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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review: Gena/Finn by Hannah Moskowitz and Kat Helgeson

Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication: May 2016 by Chronicle Books
Acquisition: received an ARC at ALA Midwinter 2016

The story follows the unlikely friendship of two young women forged via fan fiction and message boards, and is told entirely in texts, chats, and blog posts.

Gena (short for Genevieve) and Finn (short for Stephanie) have little in common. Book-smart Gena is preparing to leave her posh boarding school for college; down-to-earth Finn is a twenty-something struggling to make ends meet in the big city. Gena’s romantic life is a series of reluctant one-night-stands; Finn is making a go of it with long-term boyfriend Charlie. But they share a passion for Up Below, a buddy cop TV show with a cult fan following. Gena is a darling of the fangirl scene, keeping a popular blog and writing fan fiction. Finn’s online life is a secret, even from Charlie. The pair spark an unlikely online friendship that deepens quickly (so quickly it scares them both), and as their individual “real” lives begin to fall apart, they increasingly seek shelter online, and with each other.
(from Goodreads)
3 / 5 Stars

Wow - this book packs a punch.

I thought I was in for a light hearted tale of fandom and internet friendships. What I got was not really that at all.

Gena and Finn are 2 very different people. Seemingly, at first, the only things they have in common are their love for a TV show and the fan fiction and fandom that goes along with it. Their relationship exists online and IRL but we only really see the online side. Told in the format of blog posts, texts and emails, we, as the reader, never really get a first person narrative of what is going on with each of them. Rather, we see how they interact with each other - even when one of them isn't participating in the conversation (which was as confusing as it sounds).

So - pretty good from the start. Quirky contemporary with some really relatable bits. Online friendships and intense fandom (although, ga! the TV show they are both obsessed with? All I could think about was Supernatural because that's what it felt like - it was actually a little distracting) but anyway - sorry, yeah, relatable.

Until it wasn't.

There is this real life connection one of the girls has to the show, and an almost romance between the two which, honestly felt like it came out of nowhere. And then things got really dark and horrific. Like, almost instantly. No lead up, no foreshadowing - just bam! Everything is crap!

It took me a while to figure out how I really felt about Gena/Finn. The romance could have gone somewhere and I think it could have been really cool. The fandom part could have stayed nothing by fandom but it didn't. The IRL parts could have been realistic but felt really weird to me.

It's a good book but I had some issues. It's not a light hearted contemporary and it's a little too implausible and filled with drama.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this on Twitter and since I read it myself a few weeks ago I had to comment. I had the same problem. Started out great, loved their relatable parts and thought they were going some where. I don't want to get spoilery but when Finn went to see Gena I thought there was something there... then nope. then the big... thing happened. Gah! Different book at that point. I had the same thoughts...


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