.
Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
Fandom plays a major role in this novel. Eliza created a webcomic, called Monstrous Sea, that people follow and created a huge fandom that she monitors and participates in. She loves seeing that people write fanfic about her webcomic and some of the cosplay her fans make. She even becomes a big fan of one of the fanfic writers because they novelize her webcomic beautifully. Then she starts falling in love with him in person when she realizes they go to the same school. This novel is unique because it goes further than Fangirl in showing interaction between the author and the readers.
I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo
I don’t think this one officially gets into fandom in the traditional sense of geeking out, cosplaying, writing fanfic, or generally celebrating the universe of a book or movie. However, it is a love letter to K-dramas. Since the protagonist tries to follow the K-drama formula to get the guy, I think she is clearly a fan and enjoying what she loves.
What books, graphic novels, etc., have you read that celebrate fandom? What are your fandoms?