In Gena/Finn, Gena and Finn meet over the mutual affection of a TV show known as “Up Below”. As they get closer, and finally meet in person, their friendship develops to more than just what they thought it would be.
Why this book?: I’ve heard about it before. I knew it was about fandom culture, so I was also interested to see that!
Accurate in the ways of the fandom
In other novels that I’ve read of “fandom-culture”, they always make it out to be something it’s not. They always forget about those horrible people who think they’re better than everyone else because of something, and those people who always complain about how little skill they have when actuality they’re amazing. There’s always those small quirks that people never see unless you’re there, but are always there no matter the fandom. Books that go into “fandom-culture” never get it.
Gena/Finn got it. Moskowitz and Helgeson managed to nail most things on the head. Not only did they get all the small quirks, but they also managed to spin in a multitude of different ideas and plots skillfully so that I was rarely confused. In all honesty, the only points where I was confused was the very beginning, when I was still getting used to the way the story was formatted and told. You got to know the fandom the author’s created for this book, without being completely submersed in the information. You got enough to understand what they were speaking of, but weren’t forced to enter the fandom to enjoy the book.
As I said before, I started this book mainly because I had heard it was about fandom culture. Getting further into it, however, I slowly realized that this book was more than just that. Bisexual girls. Polyamorous relationships. A Jewish main character (Gena). And mental health. All of this, all of it, is #OwnVoices to some degree, confirmed after a conversation I had with Moskowitz. I had no idea that this book would include these details, so I was gleefully surprised upon realizing that this book included such inclusion.
The plot was such a trip, too. There were so many twists and additions that made this book not only relatable but an amazing book in general. I loved the characters, because they’re written so well that you feel like you know them.
While the ending was very unexpected, it was also intense. I wasn’t expecting the level of intensity that came with the last 50-ish pages, and that should be warned about. I know a lot of people weren’t expecting this change of pace, and docked stars because of this, but I thought it added a whole new meaning to the novel, making it more than just about fandom.
Final Rating: ★★★★★
This book was a complete surprise to me, considering I just picked it up on a glance. Literally, I wasn’t planning on getting anything while at the library, but I decided: Why not? Gena/Finn was an intense book written in a unique and enhancing way, beautifully improved with a spread of diversity.
Would I Recommend?
I would fully recommend this book to anyone. Especially if you have ties to “fandom”, it’s extremely relatable and hilarious just for the fact of how accurate it is.
Published: May 7th, 2016
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Page Count: 287
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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.