Title: The Princess and the Fangirl
Author: Ashley Poston
Series: Once Upon A Con #2
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Retelling
Published: April 2nd, 2019 (Quirk Books)
Synopsis: 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.
“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.”
Around a year post-Geekerella, Starfield is a huge success, and a sequel is being planned. Actress Jessica Stone, who plays Princess Amara, is not too happy about this however. She hates Starfield and was rather pleased when her character died in the movie. Eager to avoid being typecast, Jess is ready to move on to more meaningful, Oscar-worthy, and especially, non geeky films, especially given the less than enthusiastic reception she has had from some parts of the fandom.
When Jess is handed the script for the sequel by the director and throws it away in frustration, it is stolen and someone starts leaking photos of it on Twitter. Jess must find out who took the script before they reveal that it was hers and destroy her credibility in the industry. Enter Imogen, who just so happens to look a lot like Jess. But her opinions of the fandom couldn’t be more different. Imogen is an avid Starfield fan, and is desperate to save her favourite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off, so much so that she has started an online movement called Save Amara. Jess needs to be out of the spotlight so she can focus on finding the thief, and Imogen sees the advantage that this whole charade could bring her campaign to save Amara. They agree to switch places for the two days of ExcelsiCon, but it’s easier said than done, as each of them are stepping into an entirely different world.
“Sometimes the best heroes are the ones in your head –
but that doesn’t make them any less real.”
It was so much fun to revisit my favourite characters from Geekerella! Several of them, including Darien, Elle, and Sage, had cameos. And while it’s not entirely necessary to have read Geekerella, it definitely adds something to the experience. The Prince and the Pauper is not really one of my favourites as fairytales go, but I love how Ashley Poston has put a modern spin on the tale, turning it into a contemporary retelling as she once more, successfully captures the magic of fandom and geek culture.
I have to say though, I didn’t enjoy this as much story-wise. Particularly, I didn’t like Imogen’s arc all that much. It was quite hard to connect with the characters, although I did find myself sympathizing with Jess a lot. The reasons for Jess and Imogen exchanging places were not entirely realistic for me, but I’ll let that pass because it turned into a really cute story. It’s also quite amusing to see two girls who are polar opposites, yet have more in common than they think, try to understand each other’s lives and keep up the charade long enough. The geek culture references felt a little overdone in this book as well, compared to how natural it was in Geekerella. What I really appreciated though, was the commentary regarding internet culture and the darker side of fandom.
As with Geekerella, this was fast-paced, easy to read, generally just one of those feel good books and I highly recommend it! We need more books about fandom!
Other reviews in this series:
Book 1: Geekerella